The YEP jury give their verdict on Leeds United’s 2-1 home defeat against Doncaster on Saturday.
Brian McDermott made just one change to the starting line up from Tuesday’s South Coast debacle – but his attempts to allow the players to redeem themselves backfired massively.
The first 45 minutes were absolutely diabolical.
No pride, no passion, a simply gutless performance. Doncaster coasted into a 2-0 lead with goals from David Cotterill and Billy Sharp.
Although with the way Paul Dickov was constantly chirping in the fourth official’s ear you would have been forgiven for thinking that it was his side trailing at the break.
At half-time, McDermott finally made the call to remove Rodolph Austin from the field. He should have been dropped after the shambles at Hillsborough in January but as they say, better late than never.
He was hauled off along with midfield partner Luke Murphy to be replaced with Michael Tonge and Aidy White.
Two players who have made little impact this season then went on to transform the game.
White’s pace was a constant threat, his surging runs immediately after break excited the crowd and lifted the atmosphere.
We do not ask for much as Leeds fans, just some effort and passion from the players; White showed that in abundance.
Tonge grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and suddenly Leeds were dominant in midfield.
His 45-minute cameo was one of the best central midfield displays we have witnessed in a Leeds shirt all season. We have seen this before from Tonge though, one good display followed by a series of mediocre ones.
Let’s hope he can carry this form into Tuesday’s game against Charlton and beyond.
Ross McCormack pulled one back and it seemed for a while we may see a similar comeback to the last match against Doncaster at Elland Road. There was no dramatic finish this time though.
McCormack blazed a chance high over the bar and Matt Smith was off target with a header late on.
Had Sam Johnstone been punished for his constant time wasting with the second yellow card that he deserved then it may have been a different story.
In reality, we did not create enough in the second half and Doncaster just about deserved victory.
Yet again it was left to McDermott to field questions about the takeover saga in his post match interview, while GFH refuse to talk to the media.
In a rare show of competency from the Football League, it seems a decision on Cellino’s appeal is imminent. If he is given the green light then at least we will finally have some boardroom leadership. If, as I expect, his appeal fails, we can only hope Mike Farnan’s group have got deep pockets and are ready to empty them quickly.
Man of the match: Michael Tonge
A forgettable week in the life of Leeds’ fans got worse when relegation threatened Doncaster Rovers won 2-1 despite another fight back.
The first half was absolutely terrible from a Leeds point of view, so I won’t dwell on it. The performance of the team in the white shirts was a total disgrace. Wages or not, the fans deserve a team to at least battle.
Leeds replaced the ineffectual midfield due of Rudy Austin and Luke Murphy with Michael Tonge and Aidy White at half-time. With the substitutes well involved, United improved and Ross McCormack got a goal back, but Doncaster held on.
Three wins in nearly half a season is testament to a poor performance by the manager and his team and I think the only reason Brian McDermott is still in charge is because the club cannot afford to sack him! I feel his failure to use the squad when results have been poor is the main reason why the club, on the pitch is a total disaster. He needs to go now!
The circus moves on to London today with the Cellino appeal and hopefully a result will happen to stop the club imploding. On Tuesday, Charlton visit the Theatre of Tears. A welcome return for Andy Hughes. How Leeds fans wish they had a player, McCormack apart, who gave his all for the fans. It’s hard to watch and write being a Leeds fan at the moment.
Man of the match: Ross McCormack never, ever gave up.
On Friday United’s players received 50 per cent of their wages and this performance duly reflected this rate of pay.
An appalling first half saw the introduction of Michael Tonge and Aidy White and Leeds were a different team who could have rescued a draw.
Man of the Half: Substitute Michael Tonge.
Well, it was another defeat for a club struggling on all fronts at the moment.
It was much better than Tuesday, but Doncaster are not a great team, we are just worse. First half was like Groundhog Day in terms of conceding but in second half we showed fight and I thought we deserved more.
Man of match: Jason Pearce
In the reverse fixture just before the Christmas period we were in and around the top six but what has happened since is frightening and after another worrying defeat we continue to slip nearer the relegation zone.
At half-time, to Brian McDermott’s credit, he replaced the awful, ineffective midfield pairing of Rudy Austin and Luke Murphy for Michael Tonge and Aidy White.
It was a much better second-half performance but all the damage had been done in the opening 45 minutes.
We now await the outcome of Massimo Cellino’s appeal which will be heard today.
Man of the match: McCormack or Tonge second half
The Leeds United players may have only received 50 per cent of their wages, but that does not allow them the excuse to only put in half a performance.
The first half display was simply not good enough.
To not mark players or put tackles in, is inexcusable at any level.
Yet that is what Leeds were guilty of for both of Doncaster’s goals at Elland Road.
The second half was a little better and should the club fall into administration this week, there was little evidence that this team will be capable of surviving a Championship relegation battle.
Man of the match: Matt Smith