Leeds United v Notts Forest: YEP Jury give their verdicts

Leeds United's Gaetano Berardi.
Leeds United's Gaetano Berardi.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s goalless draw with Nottingham Forest.

GARY NEWBOULD

United and Forest failed to register a goal between them on Saturday afternoon at an overcast Elland Road.

Fresh from their victory at Wigan the previous week manager Neil Redfearn named an unchanged starting line-up with fit-again Liam Cooper taking his place on the bench alongside the also recovered Casper Sloth.

The home side settled the better with the youthful triumvirate of Alex Mowatt, Lewis Cook and Charlie Taylor, assisted by the once-again highly industrious Luke Murphy at the heart of most of United’s creativity. As early as the 10th minute a kind deflection from a Luke Murphy effort broke to Taylor and the defender-cum-midfielder would feel disappointed that he allowed the Forest keeper Karl Darlow to make a smart save, thereby denying him opening his account in a White shirt.

Towards the end of the half Forest began to show some increased adventure through perennial United target Chris Burke as well as the speedy Michail Antonio who provided a stiff challenge for Scott Wootton for the majority of the afternoon. Prior to half-time the penalty embargo once again remained in place as Lewis Cook looked to have a credible case for a spot kick turned down.

Forest came more into the game in the second half as United seemed to lose the midfield battle in a very similar way to the Watford fixture some two weeks prior. However unlike the visit of the Hornets, the Whites retained much greater defensive composure to keep the lively pair of Burke and Antonio at bay. In an effort to break the deadlock Redfearn introduced Mirco Antenucci and Soulemayne Doukara with the former in particular showing some good touches.

At times it seemed the referee was determined not to let the football get in the way of his refereeing; both managers seemed equally perplexed at the man in the middle’s decision-making.

Four minutes of injury time could still not break the deadlock for a crowd of 30,722, the biggest so far this season at LS11. So, a first draw in 11 games for United seemed a fair result in a game between two sides that are too good to be relegated but also not good enough for the play-offs and destined to re-commence hostilities once again next season.

Man of the match: Luke Murphy.

KEITH INGHAM

Leeds fought out a 0-0 draw for the first time at home since October 1, 2014 against Reading.

Although it was scoreless it was a good game for the near-31,000 fans – the highest attendance at Elland Road in 2015.

Neil Redfearn stuck with the same side that beat Wigan 1-0, with Berardi at left-back and Morison on the right-hand side of midfield. Another of the promising under-21 side Kalvin Phillips made an attacking looking substitutes’ bench.

Leeds looked lively and should have been in front as early as the 10th minute.

Osborn had Forest’s first shot but Silvestri saved easily. Antonio was giving the Leeds defence plenty to think about but they stuck to the challenge and prevailed.

Early in the second half Billy Sharp so nearly got on the end of a Morison flick-on but as he was about to shoot the Forest defenders barred his way.

The goalless Morison was replaced by Antenucci as Leeds sought the winner, but it was Forest who nearly grabbed the lead through Chris Burke, he was denied by a superb save from Silvestri. Leeds went 4-3-3 when Doukara replaced Charlie Taylor but the Forest rearguard stood firm and the game ended scoreless – a fair result.

On Wednesday, Leeds travel to face a Fulham team – including ex-United stars Ross McCormack and Matt Smith – still not guaranteed Championship football next season.

Man of the match: Lewis Cook and Marco Silvestri.

STEPHEN CLARK

Two very evenly-matched sides fought out a goalless draw on Saturday, the shame being that Leeds United’s horrible start to the season meant that a well earned point will prove to be ultimately pointless.

Leeds had the better of the first half, the youthful verve of Alex Mowatt and the incredible talent of Lewis Cook driving the Whites forward, but Forest took a grip in the second period, without threatening Marco Silvestri’s goal on too many occasions.

The draw may end Forest’s play-off hopes, but for Leeds it just continues the impressive run of recent weeks. Trips to Fulham and Blackpool over the next seven days offer opportunities to continue to build momentum for next season.

Man of the match: Lewis Cook.

MATTHEW EVANS

Arguably the biggest fixture outside of the Premier League ended in a stalemate after a host of half chances and a string of bizarre refereeing decisions.

It was a fair result for both teams in the end and another very solid performance for the United defence and midfield. The last 11 games have shown us that a new and incisive front line could create a formidable force at Elland Road.

Lewis Cook and Alex Mowatt had another great game and Sol Bamba was superb in the defence. Luke Murphy was the United star man though with another impressive showing.

Man of the match: Luke Murphy.

JAMES HARRISON

It was a fair result on Saturday. We slightly edged the first half and they controlled the second half.

There weren’t many chances for either side but they probably had more goalscoring opportunities.

We didn’t play well at all but could still have won against an in-form Forest side.

Before Christmas, we would have lost that game; we showed a lot of resilience to keep a clean sheet and that shows how far we have come.

Our midfield was poor and that has been where all the creativity and goals have come from in previous weeks.

Charlie Taylor should have scored in the first half and Mirco Antenucci was unlucky not to score late on!

Man of the match: Gaetano Berardi.

JONATHAN FORD

This was a game that promised much more, but neither team deserved to win or lose it in the end.

We looked good in patches but never really did too much in the final third.

On to Wednesday and a trip to a Fulham team who I genuinely feel we could get something against.

Man of the match: Gaetano Berardi.

Chris Wood controls a high ball against Fulham at Elland Road on Tuesday night. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

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