Remembering David Rocastle who sadly passed on this day in 2001 aged 33.
Reading v Leeds
Team News: Jansson absent from the 18 through injury (hamstring), Phillips returns to the bench after his two game suspension.
Team: Green, Berardi, Bartley, Cooper, Taylor, Bridcutt(c),Vieira, Sacko, Hernandez, Pedraza, Wood.
Leeds had the earliest opportunities, Kyle Bartley heading into the side netting and both Pablo Hernandez and Alfonso Pedraza missing the target when in great positions. It was a open game but when Reading had a chance they took it in style, the player (Kermorgant) who had been verbal in his criticism of Leeds' style of play profited on a poor clearance by Charlie Taylor and he slammed the ball past a despairing dive of Rob Green.
It could have been worse but Reading past up another opening when Green saved Leeds with a save, Kermogent was then unlucky when his shot struck a post and went clear. 1-0 at the break.
Leeds knew they had to impose themselves better in the second half than they had in the first half and they did a lot better without causing Al Habsi a lot of difficultly, although he nearly gifted a equaliser when letting a shot go through his hands, unlucky for Leeds it went into the side netting.
Doukara, Phillips and Roofe were introduced and despite the largest slice of possession it came to no avail, Reading stood firm to see out the game to win the game.
A few players had a off day and the fools throwing on bottles in the second half did little to enhance the club's reputation. Leeds sit fifth after the defeat whilst Reading move into fourth, Huddersfield's late home defeat did little to help their push for the top two places.
Yellow and white, the custard cream look.
Garry Monk: "We made too many mistakes, first half especially that led to their chances. You can't afford to do that, maybe if you make one two, you might get away with it but not if you make four or five. "We talked at half time and put them under pressure in the second half and kept them were they felt uncomfortable. It was a fantastic effort from us and if we had scored a equaliser not many would have begrudged us it."
Jaap Stam: About the bottle throwing; "If the opposition need to go for a win and their fans are throwing bottles on to the pitch, the referee needs to stop the game but not add extra minutes."
Strangely he thought that minutes should be taken off instead.
Andrew Butterwick's review of the first defeat in eight games
Thank you @MOTForever, superb blog.
Social Media's reaction to the defeat was mixed, most though agreed with Monk that the second half performance by Leeds warranted a point. Many, myself included thought that too many players in yellow and white (a strange combination) had a extremely poor first 45 minutes and there needs to be instant improvement at Brentford on Tuesday for 90 minutes not just 45!
Heidi Haigh looks back on a difficult start to her day out and a defeat at Reading.
Thanks Heidi, as always a great blog and a great read.
Garry Monk defends Liam Cooper over alleged stamping incident during the game with Reading, saying he's '100%' not that sort of player.
We've met before
Brentford 1 Leeds 1 Champ Jan 16
Brentford 2 Leeds Champ Sept 14
Brentford 0 Leeds 0 Leag 1 Dec 09
Brentford 2 Leeds 1 Leag 2 Oct 53
Brentford 3 Leeds 3 Leag 2 Apr 53
Leeds go to Griffin Park seeking to start another unbeaten run that would see them guarantee a top six place. It isn't the luckiest ground for Leeds, 1950 in League Division Two is the last time they won there.
Pontus Jansson is still a doubt with a hamstring injury picked up on international duty with Sweden, Liam Cooper will probably keep his place, Luke Ayling is available after serving a two game suspension.
Garry Monk may opt for a Bridcutt / Phillips in the midfield two with either Stuart Dallas or Kemar Roofe given the right side of the midfield three, although Pablo Hernandez frustrates many, but he still is a game-changer and I expect him to start. Pedraza or Doukara should start on the left with top scorer Chris Wood upfront, it has to be said that the midfield need to back up the striker more, as much of the game versus Reading he was battling their defence by himself.
I like to say we'll win but Brentford are playing well, they've won three out of their last five games and beat Bristol City 2-0 at the weekend.
Prediction: 2-2 draw.
Chris Wood wins the Player of the EFL Championship for the month of March.
Liam Cooper is charged with 'alleged violent conduct' by the FA for a incident at Reading on Saturday.
He faces a four game ban if found guilty of the offence.
Team News: Ayling, Jansson, Phillips, Barrow and Dallas replace Taylor, Cooper, Vieira, Sacko, and Pedraza.
Team: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Berardi, Bridcutt(c), Phillips, Barrow, Hernandez, Dallas, Wood.
Leeds' week got worse after Brentford inflicted a 2-0 defeat to further dent hopes of finishing in the top six. The host's deservedly won the game thanks to first half goals from Sawyers and Vibe, this after Leeds had started brightly but not causing the home keeper much trouble.
Luke Ayling had Leeds' best chance following up Kyle Bartley's blocked header. Brentford were quicker with their passing as Leeds were constantly chasing shadows with Bridcutt and Phillips sitting far too deep to give Chris Wood a sniff of even a half chance, the experiment of playing Mo Barrow for the first time backfired as the winger was unable to inspire anything on the right wing, Ayling was sometimes forced to defend against two players as Barrow steadfastly refused to help him in defence. 2-0 at the break.
Leeds came out for the second half in a determined way but as in the first period too many balls went astray and Brentford coped comfortably with the threat of Wood, who as usual was the focal point of most Leeds attacks. At the other end Robert Green did his job superbly to stop everything Brentford could throw at him, his double save being the highlight of his performance, the introduction of Doukara, Roofe or Pedraza couldn't stop Leeds slipping to their second defeat in four days.
Man of the Match: Rob Green, would have been four or five nil without him.
Garry Monk; "It's not often we've had to stand here with back to back defeats but I think in the first half we credit Brentford for their display. I've watched a lot of them this season that's the best first half displays I've seen from them, they made it difficult for us.
"It's disappointing, but it doesn't change our situation from where we were." He added "We've had eight games and now we've got another six, we'll be ready for those six games. No one would have thought we'd be in this position after the start of the season, so let's give credit to this group (of players), I have full trust in them."
Dean Smith: "We were very professional after the break, my players looked like a group of men. We showed composure, good movement and movement. All the boys were superb in the first half. I was very pleased with the saves Green had to make and the quality of the goals we scored."
Never forgotten: Chris and Kevin
Whenever we sing MOT we think of two boys who never came home.
Defender Liam Cooper hit with a six game ban for the incident at Reading last Saturday, club says the ban is "harsh and are disappointed" after Cooper failed to contest the offence. He is suspended until the last game of the regular season.
Garry Monk and Chris Wood nominated for EFL Championship manager and player of the month of March.
Garry Monk's look ahead to important game with Preston on Saturday: Denton out through injury, Cooper out suspended,"very harsh" and is disappointed with the length of the ban but Liam will continue to train hard within the group, Hadi Sacko being assessed for a ankle knock, disappointed with the last two results but staff and players are determined to end the run on Saturday.
He said; "You can never doubt our group, they have put Leeds back on the map this season and given everyone a team to be proud of"
Very determined to 'put on a performance' on Saturday, Simon Grayson has done a very good job at Preston and Leeds expect a tough game, on his contract: "You'd need to ask the club, I can't speak for them. I'm focused on football."
A Determined Monk.
Simon Grayson "...I can't drink red, I'm a Leeds fan.." Says it all!
We've met before
Leeds 1 Preston 0 Champ Dec 15
Leeds 4 Preston 6 Champ Sept 10
Leeds 2 Preston 1 Champ Mar 07
Leeds 1 Preston 1 Champ (Play Offs) May 05
Leeds 0 Preston 0 Champ Nov 05
This weekend brings home a few of the 'Heroes of 2009/10', Simon Grayson and Jermaine Beckford will always be revered for their efforts during that Promotion season but that will be put aside as Leeds try to behind them a disappointing seven days, beaten by Reading and Brentford in successive away games will hope that a return to fortress Elland Road will once again secure wheels that have been threatening to come of the playoff wagon.
Leeds to be honest haven't played well for 90 minutes for a few games, apart from Brighton and that needs to change and quick. Too many players have had 'off days' and now isn't the time for that to happen.
Garry Monk must decide if he has to freshen up the squad again, a thing if you read my blogs I've been against, even in the good runs we've had this season. Only a couple of times has he left the same eleven on duty in successive games.
That saying I think the way Leeds set up is know well known so there needs to be a slight alteration, Kemar Roofe scored for 'fun' even though he was at a lower league club and I'd give him the 'number 10' role but pushed up more advanced to support Chris Wood, the New Zealand has been starved of support recently and the inclusion of Roofe gives at least another player for opposition defenders to watch out for.
It's a tough game against a team in form but I'm confident we can get the three points. Leeds 2-0.
A disappointing week, but in saying that the way the team has got to the position it is has to be applauded but they must not rest on their laurels as Fulham, Sheffield and Preston are waiting in the wings to pinch a playoff place. A win over Preston would settle a few nerves and if we win our home games and maybe pick up another draw that should be enough to get their noses over the line.
Come on you Whites! BE BRAVE.
By Keith Ingham
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