Leeds United – The Points That Got Away Guest April 30, 2013 Leeds United 20 Comments Following another disappointing season for Leeds United, The Scratching Shed welcomes Tom Stevens whose guest post delves back through our 45 fixtures (to date) to see where the 2012/13 campaign went so horribly wrong. Blackpool 2 – Leeds United 1 Tuesday 21st August Blackpool under Ian Holloway were still one of the favourites for promotion at http://bwinbetting.com/ in the early weeks of the season so this was always going to be a tough test for Neil Warnock’s team. Tom Lees gave Leeds an early lead, which they held onto until 15 minutes from time when Blackpool scored two inside five minutes. Nouha Dicko and Matt Phillips settled the contest in Blackpool’s favour, but naïve defending cost Leeds at least one of the goals conceded, with Sam Byram and Luke Varney, as well as the entire forward line, being singled out by Warnock as the main culprits. Lost points: 1 Leeds United 3 – Blackburn Rovers 3 Saturday 1st September A horrendous start to this game saw Leeds down 2-0 inside half an hour. Diouf got us back into the game just before half time, and superb strikes from McCormack and Becchio seemed to have been enough to complete a magnificent turnaround. But a Ruben Rochina back heeled effort six minutes from time led to the spoils being shared. The goal was easily avoidable as Leeds failed to clear their lines defensively, costing us a second league win of the season. Lost points: 2 Bolton Wanderers 2 – Leeds United 2 Tuesday 2nd October A tricky away tie on paper but Leeds very nearly claimed all three points at the Reebok Stadium this season. Newly relegated Bolton, still under Owen Coyle, were struggling to find their feet back in the second tier, and having again come from behind courtesy of goals from Byram and Becchio, Kevin Davies was again left unchallenged in the penalty box to level the game again ten minutes from time. Warnock blamed himself for the lost points, well partly at least. Rodolph Austin was in charge of marking Kevin Davies, which is something Warnock made perfectly clear in the post-match interview. Lost points: 2 Leeds United 1 – Charlton Athletic 1 Tuesday 23rd October Probably one of the poorest home displays of the season, but having taken the lead shortly before the interval through a David Norris strike, there was every opportunity to push on against a Charlton side who were not in the greatest shape in the early stages of the season. Instead Dorian Dervite equalized early in the second half, and Leeds were lucky to hold onto the solitary point in the end. Lost points: 2 Leeds United 0 – Birmingham City 1 Saturday 27th October The home performances were not improving, and days after the tepid performance served up against Charlton, Leeds came unstuck at home again. Birmingham City were on a poor run of form, and were there for the taking, but in truth this was a game between two poor sides lacking any sort of flair or creativity. And just when it looked like ending in a deadlock, Leroy Lita grabbed the win for Birmingham. Another terrible result, and one wonders whether it was after this game outgoing chairman Ken Bates was keen to remove Warnock from his managerial duties. Lost points: 1 Burnley 1 – Leeds United 0 Tuesday 6th November You always felt Leeds would come unstuck at Turf Moor sooner or later. A great Jonny Howson inspired comeback win in the 2012 season, and a rather fortuitous Robert Snodgrass inspired turnaround last season had both been smash and grabs in their way, but there was no such luck this time around. But we should have drawn this game, and having done so well defensively for 83 minutes it was a catastrophe to see substitute Danny Pugh fail to cut out a Burnley cross and Charlie Austin did the rest with a close range header. Lost points: 1 Millwall 1 – Leeds United 0 Sunday 18th November One can’t argue that Leeds were guilty of throwing points away in the game against Watford, we were thoroughly outplayed in a 6-1 home debacle. But despite losing Luke Varney to an innocuous red card early in the second half at Millwall, another game of low quality was decided by yet another late searching cross being met by Chris Wood five minutes from time. Lost points: 1 Leeds United 0 – Cardiff City 1 Saturday 2nd February This was the start of a barren spell where Leeds were throwing away points left, right and centre according to Neil Warnock. And you have to agree. Buoyed by an excellent cup triumph against Spurs the week before, high-flying Cardiff certainly had a game on their hands here. And a rare mistake from Byram proved costly as Frazier Campbell settled matters with a second half strike. Lots of spurned opportunities for Leeds proved costly, and the introduction of new striker Habib Habibou did little in terms of trying to get back into the game. Leeds had more than enough chances to win this, but certainly shouldn’t have lost it. Lost points: 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 – Leeds United 2 Saturday 9th February This was a devastating late blow for Leeds. Having come from behind through a Luke Varney striker and a Ross McCormack penalty, this game should have been signed and sealed long before Danny Batth rose the highest two minutes into injury time to head home an equalizer, which might still keep Wolves up. The corner prior to the equalizer should have been prevented, and an away win should have been recorded. Lost points: 2 Middlesbrough 1 – Leeds United 0 Tuesday 12th February Another frustrating midweek away day for The Whites, and to come away with nothing from The Riverside was tough to take considering the chances that had again been misplaced. Young Middlesbrough striker Curtis Main settled this one late on, leaving Warnock fuming and Leeds fans disgruntled. New striker Steve Morison wasn’t having the desired impact as Leeds were missing their top scorer Becchio who was by now playing reserve team football with Norwich. Once again it was a case of not having enough to win the game, but one that we definitely shouldn’t have lost. Lost points: 1 Leicester City 1 – Leeds United 1 Tuesday 5th March Heartbreak and frustration late on at The King Power Stadium, where Leeds had looked to record a great away win over big spending Leicester City. Sam Byram had put Leeds in front, and with just one more set piece to defend Michael Keane leveled the game four minutes into injury time, leaving Leeds to look on as Kasper Schmeichel joined in the late celebrations for the home side. A dreadful blow to the play off plans, and one that should have been avoided. Lost points: 2 Crystal Palace 2 – Leeds United 2 Saturday 9th March This was always going to be a tough place to go and get something, as Palace were looking good for promotion at this point. But having cancelled out Glenn Murray’s first half goal with two great Morison strikes, Leeds should have hung onto all three points, and the inability to hold onto a lead was yet again displayed for all to see. This time Stephen Warnock was half asleep as Murray snuck away from him to gain an extra yard on the defender which helped him finish off from a long ball into the penalty area six minutes from time. Lost points: 2 Leeds United 1 – Peterborough 1 Tuesday 12th March Losing late goals and points away to Leicester and Crystal Palace in the space of a week was frustrating, but the away displays gave Leeds something to build on for the two home games coming up. The first of them was Peterborough, and once again Leeds failed at home in a midweek game. We looked uninspired for most of it, and the tough away fictures had been more draining than anticipated. With Sam Byram canceling out Dwight Gayle’s early effort, Leeds had most of the second half to try and go for the winner. But it proved elusive, and more home points were dropped. Lost points: 2 Leeds United 1 – Huddersfield Town 2 Saturday 16th March Injuries to both Moriosn and McCormack meant Habibou lead the line for the first time. And this was the game when the play off push finally unraveled, but a point should have been secured after Aidy White had pulled Leeds level midway in the second half. Instead Leeds allowed James Vaughan all the time and space in the world to settle the game in Huddersfield’s favour late on. Lost points: 1 Leeds United 1 – Derby County 2 Monday 1st April The last game under Neil Warncok, and again points were simply thrown away. A wonder strike by McCormack seemed to have settled the nerves in the second half, until Jason Pearce clumsily gave away the clearest of penalties, and poor marking allowed Jake Buxton to head home from a corner two minutes from time. A dismal display overall, but Leeds should have got something out of this game. Lost points: 1 Charlton Athletic 2 – Leeds United 1 Saturday 6th April This defeat sent a freefalling Leeds spiraling towards the relegation places. The caretaker duo of Redfern and Naylor did their utmost to get something against a Charlton side who had found some late season form. And having played poorly for most of it, a point looked secured through Luke Varney’s late deflected striker only for more appalling defending to spoil the day as Jonathan Obika headed home completely unmarked in the sixth minute of injury time. Lost points: 1 Leeds United 1 – Brighton 2 Saturday 27th April Leeds have performed a bit better under the guise of Brian McDermott, but slipping to a single goal defeat at Birmingham was disappointing if not predictable. But the defeat against Brighton last Saturday was even more disappointing. The last home game of the season against a free passing Brighton team, and we matched them for most of the game, even when we were losing players. And had Diouf stayed on the pitch instead of winding up the Brighton fans and the touch linesman, there would surely be at least one point staying in West Yorkshire at the end of the game. Instead the nine men could not hold on, as Peltier let a Brighton player cross the ball into the box for Jose Ulloa to finish comprehensively with a headed effort. Another unnecessary goal conceded. Lost points: 1 With the games described above I make that 24 points dropped this season unnecessarily. This is not counting the games where Leeds have been thoroughly outplayed, nor of course the ones were the margins went in our favour. But the common denominator in the 17 fixtures above is that these were games where Leeds were either in front for long periods and should have held on, or games where Leeds were equally as dismal as their opposition and lost the game because of shocking defending. With those 24 points, Leeds would have been currently second and dreaming of better things. Even half the points dropped this season would see us in the play off mix. Brian McDermott has some job on his hands if he wants to make Leeds United promotion challengers, as dropping so many points throughout the season can’t happen again if the challenge is to become a reality.