Leeds United 1 Brentford 0: YEP Jury verdicts

Luke Ayling fires in a shot.
Luke Ayling fires in a shot.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s dramatic 1-0 victory over Brentford.

MIKE GILL

Brentford clearly came to Elland Road looking for a point and very nearly achieved their limited ambition. The first half passed almost without incident and a disgruntled fan was heard to shout ‘Come on Reading’ such was the dourness of the play.

The second half continued in the same turgid vein only relieved by shots from Luke Ayling. When Soulemayne Doukara broke away and tapped the ball wide with only the keeper to beat, the game seemed set to be that rarest and most unwelcome of results at Elland Road – a goalless draw. However as we have witnessed so often this season this team does not give in easily

Hadi Sacko and Ayling were a persistent threat down the right and when Sacko went around his man yet again, he passed the ball to Dallas who sent an inswinging cross towards the six-yard box where the excellent Kyle Bartley rose to head the ball home on 89 minutes.

Elland Road erupted and the awful first half was forgotten. Brentford were left to rue the time that they had been wasting and John Egan’s effort in the 94th minute clipped the bar but by then it was obvious that Brentford were not going to take anything from this.

The final whistle was blown shortly afterwards to the great relief of all but the few bemused Brentford fans.

Ayling had an immense game both in attack and defence. Pontus Jansson put his usual gritty performance in. Charlie Taylor also worked away before his substitution but the gold star must go to Bartley who is an inspirational leader whether he is wearing the captain’s armband or not

Garry Monk has built a squad who won’t take no for an answer. Watching them at the end of the game it is obvious that they are enjoying every minute of this journey which got off to such an unpromising start. He has gone about his task quietly and modestly but with an almost frightening focus and sense of purpose.

He trusts his own judgement and never sacrifices principle for convenience. He breeds confidence in his back room staff as well as the players.

If the loanees and Jansson can be secured and with some sensible investment in the January transfer window then we have every reason to look forwards with confidence to a play-off place as a minimum.

Man of the match: Kyle Bartley.

KEITH INGHAM

Not for the first time Leeds won ‘scruffy’ but if you look at most successful teams they all do this in some parts of their seasons.

This without doubt was down to old fashioned hard work and keeping going to the the very end of the game. The 1-0 win put Leeds fifth in the Championship.

In a largely forgettable first half, Brentford’s top scorer Scott Hogan had a effort that brought the best out of Rob Green, for Leeds, Hadi Sacko engineered a chance for Stuart Dallas but his effort went over. With half-time approaching, Brentford were denied the lead by the linesman’s flag. The decision was the correct one as Hogan was clearly offside.

The second half brought a little more action than the first, Hogan theatrically went down in the area but his pleas fell on deaf referee ears. John Egan should have put the visitors ahead, but his effort went wide. Luke Ayling and Souley Doukara both missed good chances. With time nearly up it was left to ‘captain fantastic’ Kyle Bartley to head home from a Dallas cross. Brentford so nearly equalised in injury time but Egan’s effort hit the bar and went over.

Two wins out of two is superb, even though both performances versus Reading or Brentford weren’t the best.

Merry Christmas to all of you.

Man of the match: Kyle Bartley.

DAVID WATKINS
This now has the feel of a promotion push. It was another game in which there was little between the two sides but one in which Leeds got stronger as the game went on, creating the better chances and ultimately sticking one away.

It didn’t look as if it was going that way as we squandered a few chances with some less than clinical finishing but we kept plugging away. The fans got more demanding with a chant of “attack, attack” as they sensed a breakthrough and as so often this season we grabbed the points with a late strike; a fine header from Captain Cool, Kyle Bartley.

When the chips are down we are rising to the challenge, there is spirit a plenty in the squad and we are getting the rub of the green. Brentford are convinced the offside decision that ruled out Hogan’s effort was wrong for example. And we are doing all this with a depleted XI; the return of Hernandez will be like a new signing, so long has he been missing. Fasten those seatbelts folks; this may well be some ride.

Man of the match: Kyle Bartley.

GARY NEWBOULD

When you’ve waited almost 63 years to get a league victory over someone it would be churlish to worry too much about the performance and timing of the winning goal.

It wasn’t the best performance, but it was a display full of guts, determination and full commitment and the sort of result that often gets you over the line come May.

The game was settled by a Kyle Bartley header from a Stuart Dallas cross on 89 minutes to bring an early Christmas present to the loyal horses who numbered in excess of 25,000.

Mr Cellino, you now have the opportunity, as they say in Italy “carpe diem”.

Man of the match: Kyle Bartley.

MATTHEW EVANS

It wasn’t much of a spectacle but there was a sense of anticipation at Elland Road and, when Kyle Bartley appeared from nowhere to head a late winner, there was delight but no surprise.

After weeks of playing on the back foot, trying to match the opposition and grab a goal, the impetus was now on United to dictate the game and we struggled without O’Kane, Bridcutt, Hernandez and Wood in the starting line up.

However, the hard work and quality of our defensive play meant that we were always in the game and, ultimately, we deserved the points. Bartley was faultless in defence and ended up being the match winner so just pips Luke Ayling for man of the match.

Man of the match: Kyle Bartley.

STEPHEN CLARK

Leeds United underlined thier promotion credentials by digging out a result against Brentford, despite performing well below par.

Kyle Bartley was immense in defence and once again popped up with a crucial goal, his late header lifting the roof off Elland Road.

Despite Leeds lacking a cutting edge without Chris Wood, such is the confidence I now have in this team, I never doubted our ability to get the result. More importantly, neither did the team and that self belief is the hallmark of a promotion-chasing team. I can’t wait to see this club take off in 2017. Merry Christmas to you all. I have a feeling it is going to be a very happy new year.

Man of the match: Kyle Bartley.

CHIN UP: Stuart Dallas consoles Pablo Hernandez after missing a late penalty in the 1-0 defeat to Reading at Elland Road on Saturday. Picture: Tony Johnson.

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