By Keith Ingham
Ross McCormack's quadruple against Charlton Athletic at the weekend was the latest in not a large list.
A four goal haul is something that has happened on 18 occasions, below is the list of the players to achieve this special feat.
Brian Deane - Nov 20, 2004: Leeds 6 QPR 1.
Alan Smith – Nov 14, 2002: Hapoel Tel Aviv 1 Leeds 4 .
Mark Viduka – Nov 4, 2000: Leeds 4 Liverpool 3.
Allan Clarke – Apr 3, 1971: Leeds 4 Burnley 0.
Allan Clarke – Jan 24, 1970: Sutton 0 Leeds 6.
Peter Lorimer, right, – Oct 3, 1967: Spora Luxembourg 0 Leeds 9.
John McCole –Sept 12, 1961: Leeds 4 Brentford 1.
John Charles – Aug 19, 1953: Leeds 6 Notts County 0.
Leonard Browning – Jan 13, 1951: Leeds 5 Southampton 3.
Gerry Henry – Nov 29, 1941: Leeds 5 Newcastle United 2.
Gerry Henry – Mar 14, 1941: Leeds 6 Doncaster 1.
Gordon Hodgson – Feb 26, 1938: Leeds 4 Everton 4.
Arthur Hydes – Aug 28, 1933: Leeds 5 Middlesbrough 2.
Tom Jennings – Dec 10, 1927: Leeds 5 Chelsea 0.
Russell Wainscoat – Apr 30, 1927: Leeds 6 West Ham 3.
Tom Jennings – Oct 9, 1926: Leeds 4 Blackburn 1.
Tom Jennings – Oct 2, 1926: Liverpool 2 Leeds 4.
Many Thanks to the Yorkshire Evening Post for the information given above.
By Andrew Butterwick
At times Football logic is unfathomable. Despite Leeds' somewhat erratic and at times woeful away form I was full of expectation and hope as I clambered aboard the London bound train at a crisp and sunny Selby station. Yet another away day following the once mighty whites was underway and nothing was going to get in the way of a bit of pre match positiveness. The Happy Chocker and the Quiet One had a little less optimism though. Never mind a bit of essential match day lubrication would soon sort that out.
By the time we got to London the party spirit was somewhat dampened at the Barrowboy and Bank pub at London Bridge as news filtered through of not one but two pitch inspections at the Valley due to a waterlogged pitch. Bollox this is a long way to come for the match to be called off just because Charlton can't sort the drainage on their pitch out. Finally the game was given the go ahead with a 30 minute delay to the kick off. Phew.....just time for another pint before the game then. The team news declared starting spots for Pugh, Blackstock and Brown. Mmmmm this could be a bit of a backs to the wall game I mused noting that Charlton hadn't conceded a goal in the last 7 hours of play.
The atmosphere in the damp Valley was electric as the game got underway on a very dubious pitch that still had water standing on the surface. This wasn't going to be a game for pretty one touch football and Leeds soon made their no nonsense style clear as any ball in their last third was swiftly dispatched away from goal. Paddy was not going to get any pass backs today. Charlton opted for a more fluid approach as they tried to keep the ball on the floor but the inconsistent surface hampered their progress. Leeds were playing towards the packed away end and sent the travelling hordes into ecstasy with their first real attack on 17 minutes. Blackstock climbed high to knock down the ball into the path of Ross Mac who expertly steered the ball past Hamer and into the net. Get in! 1.0 Leeds.
Pugh settled into the left wing back role as if he'd played there for years and Michael Brown revelled in the greasy conditions as Leeds dug into protect their slender lead. The referee managed to upset both sets of fans with some odd decisions which saw both Blackstock and Paddy Kenny receive yellow cards for innocuous discretion's whilst the home fans were clamouring for a penalty when a Charlton forward fell like a dying Swan in the Leeds box. Paddy Kenny showed just why he is rated as the best keeper in the division when he pull off a point blank save to keep Leeds' sheet pristinely clean as Charlton applied pressure as half time approached. Then just when it looked as if Leeds would hold out until the break they were stunned by a volley straight out of the top drawer from Cameron Stewart who pulled the Addicks level. 1.1 and HT.
The chaotic half time toilet run brought a few harsh comments on Leeds first half performance. I actually thought they were playing the conditions reasonably well. The back three were looking solid, Ross Mac and Blackstock looked dangerous up front and the midfield were gamely battling with both the opposition and the pitch.
The second half had only just got under way when Leeds regained the Lead. Once again it was Ross Mac who scored as he converted a penalty after Pugh had been felled in the box by a desperate Charlton tackle. Not sure many home fans saw it that way though as they were still smarting from not getting their own penalty shout. 2.1 Leeds. The goal spurred Charlton on as they looked for a second equaliser. Lees, Pearce and now Zakiulas were meaning the ramparts at the back after Wootton had gone off injured. Brian McD's tactics seemed to be working as they held a solid back line and when given the chance broke quickly. Austin so nearly increased the lead after he latched onto a Ross Mac through ball. Maybe we might just hold onto this lead?
I had a sneaky look at the clock on the scoreboard. 69 Minutes gone. "We might just do this" I confidently announced to HC. Cue a bit of mess up by Lees and Zakiulas allowing Church to cross for Jackson to slide the ball past Kenny. 2.2 and all of a sudden things were looking ominous for the mighty whites!
Brian McD's teams are made of stern stuff though and they stuck doggedly to the game plan by continuing to only play in the last third of the Charlton field. Finger nails were beginning to disappear as nerves took a grip on the 3,200 travelling fans though...............come on down Ross McCormack. Once again the ball was launched into the Charlton box and once again Ross Mac was first onto the loose ball to smack the ball high into the Charlton net for his hat trick goal. 3.2 Leeds and we were all set for a hectic last 15 minutes.
Charlton now battered the Leeds back line in search of a third equaliser. Kenny tipped over a deflected effort into the away fans as tension levels rose. The home fans were on the ref's back for every decision. Funny that I thought if anything he was a bit of a homer? With the Leeds back line creaking Leeds were in need of some inspiration to help them get over the line. Smith had replaced Blackstock up front to try and pinch a killer goal. With 90 minutes on the clock we inched to the exit for a quick getaway. the delayed kick off had given us little time to catch our train home. Wait a minute.......Austin's won a free kick on the edge of the box. Who else but Ross Mac steps up to take it and curls a magnificent shot into the top corner. Get innnnnnnnnnn! 4.2 Leeds and all 4 to Ross Mac. Boom!
We hurried away from the ground to catch our train as the final whistle went grinning from ear to ear. I do like a good away win! Clearly a number of the home fans weren't that happy as they suggested that they had lost to 12 men! Funny I thought it was the 4 Ross Mac goals that beat them?
The dash across London was worth it as we just caught our northern bound train in time to reflect on a hard fought and rare away win. Ross Mac was the star but Pugh, Pearce, Austin and Kenny all performed to the highest standard. 4.2 probably flattered Leeds but in the end they deserved the victory for the way they adapted better to the less than suitable conditions...................and the lethal finishing of Mr McCormack. I wonder what Strachan was thinking when he heard his discarded Scottish striker had just scored his 6th goal in two games?
The win didn't move Leeds up the table but the three points certainly solidified their position just behind the top six pack just one point adrift. The international break looms before we entertain Middlesbrough. It would be nice to go on a bit of unbeaten run before Xmas wouldn't it? Bring it on.
By Josh Grainger
I can't have been the only Leeds fan out there to let out a sigh and somewhat uncontrollably let my head drop into my hands as I found out Danny Pugh and Michael Brown had made the starting line up for the trip to Charlton.
Granted, Pugh was the only fit left back at the club for the match but even then surely Jason Pearce or this new Zalikuis chap from Hearts couldn't show themselves up as much as the 31 year old had in the past. As for Michael Brown don't even get me started.
McDermott had stressed prior to the game that the pair had been showing good signs in training and had shown real fight to win a place in the side, but even then surely this was a gamble that was destined not to pay off.
Alex Mowatt had picked up a thigh injury before the match, thus leading to the inclusion of Brown, but that is quite a contrast for anyone to get their head around, young, stylish and arguably player of the season so far Alex Mowatt to wrinkly Michael Brown, I can feel a migraine coming on just comparing the two. Still I suppose we had to just put our faith in Brian and hope...
The game itself was delayed half an hour due to heavy rain, it's grim down south isn't it? The pitch was still bogged down in water and within five minutes Michael Brown had already gone sliding into a slow motion tackle, god how I love the Championship.
Despite all this and our inevitable failure, it was McDermott's men who took the lead. Usually when Tom Lees plants the ball up field it's a time to roll your eyes and again let out a sigh, not this time however, loanee Dextor Blackstock flicked on the long ball and scampering on to it was Ross McCormack, we'd scored and maybe, just maybe this day wouldn't end like the majority of Leeds' travels.
Leeds failed to take the game by the neck and build on their lead, however as long as we kept them out till half time I could breathe easily, bollocks! they'd scored, a rather good goal at that and the familiar feeling of disappointment was back amongst the 3,000 or so travelling supporters. Leeds were lucky to go in level at half time if truth be told, the hosts had two near misses in injury time alone, still the half time whistle blew and I sensed a Charlton onslaught coming in the second period.
This didn't happen though, within two minutes of the players re-emergence, Danny Pugh had been tripped inside the area and Leeds had a penalty. McCormack stepped up and smashed the ball down the middle for his second, not only had he scored a penalty, Danny Pugh technically had an assist!?
The general upbeat and optimistic attitude only lasted around twenty minutes however. Remember back to Derby a few weeks ago when for their second goal three Leeds defenders all crowded round the winger on the ball leaving the striker in the box completely unmarked, surely it couldn't happen again could it? Surely they'd learned their lesson. Oh wait, this is Leeds United, of course they hadn't, Lee Peltier and Tom Lees were made look foolish as the Charlton winger wriggled his way through and fed Jonny Jackson who tapped in from a few yards out.
By some sort of miracle however, Leeds managed to dig up the spirit to take the lead for the third time. A free kick hoofed into the area was headed on by the Charlton defender and Ross McCormack smashed past the keeper to put Leeds back ahead and confirm his hatrick (When an individual player scores three times within the same match... just in case like me, you'd forgotten what one was).
As we waited for Charlton's inevitable equaliser it didn't seem to come, surely we weren't going to actually win this!?
McCormack was almost unplayable and there was a certain air of inevitability and dare I say expectancy when he curled in his fourth from a free kick twenty five yards out.
We'd actually won, we'd hit four past a side who hadn't conceded a goal in five games, this was unheard of. Not only this Danny Pugh and even Brown played relatively well, as had the rest of the side. Paddy Kenny made some fine saves to keep us in it, this was a team performance and a bloody good one at that. Who knows, this season might not just be a mid-table slog.
By Mike Courtney
The away day blues were well and truly put to bed with a battling 4-2 win away at rain soaked The Valley. Following a late pitch inspection the game got the go ahead albeit with a 3.30 kick off, but at least the 3000 travelling supporters hadn't made the journey in vein. It didn't take Leeds long to get into their stride and as Rossco latched on to a flick on from Blackstock, making his first Leeds start, and flicked it over the advancing Hamer for the opener on 17 minutes.
It was to be a red letter day for Ross, who was surprisingly left out of the Scottish squad for the upcoming internationals, as he set about showing Gordan Strachan what he has to offer. Leeds had the post to thank for retaining their lead as Simon Church rattled the woodwork from a tight angle as Charlton sought to bounce back from the early setback. Kenny kept Leeds in front with a point blank save from Church on 42mins but Charlton were to go in level at half time, when Cameron Stewert volleyed home from 20yards when Leeds failed to clear a free kick right on 45 minutes. In fact Leeds were lucky to go in level as Tom Lees almost found his own net for the second away game in a row when he turned a cross over his own bar.
Leeds needed a fast start to the second half and they got it when the forgotten man, Danny Pugh, making his first appearance in a year, was brought down in the box and Rossco stepped up to ram home his second. Kenny again had to be at his best to keep Leeds ahead tipping a deflected Harriott shot over the bar but on 70 minutes Charlton got the equaliser they probably deserved, when Church wriggled past Peltier and Lees down the right and squared for Jackson to score on 70 minutes. There joy was short lived though as that man Ross again got on the end of a high ball into the box and volleyed it home from seven yards. This was the first hat-trick for a Leeds player since a certain Mr Becchio against Bristol City in 2010. There was more to come though as Leeds were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box just as we entered injury time and Ross stepped up to ease any nerves the travelling fans might have, as he curled a beauty over the wall for his fourth.
Not since Brian Deane scored 4 against QPR 9 years ago has a Leeds player achieved this feat and the often maligned Ross McCormack certainly answered any critics he might have, sending out a timely message to his international boss. That's 8 goals for Ross in his last 6 games and 12 for Leeds in their last 4 since BMAC changed to a 3-5-2 formation.
A great 3 points as we gained ground on all but one of the teams above us and are now just one point off the playoff places. There were some squeaky bum moments, as there always is with Leeds, but who can argue with 4 goals away from home. This was against a Charlton team that had not conceded in 460 minutes of football and it was done without Byram, Warnock and Mowatt, who were all missing through injury. This shows that we do have strength in depth and credit to Danny Pugh, who put in a good shift for a guy who hasn't seen first team action in so long. Blackstock's arrival gives us options up front and with Ross playing closer to goal in this new formation we are beginning to see him do what he does best, score goals. He could be the 20 goal a season striker we've been crying out for
So a valuable 3 points, the away day blues banished for now and 4 goals for our number 44. What more could we ask for on a rain sodden Saturday in November.
MOT Leeds Leeds Leeds.
PS my prediction of a 3-1 win wasn't far off the mark.
By Mike Courtney
We're back on the road this weekend as Brian McDermott takes his Jekyll and Hyde Leeds side to the Valley to face Charlton. Since the last International break BMAC has changed from his Diamond formation to a 3-5-2 formation. This has worked well at home with 2 wins, scoring six and conceding none with a 3-2 loss away to Huddersfield sandwiched in between.
The home performances have been very impressive and have helped us climb to 8th in the table and within touching distance of the playoffs. But it is our away form that is still the issue and this needs to improve if we are to maintain our rise up the table. If you look at the two home performances since this formation has been adopted it's a no-brainer that we keep playing this way but the difference between those performances and the way we played at Huddersfield is seismic. Take Rudy Austin for instance, in the two home games he was phenomenal getting the man of the match award against Birmingham and setting up Rossco's two goals against Yeovil. He was playing like Yaya Toure, marauding forward with drive and precision creating chances and scoring goals. His link up play with Ross was akin to Toure and Aguero and had the fans out of their seats and gushing with enthusiasm. But away at Huddersfield he was more subdued, less inspirational and influential which got me thinking, is he being instructed to be more defensive minded away from home, which in turn is affecting his performance.
I know it's difficult to perform week in week out but the difference between the way he played in those home games and the one at Huddersfield was clear for all to see, Saturday away at Charlton might answer some of my questions. The reason I am picking out Rudy's performances is that I think he is crucial to the way the 3-5-2 formation works. His non stop work rate and pressing high up the pitch coupled with his drive and power has created the opportunities for others and have seen us score more goals, 8 in the last 3 games compared to just 10 in the previous 11 league games. So the 3-5-2 has definitely seen us create more and has stopped the outcry for wingers and a new striker. We still probably need these type of players but the urgency has diminished somewhat. With our full backs raiding and Rossco playing nearer to the goal, we have started to create and take more opportunities then before. So all in all the 3-5-2 seems to be working well at home but whether it can work on the road remains to be seen.
Charlton will be a big test on Saturday. I don't like Charlton, I think it goes back to the playoff defeat in 1987, when Billy's boys were cruelly robbed of a place in the top flight by two late Peter Shirtliff goals in extra time. It broke my heart and I haven't been able to forgive them since. That was over 26 years ago and the pain is still there. So this weekend as we take to the field at the Valley, I hope the boys go some way to relieve some of my pain by taking another 3 points on the road to the premier league.
We will be without our two recognised full backs as both Byram and Warnock are out injured. Adam Drury is still not back to full fitness and Aidy White is out on loan, so if BMAC sticks with the 3-5-2 formation it looks like Lee Peltier may have to switch to left back and possibly Tom Lees moving to right back from the centre. This could mean a first start for Marius Zaliukas playing alongside Pearce and Wootton. This could hamper our attacking play as neither Lees or Peltier, especially with Peltier on the wrong flank, being renowned for their creativity. We will have to rely on young Mowatt and Murphy along with Rudy to provide the ammunition for Ross and possibly Smith, though I wouldn't be surprised if Blackstock got a start.
With our away form being what it is, this is going to be a difficult match. Charlton won't roll over easily and we will need to be at our best if we are to take maximum points. I think that there is a renewed confidence in the camp garnered from our recent performances and the team seems to have settled in to the new formation fairly comfortably. As I have already said, it hasn't proved successful on the road yet but if and its a big IF, we can play like we have been at home under this system the chances will come and I do feel we now have the fire-power to convert these chances and take a welcome three points before the International Break.
Leeds to win 3-1
MOT Leeds Leeds Leeds.
By Andrew Butterwick
The winter chill in the air reflected the current mood on Planet Leeds. Even the visit of the mighty Yeovil Town, currently struggling in the relegation zone, couldn't inspire a unanimous expectation of three points from Leeds' latest championship clash. The only consistency Brian McD's charges have shown this term is inconsistency so it was anybody's guess how this afternoon's game would turn out and therefore it was with cautious optimism that I boarded the Leeds bound train at Selby with the Happy Chocker and the Quiet One. News that our new signing Zaliukas had been added to the squad and Byram could be missing with another injury didn't exactly brighten the mood. "Zaliukas has played in the two development games when we've conceded a total of 7 goals" HC announced. Mmmm not exactly the statistic I was hoping to hear!
A surprisingly healthy crowd of 25,000 were assembled inside Elland Road ready for kick off. You could here a pin drop as a poignant rendition of the Last Post pierced the West Yorkshire air in recognition of Armed Forces day and Remembrance Sunday. A sobering reminder of those who have lost their lives serving their country in the name of war over the years. That wasn't the only celebration though as the legend who is Norman Hunter was presented with a cake for his 70th birthday. Norman "Bites yer Legs" was one of my heroes in my formative years. All of a sudden I felt old!
Brian McD made one enforced change to last week's team with Pelts coming into the right wing back role in place of Byram. Zaliukas and Diouf were on the bench along with last weeks goal scorer Blackstock. 500 fans had made the long trek from Yeovil hoping to see their team do better than their 3 previous visits to Elland Road where they had failed to score and returned to Somerset pointless each time. They did beat Forest last week though!
The match kicked off in a swirling wind with the visitors wearing a ludicrously luminous away strip that made our "glow in the dark" effort look like an army camouflage uniform. Leeds started the game confidently and so nearly reprised last week's early goal when Mowatt tested Hennessey in the Glovers goal after good work from Smith and Austin. This should have inspired Leeds to push on and take the game by the scruff of the neck but it was the visitors who settled the better. Kenny pulled off a super save from a Yeovil attack with the linesman's flag fluttering for offside as Yeovil's pacey frontman troubled the Leeds defence. The swirling wind didn't exactly help the quality of the play as Leeds struggled to find the necessary fluency that a home side need to dominate games. Austin was making some driving runs from midfield though and tried his luck with two long range shots that failed to trouble Hennessey in the visitor's goal. On the half hour mark Smith should have converted a glorious chance from 6 yards but failed to make contact with the ball and the chance fizzled away. It was that sort of game.
Entertainment was in short supply in the first 45 minutes although seeing Jason Pearce move to left wing back after Zaliukas replaced the injured Warnock did spark some interest amongst the home fans. Pearce, like all centre halves, is a frustrated forward at heart so he grabbed the chance to venture forward with both hands. This could be interesting I mused.................but then again there wasn't much competition in the "interesting" category on the basis of the first half. The ref blew his whistle for the end of the half. 0.0.
The urinal philosophers weren't too impressed with the first half display. "Same old rubbish" was one punter's view whilst another thought "McCormack's a waste of time" It is a well known scientific fact that beer can seriously affect your judgement and the last comment more than supported that theory! In truth the half was uninspiring and Leeds were in desperate need of some spark of quality to lift the team and the crowd. That spark came just 3 minutes after the restart. Mr "Waste of space" McCormack thundered forward on the shoulder of the impressive Austin who powered through the centre of midfield like a raging bull before releasing the Scot with a perfectly weighted pass. Ross Mac took one touch before rifling a rocket like shot past the Yeovil goalie. 1.0 Leeds and a massive roar of relief filled the Beeston air.
Yeovil were still having the Lion's share of possession though in the blustery conditions. Wootton was just holding the Leeds defence together at the back as the Glovers pushed on for an equaliser. Blackstock replaced Smith on the hour and almost repeated last weeks feat of scoring with his first touch. Ross Mac won the ball and picked out Blackstock who had drifted off his man and found space in the box. His shot was deflected agonisingly close past the post for a corner. Austin was beginning to gain some dominance in midfield with his barnstorming runs but his choice of when to shoot and when to pass prevented Leeds from adding to their single goal.................that is until the 68th minute when he threaded a superb ball through to Ross Mac on the edge of the box who thundered in his second of the match. Some "waste of space"! 2.0 Leeds.
Yeovil pushed forward in vain to try and get back in the game but Leeds closed the game out with a mixture of dogged defending and poor finishing from the Glovers. The game finished 2.0 to Leeds and another fruitless trip to LS11 for the Somerset men. Austin had a powerful game in midfield. Blackstock showed some nice touches when he came on whilst Wootton and Lees battled well at the back. Ross Mac was my man of the match for the two goals that lit up this very average game. Why some fans slate him is beyond me? The new man Zakiulas had a quiet debut at the back. This was a game that will be filed in the "forgettable" game archive for me. A much needed three points though together with a clean sheet is not to be sniffed at in this ultra competitive league.
The high wind and driving rain tested the mood of the fans queueing for the delayed shuttle buses after the game as they huddled together like a herd of Emperor Penguins closing ranks to keep out the worst of the Antarctic weather. The win lifts Leeds to 8th in the table but the sensible inhabitants of Planet Leeds won't be getting too carried away with this victory safe in the knowledge that this rollercoaster of a season still has a long, long way to go. Next week's trip to Charlton will be a sterner test than today. It would be nice to go into the international break on a high though?
By Rob Atkinson
After that brief spike of hope for a new dawn which was the 4-0 slaying of Birmingham City, Leeds United served up their traditional dessert of bleak disappointment by slumping to defeat at the hands of plucky little Huddersfield. Predictably, the Terriers have been yapping ever since and the best we can hope for as far as they're concerned is a typical "post Cup Final" reaction when they visit Wigan. There is some satisfaction in seeing such teams collapse, spent and exhausted, in their next match after raising their games to play Leeds. Some - but not much.
Leeds themselves are rumoured to be ready to react to defeat at Huddersfield with defensive changes at home to Yeovil, a team they have never lost to and who they have beaten in all three historical home fixtures by an aggregate of 9-0. The logic of giving a debut to new signing Marius Zaliukas - on the strength of two Development Squad outings which have seen the concession of 7 goals - might appear questionable. It seems though that Zaliukas has acquitted himself well in the two shadow squad games, being described by coach Neil Redfearn as a "Rolls Royce". For United fans who remember the original Rolls Royce, Paul Madeley, there can be no higher praise than this, so hopes will be high for the Lithuanian international's positive contribution to our heroes' defensive efforts. Who would make way for the new lad is a matter for some conjecture - last week's defensive trio didn't have much to choose between them for general awfulness - but it wouldn't be a massive surprise to see Tom Lees drop to the bench. Another change could be forced on Leeds, with Sam Byram nursing a thigh strain. Loanee Dexter Blackstock is pushing for a start up front after scoring against Huddersfield with his first effort in a Leeds shirt.
For Yeovil, a second tier visit to Leeds is heady stuff. Not so long back, this tiny Somerset club were best known for the crazy slope of its home pitch, upon which many a higher-grade club were slain in Cup football. Now they're in the big time on merit and fresh, what's more, from an impressive 3-1 defeat of Nottingham Forest. It may be that having dispatched one former European force, Yeovil will have the appetite and spirit to see off another, but they will have to break new ground to beat United, or even to score a goal at Elland Road. After such an impressive result last week, manager Gary Johnson is unlikely to want to make too many changes, if any at all. One that may be forced on him is the replacement of former Southampton defender Dan Seaborne, struggling to overcome a knock from a midweek reserve outing.
Predictions are such tricky affairs, but the clues here are unmistakable. Leeds have a 100% record against Yeovil at Elland Road, the Glovers having failed ever to score on the sacred turf of United's home ground. This season they have scored only 9 league goals, and stand two short of 600 in their ten-year Football League career. So it all points to a "shock" 2-1 away win and more despondency for Leeds - by which prediction I am of course hoping to utterly jinx Yeovil's chances. It's underhand, but anything's worth a try!