The mounting pressure on Leeds United’s defence was relieved a little following the first clean sheet of the season at home to Portsmouth.

Leeds enjoyed the best of the early exchanges with Ross McCormack unfortunate not to net 7 in 7 after Robert Snodgrass’ run gifted him a great opportunity inside the 16 yard box that was deflected clear by a Pompey defender.

The only goal in this encounter came inside the first 15 minutes from Danny Pugh who powered home an excellent headed goal from Robert Snodgrass’ corner.

Robert Snodgrass was Leeds’ brightest spark throughout the course of the fixture, and seemed to be key to almost every Whites attack. After some criticism from fans who felt he’d looked a little disinterested and some way off his best in recent fixtures, this was the kind of game changing performance that Snoddy built his reputation on.

The return of Paul Connolly in a reshuffled Leeds United back line was no doubt key to Robert Snodgrass’ return to form. It was a right-sided setup that worked superbly in an attacking sense last season, but one which also worked well defensively with one holding back to cover runs forward by the other.

This understanding the two seem to share may go some way to explaining Leeds’ first clean sheet. A lot of the criticism Leeds United have taken has been aimed at the cover – or lack thereof – provided by the midfield as much as the defence itself.

With a more defensively capable midfielder (Danny Pugh) helping out young attack-minded Aidy White on the left, and the excellent partnership of Connolly and Snodgrass on the right, the team looks a lot more balanced – if a little less creative – than it previously did.

Tom Lees was switched to a centre back position where he didn’t disappoint anybody, and with the centre midfield partnership of Adam Clayton and Jonny Howson offering support to the centre of our defence we also look more balanced here too.

This is what I’ve been failing to get across over the last few weeks; that the defence isn’t nearly as bad as some claim, but that we were just working out the little kinks and suffering from a few lapses in concentration. We’ve also been prone to game-changing red cards that have cost us dearly.

We’re not entirely there yet, Leeds United’s defence is still a work in progress and there will be further set-backs before clean sheets become a regular feature of these match reports, but this was the kind of morale boosting display our confidence-lacking defenders (and fans) needed.

And it wasn’t just the clean sheet that gave us all reason to be positive. After a worrying run of red cards, Leeds United finished the game without a single yellow for only the second time this season – the first being our 3-2 League Cup victory over Bradford City.

The lack of depth doesn’t concern me quite so much any more either. The signing of utility man Danny Pugh was a great move from Grayson, whilst Forssell and Vayrynen¬†will offer us suitable cover this season based on the limited evidence I’ve seen so far.¬†The fact Ramon Nunez has almost been forgotten about already and Luciano Becchio isn’t being rushed back into the team following injury says it all really.

You don’t need me to tell you that 10 points from the last 12 is an excellent return. The team is starting to look a lot more balanced, the long awaited clean sheet has arrived, Snoddy is back on form and our lack of depth doesn’t seem that much of an issue any more. What were we all complaining about again? On and on…