By James Dielhenn
Saturday 29th September 2012
Ashton Gate, Att: 15,692 (2069 Leeds)
Bristol City 2 - 3 Leeds
Adomah 70' Diouf 64'
Austin (og) 90' Diouf 81'
Team: Kenny, Byram, Lees, Pearce, Peltier, White, Austin, Brown, Tonge, Diouf, Becchio
Subs: Ashdown, Drury, Pugh, Norris, Varney, Poleon, Gray (on for Becchio 89)
Everything is looking positive at Leeds - three wins out of three, rumours that the takeover is getting closer, and the injury crisis seemingly having little effect on the team. Neil Warnock continues to warn, however, that this threadbare squad will struggle to keep going over an entire season.
Paddy Kenny only just passed a late fitness test to play and he looked slightly injured. His kicking was conservative and he didn't leave his line as often as usual. He had no chance with either goal, though, and had a decent game. 6
Sam Byram was excellent at right-back. He is making it impossible for Warnock to leave him out. He adds a bit of pace which generally the team lacks. While he defended well, he really caught the eye getting forward and setting up the first goal. 8
Tom Lees built on his performance against Everton with another strong display at centre-back. He is cutting any mistakes or lapses of concentration out of his game. 7
Jason Pearce was everything we expect - strong, dominant in the area, keeping things simple and effective. Another solid game. 7
Lee Peltier was switched to left-back and was sturdy, although he couldn't get forward much. His versatility is important to Warnock. 6
Aidy White, after his goal against Everton, played more confidently. He is slowly adjusting to his right wing position. He was a threat and also helped out defensively. 6
Michael Brown was perhaps a surprise inclusion but he proved he can still do a job occasionally in this league. He sat deep and kept his passing simple, and his tough tackling meant he was a presence in central midfield. A decent display. 6
Rodolph Austin was immense again. What a signing he has been! He bombed backwards and forwards, stopping City in their tracks in midfield. Austin could have scored twice from set-pieces, and the goal threat he possesses is exceptional for a player in his position. He has become one of Leeds' most important players. 8
Michael Tonge played on the left wing again and scored his first goal for the club, a very impressive strike that effectively sealed the win. Other than his excellent finish, Tonge was industrious and probably had his best game for Leeds so far. 7
El-Hadji Diouf earned the headlines that will be written about him. Apart from his two match-winning goals, he was immaculate in possession and kept drifting into positions that dragged City all over the place. Diouf was brilliant. 8
Luciano Becchio looked slightly tired - we know from last season that he can struggle with playing three games in the space of a week. He still assisted a goal with a typical header in the box and put in a good shift. 6
A worry is that Warnock has no faith in his substitutes - he didn't make any against Everton and made a time-wasting sub against City in the last minute. Our first eleven looks pretty good and if the manager can bring in more players over the course of the season then Leeds will have a chance at those play-offs.
Neil Warnock post match:
"What a fantastic week. To beat Forest, Everton and Bristol City over such a short space of time with seven players out injured is tremendous," Warnock said.
"We passed the ball too much in the first half and I always felt we could step up a gear. Bristol were unlucky with injuries, but we had a goal disallowed, which I felt was harsh.
"I think we are still some way away from having Premier League potential. At this level you are judged on the strength of your bench and we have been bringing on first year professionals.
"But I can't praise the lads enough. I named pretty much the same team as played against Everton and that was a really tough game so to come up with another victory did them great credit."
By Keith Ingham
Leeds United rounded off a fantastic week by beating Bristol in a pulsating five goal thriller. It's been a long time since we've won three on the bounce and the entire squad deserve credit for their efforts.
We welcomed back Paddy Kenny and Lee Peltier for the game, otherwise the players who did so well in midweek v Everton kept their places.
The game was evenly balanced throughout the first half with only half chances created but none taken. The second though was end to end and El Hadji Diouf finished well at the back post on 64 minutes after a great cross from Sam Byram.
Leeds looked to increase their lead but Adomah scored with a diving header and for a time Bristol drove forward searching for the lead, but the man of the moment Diouf scored with less than ten minutes left. It was to get better for the away side when Michael Tonge picked up the ball and hit a 'screamer' from twenty five yards to make it 3-1. With minutes remaining a corner was sent past Kenny via a Leeds defender but Leeds held on to record another victory at Ashton Gate.
Leeds travel to Bolton on Tuesday and will hopefully continue this impressive run. It's incredible after two negative results that the side has shown so much character and pushed them closer to a top six place.
Man of the Match: El Hadji Diouf but Sam Byram was very close to being named.
Fans 8/10. Great support
To the proposed buyers: Back Neil Warnock and his team they won't let you down.
By Ryan Ingham
During this summer I and all our beautiful fans have sat on our hands and eagerly waited for news through mainly the twitter sphere, waiting for any scrap of news that we could get our hands on, this is called desperation and should not be taken lightly. This should not scare you away from our beautiful club but show you that given the right leadership we can make this club a stronger, more excitable team.
Do not be disheartened by the phrase 'TOMA' this is not disbelief but more the fact of how at Leeds, we have suffered through bankruptcy and relegation all before, yet we are still here cheering our lads on.
All I ask as a true Leeds fan is that you support our new wonderful tactician of a manager who, through no fault of his own, has had to work on a shoe string budget to get the squad and build a strong team without risk or damage to our finances.
I also understand that the gulf has wealth beyond our imagination but if you do takeover, please look at our past and other clubs that have been hit by huge investment followed by a sudden stop of cash flow. We were paying Seth Johnson, a championship middleweight over £40,000 a week to stand in defence and play terribly bad. If you look at Malaga's sudden jump to cash followed by a swift sale of their current stars then you can see how quickly a financial rain pour can turn into a financial down poor. As Leeds fans, we do not want this, I beg of you to spend money, as our team does need improvement but also look at the big picture. QPR spent wisely and that led them to blossom over years and that is what I ask of you. Be patient, shop around and let Neil do his business slowly and safely, we do not like money hungry players who turn up for their banks looking better and their cars looking sharper, we want players who love to play for us like Lees, Austin, Kenny, White, and Pearce! They smile when they wear that white kit.
I hope my fellow Leeds fans share my caution yet excitement as your statement provides that we can do this and we will support you anyway we can, the passion and patience you have shown can only be good but my final words will have to be that we love our club and do not want it taken away from us.
Sports journalist at Sunderland University.
By Keith Ingham
After a never to be forgotten Tuesday night, Leeds take their walking wounded to the city of Bristol.
I do not have enough column space to mention everything that was so good about the Capital One cup tie with Premiership Everton. They were that special. The players who came in and played well though deserve a mention. Firstly midfielder's Danny Pugh and Michael Brown, who have not had much time on the field had probably one of their best games in a Leeds shirt with Tonge and Austin making the midfield full of commitment and bite. Battered and bloodied centre backs Lees and Pearce gave the Everton forwards a battle they'll not forget in a hurry. The plaudits went to White for his marvellous first goal for his hometown club and El Hadji Diouf for his dominance of the game. A great shift from the Senegalese forward.
Neil Warnock will be hoping any injuries picked up will not hamper his selection. Bristol sit tenth in the league with ten points. If fit, Neil Kilkenny will be out to show his ex employees their mistake in not keeping him.
Neil Warnock said some of the press predictions were negative about last week's game beforehand but I have again confidence in his team and expect another win due to the recent great performances and we've a good recent record at Ashton Gate.
Prediction Bristol City 0 Leeds 2 (Pearce, Becchio)
On On On
By Keith Ingham
When the papers mentioned in the early days of the transfer window about the possiblity of us signing El Hadji Diouf, the general opinion was 'when hell freezes over' because of his past discretions, plus the quote from the manager in the past that he was a 'sewer rat'.
For a few weeks nothing was mentioned until a picture arrived on Twitter ahead of the Shrewsbury Town game, showing a neatly folded number 21 Leeds shirt bearing the name DIOUF on the back of it.
He didn't get the best reception with a few boos to contend with but he got on with his game and a short term contract was agreed with him, he could have received better money and weather elsewhere but chose to join us. Slowly but surely as the injuries mounted his prominence in the games against Forest and Everton shone through. To see the player play with a smile on his face and clearly loving the adoration of the fans is a big bonus in this fledgling season.
Neil Warnock must be congratulated on the signing and it looks like very soon fans will be walking around with DIOUF 21 on their shirts.
Who'd have thought that would ever happen at Leeds United !
On On On
By James Dielhenn
Tuesday 25th September 2012
Capital One Cup Third Round
Elland Road, Att: 21,164
Leeds 2 - 1 Everton
White 4' Distin 81'
Team: Ashdown, Byram, Lees, Pearce, Pugh, White, Austin, Brown, Tonge, Diouf, Becchio
Subs: Rachubka, Kisnorbo, Drury, Thompson, Varney, Poleon, Gray
With Leeds' thin squad and injury problems, an energy sapping midweek fixture against Premier League was the last thing that they needed. However, defeating Everton with such a brilliant performance could spur them on for the foreseeable future.
Jamie Ashdown was given a chance in goal at Paddy Kenny's expense. He had no chance with the goal, but blocked a couple of long-range efforts and, even more importantly, claimed a couple of dangerous crosses. He would have expected to have been busier. 7
Sam Byram looks better every time he takes to the pitch. At first his passing was slightly off, but as the right-back relaxed he put in a good display. He is competent in defence, pacey and most impressively he has real confidence with the ball at his feet. A couple of times his dribbling gave Everton problems. 7
Tom Lees is also growing with every match that goes by. He was excellent, perfectly positioned for the whole game. His bloodied face was an indication of the toughness that Neil Warnock has instilled in his game. Two of his blocks were just as vital as the goals that we scored. 8
Jason Pearce is an absolute warrior at centre-back. Before Lees, he cut his face open after a nasty clash of heads. But he battled on, getting in the way of everything that came his way. Pearce captained the team tonight and he was exceptional. 8
Danny Pugh was perhaps a surprise inclusion at left-back. Transfer listed during the summer by Warnock, this was his first appearance of the season but he didn't let anybody down. One lapse of concentration allowed Everton's Naismith to win a back-post header but apart from that, he defended astutely. Maybe Warnock will trust Pugh more after this display. 7
Michael Brown is a decent player to call upon occasionally when Warnock decides to shuffle his pack. His experience means that he is never daunted by any opposition and he asserted himself as the defensive midfielder today. He picked up his customary booking for a wild tackle but his aggressiveness and positional play were very helpful. 7
Rodolph Austin was Leeds' best player. The Jamaican is an absolutely outstanding midfielder. He contested every ball, closed down Everton's playmakers and put his body on the line - but on top of that he had the fitness and ability to charge up the field with the ball. His lung-busting run and subtlety of touch won the free-kick from which he stabbed home the winning goal. Nobody is more important to Leeds that Austin. 9
Michael Tonge operated from the left-hand side, an unfamiliar position. His performance was workmanlike, and he did his part in closing down Everton. In possession Tonge is weak, though. Too often he is unable to contribute positively to an attack. 6
Aidy White played on the right wing. He has suffered from a bad start to the season but after just four minutes he finally scored his first professional goal with a stunning effort. He beat Fellaini and Distin - no mean feat - before curling a shot home. Otherwise, he was threatening as he dribbled down the flank and helped out defensively. He will surely come into consideration for the weekend's league match after his recent stint on the bench. 8
El Hadji Diouf played in the hole behind the striker and probably had his best game for Leeds so far. He was aggressive and really riled Everton's fans and players, winning countless free-kicks and dragging Leeds up the pitch when they were under pressure. Diouf was outstanding in possession, too, barely ever losing the ball in a congested midfield area. He really proved his experience and quality with this performance. He also showed Warnock that his most effective position is in a free role behind the striker. 9
Luciano Becchio had the unenviable job of playing up-front alone against Everton's ultra experienced central defenders. He put them under plenty of pressure, and considering he is carrying an injury he played well. He almost scored with a header that was cleared off the line. 7
Overall, Leeds were outstanding and this battling performance will give them confidence against any Championship team. Let's just hope that the energy used on earning this victory won't derail them at the weekend.
Neil Warnock Post Match
“Everyone’s a bit surprised. Even our fans will be surprised. But that’s what football’s about – surprising people.
“I’d be surprised if any of the lads didn’t watch it again when they got home.
“Everton really wanted to win the competition and that makes the result even better for me. We deserved the win and everything about the game was good.
“There wasn’t a weakness in our team. If there had have been a weakness then we’d have got beaten.”
(on Diouf's future) “Diouf won’t go anywhere else.
“He’s promised me certain things and I’m happy with that.
“He’s obviously not doing it for money because he’s one of our lowest-paid players but he’s not going to get a stage like this again. He’s a matador and you need someone like that.”
By Keith Ingham
The prospect of a Tuesday night and facing one of the form teams of this years Premiership with not our strongest line up, filled even the most positive fan with a little trepidation.
Leeds gave Ashdown, Pugh and Brown starts with Lees returning to centre back with Becchio fit enough to lead the line with Diouf just behind him.
From the off Leeds tore into the 'Toffees' and from a defensive mistake the ball broke to Aidy White, who with a shimmy found himself one on one with the keeper and sent it over the keepers shoulder and into the net. A fantastic start with all battling for every ball and Everton seemed surprised by our commitment. We continued to dominate and were unlucky near Half Time when Becchio had a point blank header saved by the keeper.
The second half started with Everton bringing on Neville and Pienaar to try and get a foothold early on but it was Leeds who went close through Tonge who hit wide after a run. Then as Leeds were awarded a free kick it was played short, Pugh's shot was deflected in by 'the beast' Rudolf Austin's foot to make it 2-0.
Everton knew they had to throw caution to the wind and Naismith should have done better from a cross but they did score through a Distin header to make it a nervous last ten minutes plus injury time.
Leeds though held on and Diouf deservedly took the Man of the Match award but Lees, Pearce, Tonge and Brown deserve a mention too. A incredible performance and a deserved win on Tuesday. Well done lads !!
On On On
By Mike Courtney
I've been very quiet of late and haven't blogged about the mighty Leeds for a few weeks. I was hoping the next time I wrote that it would be a positive piece about our new owners, new loan signings and our charge up the League table.
Unfortunately my urge to write has got the better of me and my patience has run out with this Takeover business. The Takeover is a bit like our season so far, one step forward and two steps back and despite the appearance of would be investors at last weekends vital victory over Forest, is still no closer to completion.
What will Ken blame next; the clocks going back, Christmas is coming, the weather is a bit colder now so people have gone abroad chasing the sun, the postman was chased by a dog!!!! It seems there has been a raft of excuses and none of them very plausible. Its like a kid who has forgotten to do his homework and tries to come up with some last minute tall tale for his teacher.
With our squad wearing thin along with our patience it is definitely time for the Chairman to come clean and let us fans know exactly what's going on. Confidentiality can no longer be an excuse if four members of the would be investors consortium were paraded in the executive box at Elland Road last weekend. We can only take so much of this cloak and dagger and smoke and mirrors stuff. Now is the time for clarity and honesty towards the fans, the manager, the team and the entire Leeds United family. Its as clear as the beard on Kens face that the Club needs an injection of cash that can be spent to supplement the squad that we have in place to enable us to challenge at the right end of the table this season.
Warnock and the players have done brilliantly so far this season to keep us in touch with the leaders but without an injection of fresh faces we won't be able to sustain competitiveness as the games come thick and fast. We are already down to the bare bones and though the kids that have come in have done fantastically well, to quote Hanson "You'll win nothing with kids". He was proved wrong that season but then again that was an exceptionally talented bunch of kids. Ours are good, Byram, Poleon, Lees and White, but we need a proven striker to supplement the brilliant work of Becchio (Beckford)and creativity out wide (Mad Max Gradel) to lay on the chances.
So come on Ken lets be having you. Sign those papers get the investors in and get 2 or 3 new quality players added to this improving squad that we have and give us all something to shout about.
MOT...Leeds Leeds Leeds