Leeds United: Our YEP give their verdicts

Sam Byram.
Sam Byram.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s 1-1 draw with Burnley.

STEPHEN CLARK

On so many levels, Saturday was almost the perfect opening day of the football season. A gloriously sunny afternoon, a packed stadium with a cracking atmosphere, a decent game of football and a stunning goal to top off the occasion.

Unfortunately, it was only almost perfect. The 12.30pm kick-off rankles with a lot of fans, the stadium although well populated was only three-quarters full and after scoring a glorious goal, Leeds conceded an incredibly sloppy one to give up the victory they had worked so hard for.

It was maybe that all that hard work had dulled the concentration levels a little bit. Chris Wood did more than put a shift in up front, but when chances fell to him he snatched at them, so eager was he to feed on the scraps he was being fed.

Stuart Dallas was impressive on debut, but we never really got to see him run at a defender. Mirco Antenucci who replaced him did that, and produced a sublime curling goal with seven minutes remaining that took the roof off Elland Road.

Tired bodies and tired minds contributed to Burnley’s equaliser just moments later. George Boyd some how managed to wriggle past Lewis Cook and Alex Mowatt on the right touchline and he produced a superb cross which was headed home by former Leeds loanee Sam Vokes to spoil the party.

All in all it was a decent performance by Uwe Rosler’s men against a side tipped to be in the promotion race.

For large parts of the game we were the better side in attack and for the most part defended well.

The mood leaving the stadium was perhaps not the unbridled optimism that was felt going in, but one of realism. We are almost ready to contend for the top six. But only almost.

Man of the match: Sam Byram.

KEITH INGHAM

Leeds United started the 2015/16 season with a spirited 1-1 draw with relegated Burnley.

A near 28,000 crowd saw Leeds put their visitors on the back foot as Alex Mowatt, Lewis Cook and Chris Wood dominated the early exchanges. It was a intriguing contest as Burnley fought to combat a rampant Leeds side. After a great ball across the Burnley box, the ball fell to debutant Stuart Dallas but his shot was superbly saved by Burnley’s keeper Tom Heaton who pushed the ball onto the bar and it bounced to safety.

The second half gave Burnley more hope as their midfield dominated and with the game entering its later stages both managers made changes and one of them scored the opening goal and how! The ball found Mirco Antenucci and after a shimmy he beat a Burnley defender then smashed the ball past Heaton. It was a stunning strike. Most fans, myself included thought that was enough to win the game but Burnley within minutes claimed a equaliser when Sam Vokes beat Giuseppi Bellusci in the air to head the equaliser.

I thought Leeds would win and on balance of play and chances they should have but a draw wasn’t a bad result against a relegated Premiership team in a really good end to end game. Leeds, believe me, will play worse and win.

Man of the match: Sol Bamba.

MATTHEW EVANS

It was a good showing with plenty to be pleased about and some glimpses of promise once the team gets up to speed.

Stuart Dallas made an immediate impact and Chris Wood used his extra mobility to improve on the Steve Morison role of last year. Mirco Antenucci’s goal deserved to win the game but concentration lapsed and Burnley’s equaliser was probably fair. Hopefully it’s a one-off and won’t become our calling card this season.

The homegrown players are improving all the time and some of the play between Alex Mowatt, Sam Byram and Lewis Cook seemed telepathic. The stand-out performance, however, was Sol Bamba who ran the show from the centre of defence.

Man of the match: Sol Bamba.

GARY NEWBOULD

A high quality game ebbed and flowed and it looked like United had secured the three points seven minutes from time through an excellent strike from Mirco Antenucci. However former United loanee Sam Vokes rescued a point for the visitors to leave honours even.

Man of match: Sam Byram.

DAVID WATKINS

This game had all the hallmarks of a typical Leeds United scenario; dominant performance and late goal giving us a few moments of joy anticipating three points before suffering the despair of conceding an equaliser even later.

Lots of positives though and we more than matched a side which will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season. The whole side played well and my only criticism was we ought to have converted more of the chances we created; Wood perhaps most guilty.

Disappointing to again concede a headed goal in our six-yard box too; it’s been our Achilles’ heel for years. Overall though, a solid start.

Man of the match: Sol Bamba.

JAMES HARRISON

A point would have been a great result before the game, but with the amount of chances we created, it is really disappointing we didn’t get three. Chris Wood, Stuart Dallas and Sam Byram look a troublesome trio for the future, while Mirco Antenucci proved his class with the goal.

Man of Match: Sam Byram.

FORMER FAN: Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy. Picture: Simon Hulme

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