Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s 1-0 victory over Bristol City.
After two successive defeats on the their travels United returned to LS11 to take on Bristol City with a rare 3pm Saturday kick-off. John Pemberton was in temporary charge of the Robins following the recent sacking of Steve Cotterill and the former Leeds man was looking to build on last week’s toppling of Middlesbrough at Ashton Gate.
At kick-off the visitors occupied the final Championship relegation place and stood just eight points worse off than United so a home defeat would drag the Whites well and truly into the melting pot for the remainder of the season.
Despite the two latest reversals coach Steve Evans named an unchanged line-up from the game at Hillsborough with leading scorer Chris Wood deemed to be fit enough to take one of the substitute berths.
The game started at a pedestrian pace, which was matched by a very flat atmosphere, bordering on tetchy following last week’s sale of Sam Byram to West Ham United. Liam Bridcutt in particular looked totally out of sorts and a shadow of the player who has stood out so much over recent weeks.
United seemed to lack ideas and impetus very early on and it was definitely the visitors who started the brighter, with the pace of Kodijia causing some serious concerns amongst the United back line. Indeed the visitors’ custodian O’Donnell could quite easily have had a good stab at The Times crossword given his lack of activity, until just before half-time when United made a rare foray towards the visitors’ goal.
Nathan Baker certainly showed some commitment – reminiscent of his manager John Pemberton in his United days – and was lucky to remain on the pitch after several clumsy challenges. Half-time arrived with a crescendo of disappointment amongst the loyal hordes who contributed all bar a meagre 641 Bristolians, in a crowd of 20,441.
No doubt the decorators will once again be in this week to paint over the home dressing room walls after coach Evans will have demanded a significant improvement on the first 45 minutes. Just nine minutes into the second period saw the introduction of Chris Wood and it took the big man just five minutes to cause enough confusion in the box to allow Soulemeyne Doukara to continue his rich vein of form and score with United’s first shot on target.
The remaining half-hour saw the usual scares and scrapes, but from an eminently forgettable game United somehow contrived to pick up three vital three points and clean sheet. What would we have given for that around three months ago? – funny old game football!
Man of the match: Charlie Taylor.
KEITH INGHAM Leeds got the win they needed after back-to-back defeats; the 1-0 win was secured thanks to a second-half Souleymane Doukara goal.
Steve Evans kept the same 11 that played the previous weekend, plus Chris Wood on the bench. The decision to keep the team unchanged upset a few of the ‘keyboard warriors’ on social media.
The first half was really disappointing. Endeavour is no substitute for skill. In fact, it was Bristol who nearly broke the ‘dreadlock’ but Marco Silvestri saved. 0-0 at the break and a few boos ringing in the players’ ears.
In the second half, Leeds started brighter and Bristol were on the back foot but defended well. Evans changed things just minutes into the second half when Wood was introduced from the bench, and within minutes Leeds were in front. Stuart Dallas’ ball wasn’t dealt with and the ball fell to Doukara who hit his third in four games. Flint should have levelled late on but his header went woefully wide.
Leeds will hopefully finalise the signing of Toumani Diagouraga in the next day or two. The midfielder was Brentford fans’ player of the year in 2015/16. Tuesday sees Leeds travel to his former club and a better display than the last two away trips will be needed to get the three points.
Man of the match: Stuart Dallas.
We won the game and that was the main thing. To have lost to another side languishing in the bottom three at this stage of the season would have reignited fears of relegation and I’m not sure we are strong enough to survive yet another challenge this season.
So, the result was everything, which is a good job as the performance was woeful. The first half was forgettable apart from half a dozen close shaves as Bristol pressed the kop end.
One moment of quality in the second half won the game as Dallas found Wood and he cushioned the ball to Doukara who was on it in a flash – our sole shot on target. We have to find some inspiration from somewhere or the next four months will be very tedious!
Man of the match: Stuart Dallas.
Leeds took all three points but that is as about as positive as I can be after an afternoon of mind-numbing tedium at Elland Road.
Doukara’s goal failed to even get me out of my seat as I had been lulled into a comatose state by as bad as a first-half performance as I have seen in all the years I have watched the team.
Leeds were a little better for the first 10 minutes of the second period, but this is not a match that will be stored in the memory bank. Like most of the last three years, I will be happy to forget all about it.
Man of the Match: Luke Murphy.
Like many of our recent outings, this game won’t be winning any prizes for entertainment. The moans and groans at Elland Road on Saturday were the sound of 20,000 people who’d rather be elsewhere.
United are well adrift of the play-offs and struggling to break down teams like Bristol City at home doesn’t point to us making up any lost ground. That said, we instantly looked better once Chris Wood made his return from the bench and it’s clear that you’ll get more out of Souleymane Doukara if he’s part of a front two. It’s far too early in the season to give up; Berardi’s eventual return will be a boost and Evans is still adding to his squad. Let’s hope for a cup run at the very least.
Man of the match: Liam Cooper.
At this stage results are all that matter. It wasn’t a great game and Bristol will feel unlucky not to have come away with anything, but we took our chance. Doukara took the goal very well and Chris Wood showed what we have been missing.
Man of the match: Giuseppe Bellusci.