By James Dielhenn
Tuesday 21st August 2012
Bloomfield Road, Att: 14,315
Blackpool 2 - 1 Leeds
Dicko 75' Lees 17'
Team: Kenny, Byram, Lees, Pearce, Peltier, White, Norris, Austin, Varney,
Subs: Ashdown, Kisnorbo, Drury, Pugh (on for White 79), Brown,
Diouf (on for McCormack 58), Gray
Leeds were brought back down to Earth with a bump as Blackpool thoroughly outclassed them en route to a 2-1 win. Despite taking an undeserved lead, Blackpool dominated possession and created chance after chance but were made to wait until the last 15 minutes to score twice.
Leeds' resilience was impressive but Blackpool proved that they are a far better team. While our defending was very good for the most part, our inability to keep the ball meant that Blackpool attacked constantly for 90 minutes.
Paddy Kenny prevented the score line becoming embarrassing. The keeper made a string of excellent saves throughout the game that kept Leeds in with a shout. His domination of his box was good but it was his endless shot-stopping that caught the eye. 9
Sam Byram retained his place at right-back but had a tough night. Blackpool used their wingers relentlessly so Byram was given the run-around for large parts of the night. He stuck to his task but never really was able to stop Blackpool attacking down his flank. 6
Tom Lees came into the starting line-up at centre-back and scored the opening goal with a powerful header from a corner. He played well, defending stoutly on the edge of his box. In the end he couldn't do anything about Blackpool's goals but he did enough for Neil Warnock to consider giving him another start at the weekend. 7
Jason Pearce looks like he could be one of Warnock's best signings. For the second game running he was instrumental. He organised the defence, headed everything and put himself in the way of anything that Blackpool threw at him. A superb defensive display. 8
Lee Peltier switched to left-back in a reshuffled defence. Naturally a right-back, he has now played at centre-back and on the left, begging the question why Adam Drury was overlooked for this game rather than putting the skipper out of position. Peltier proved his versatility with an impressive showing, not letting anything get past him. 7
Rodolph Austin wasn't able to leave his mark on the game in the way that he did against Wolves. Blackpool moved the ball past him so quickly that he won't have been used to it. He ran constantly but in vain. 6
David Norris was also very busy in central midfield, doing everything he could to close Blackpool down. But when the midfield tired it showed. Norris wasn't ever able to put his foot on the ball and pass it. 6
Aidy White was moved from left-back to the right wing, but his poor performance against Wolves was replicated. White never got into the game, never affected the play and wasn't able to be an influence in taking Leeds forward. He simply never got into it. 5
Luke Varney also put in a second consecutive poor display on the left wing. Warnock admitted that returning to his old club was a problem for Varney and it showed in his performance. He never got possession and didn't threaten Blackpool at all. His dithering cost Leeds a goal. 4
Ross McCormack played slightly deeper in a 4-2-3-1 but never saw the ball. Leeds' inability to retain possession meant it never reached the feet of McCormack, who was subbed after an hour. He did, however, take the corner leading to our goal. 5
El-Hadji Diouf replaced McCormack for the last 30 minutes but it was a similar story as the ball never went high enough up the field. 6
Luciano Becchio cut a lonely figure up-front as Blackpool dominated the ball. Leeds had to resort to whacking it long and Becchio was unable to hold it up. He also missed a good chance with a free header. 5
Warnock confessed afterwards that he didn't have the resources to change the game with his substitutes, which is worrying. Our first 11 is decent but wasn't able to compete on this night with one of the division's best teams.