Leeds United 3 Watford 3: YEP jury verdict

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The YEP jury provide their verdict on Leeds United’s 3-3 draw with Watford at Elland Road.

STEPHEN CLARK

Mixed emotions were Brian McDermott’s words on the 3-3 draw against Watford at Elland Road on Saturday, and it sums up perfectly the feelings of many Leeds United supporters after a roller coaster afternoon.

Leeds made one change from the side which beat Wigan Athletic on Wednesday night with Sam Byram returning to the line-up in place of Tom Lees, with Lee Peltier shifting infield into one of the centre-back positions.

The Whites set off on the front foot and looked to dominate proceedings with Watford seemingly happy to sit back and hit us on the break.

It was a tactic that worked perfectly with Troy Deeney putting the Hornets ahead on 12 minutes after good work by Lewis McGugan.

Leeds were not disheartened and continued to drive forward but were wasteful in front of goal and were punished right on half-time when Cristian Battocchio squeezed the ball past Paddy Kenny to double Watford’s lead.

At half-time, any Leeds fan would have taken a point had it been offered, but the second-half performance saw the Whites disappointed to not get all three.

Roared on by a passionate crowd Leeds tore at the opposition with Matt Smith twice going close in the opening moments.

It took just five minutes for the Whites to get back in the game, Danny Pugh atoning for his horrific miss last week by firing home at the near post.

Six minutes later the sides were all-square with Matt Smith powering home a header from a Ross McCormack cross.

And it was the player of the month for November who lifted the roof off Elland Road when he latched onto a Luke Murphy pass to poke the ball past the keeper and put Leeds in front.

However, Deeney popped up again in the closing minutes to tap home a rebound after Paddy Kenny could only paw away a shot by George Thorne to give the Hornets a share of the points.

There was a feeling of deflation at the final whistle, but the fans should take heart from a scintillating performance.

If Leeds continue to produce attacking displays like this, then there will certainly be more highs than lows in the weeks to come.

Man of the match: Luke Murphy.

KEITH INGHAM

Leeds’ run of consecutive home victories was stopped by a impressive Watford side as the teams shared six goals in a thriller at Elland Road.

Leeds started well with Ross McCormack, Matt Smith and Marius Zaliukas going close and at the other end Paddy Kenny stopped Ikechi Anya but could do nothing when Lewis McGugan waltzed through the defence to set up Troy Deeney who finished well. With the first half almost over, Cristian Battocchio scored via the post.

Whatever was said at half-time had the desired effect as Leeds went on the attack with Smith having another two chances but both went begging. Finally they got back into the game with a great volley from Danny Pugh at the far post and within six minutes they were level when McCormack’s cross was met superbly by Smith. Alex Mowatt, still searching for his first goal, then had an effort deflected on to the bar, while McCormack had a ‘goal’ disallowed for offside after a Smith knock down but the Scottish striker was on target when he latched on to a beautiful Luke Murphy pass to coolly beat Jonathan Bond. Watford came back when George Thorne’s long range effort, although saved, fell to Deeney who gleefully hit it home on 86 minutes. Watford could have pinched it but for a fantastic block by man-of-the-match Zaliukas. What a great game of football!

Man of the match: Marius Zaliukas.

JONATHAN FORD

At 2-0 down at half-time, you’d be happy with 3-3, but the 15 minutes just after the break were the best we have played this season. I’m gutted not to win after being 3-2 up. Ross McCormack was outstanding but my man of the match was Danny Pugh, he was brilliant.

Man of the match: Danny Pugh.

ELLIOT BRANSBY

It was probably the best game I’ve seen at Elland Road for a long time.

At half-time I would have definitely taken a point after being 2-0 down but thanks to the increased tempo in the second half and our improved all round performance, it almost felt like a defeat. The second half was a revelation and I don’t know what the team talk was at half-time but it worked wonders and immediately we were on the front foot, everything was done at pace and all the goals were quality especially the third one.

If we keep playing like we did in the second half we’ll not have many problems for the rest of the season!

Man of the match: Luke Murphy.

GARY NEWBOULD

Two points dropped or a point gained was the question 23,445 people were asking after a six-goal thriller at Elland Road?

The match had everything and the visitors nearly snatched all the spoils with the last kick of the match.

Man of the match: Marius Zaliukas.

MICHAEL HEMSWORTH

As frustrating as it is to concede a late equaliser, we have to class this as a point gained.

The first half wasn’t as bad as the scoreline suggested, but at half-time most inside Elland Road thought a defeat was inevitable.

Not Brian McDermott. He deserves huge credit for the way he sent his side out after the break. We dominated straight from kick-off and created a string of chances.

We should have been 4-2 up before Troy Deeney snatched the equaliser.

It would have been a heartbreaking defeat had it not been for Marius Zaliukas’ wonder tackle in the dying seconds.

Man of the match: Luke Murphy.

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