By James Dielhenn
Saturday 15th September 2012
Cardiff City Stadium, Att: 23,836 (1800 Leeds)
Cardiff 2 - 1 Leeds
Bellamy 66' Austin 76'
Whittingham 71' (pen)
Team: Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Pearce, Drury, Byram, Tonge, Austin, White, McCormack, Becchio
Subs: Ashdown, Kisnorbo, Brown, Gray, Varney (on for McCormack 6), Diouf (on for Drury 46), Poleon (on for Varney 83)
It's becoming slightly worrying that Leeds may be significantly below the level of the Championship's best teams. First Blackpool and now Cardiff have utterly dominated games and made Leeds look very average.
Against Cardiff, Neil Warnock had little choice to ask his men to defend for 90 minutes and hope for a counter-attacking goal. While Leeds defended well - to be expected under Warnock's tutelage - they didn't create a single meaningful chance on goal and were just waiting for Cardiff to break through.
Paddy Kenny's brilliance kept the score down to a respectable number. He made two or three very good saves at crucial times. 8
Lee Peltier had a decent game at right-back but will be remembered for missing our best chance. It was a difficult header but he should have hit the target. Otherwise he defended well. 6
Tom Lees was good for the majority of the game but gave away the penalty that killed the game. It was naive and showed his age, but Lees will learn. 6
Jason Pearce has been nothing short of immense so far. He put in another top performance. Absolutely nothing gets past him in the air. 8
Adam Drury at left-back had a solid game, neatly keeping possession on that flank. He came off at half-time with an injury which could interrupt a quietly impressive start to his Leeds career. 6
Michael Tonge made his debut as the deepest lying midfielder. He wasn't terrible by any means, but he looked very limited. He was busy and put himself about, but Tonge neither passed or tackled with any significant quality. 5
Rodolph Austin had slightly more freedom to get forward than usual. He was chasing shadows as Cardiff dominated possession but put in a few good tackles and generally had a decent game. He scored a good goal - although the keeper should have done better. 7
Sam Byram was picked on the right wing but endured a difficult day because Cardiff's dominance meant he couldn't get forward down his flank. He defended resolutely and got stuck in but despite his promise, his presence in the team underlines Warnock's lack of options. 6
Aidy White was down the left but continued his poor form. He's looked a different player this season and hasn't played well at all. He didn't get on the ball at all while in midfield, and didn't look much better at left-back in the second half. 5
Luke Varney came on after just a few minutes and had a very poor game. He originally played just behind the striker before reverting to the left wing but was equally ineffective. He didn't get on the ball and impact the play at all. He was subbed by Warnock and didn't look happy with himself - rightly so. 4
El Hadji Diouf came on for the second half and played behind the striker. The ball never got close to him though despite his best efforts to keep possession. He couldn't make the desired impact. 5
Luciano Becchio was forced to spend the match alone up-front as Cardiff kept the ball at the other end. He never stopped running or battling but didn't get a sniff of the goal. 5
Worryingly for Warnock, Ross McCormack will now be sidelined for a few weeks with injury. The manager has got to patch up his troops in the next couple of days before Tuesday's game against Hull.
Neil Warnock post match:
"I thought we deserved a point. But to lose Ross McCormack after three minutes was hard, he's our only Bellamy.
"Ross has twisted his ankle quite severely. I don't think there is any break, but we can't tell yet because of the swelling. I'd imagine he'll be out for a few weeks.
"It was a fantastic goal by Bellamy, but we were very disappointed with the free-kick that was given. Maynard is good at it. Michael Tonge pulled out of the tackle and he's gone down. The referee has given the free-kick. We should have had the wall better and were naive".