Leeds United 3 Reading 2: YEP Jury give their verdicts

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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s 3-2 victory over Reading.

GARY NEWBOULD

Chris Wood goes past Simon Cox to score Leeds United's winning goal.

Chris Wood goes past Simon Cox to score Leeds United's winning goal.

United registered back to back victories in the space of four days as they took all three points from Reading at Elland Road on Saturday afternoon.

Steve Evans made just once change to the team which started at St Andrew’s with Sol Bamba, a victim of the virus that has been sweeping the club during the week, being replaced by Giuseppe Bellusci.

Former manager Brian McDermott was afforded a thoroughly justified warm welcome on his return to Elland Road since becoming the first person to be relived from his duties under the current regime.

The opening exchanges were positive and a clear demonstration of two teams seemingly free from the shackles of promotion aspirations or relegation fears and the Royals’ stopper had to be alert to stop and early Mirco Antennuci opportunity and Reading’s Simon Cox was denied by the United custodian when presented with a one-on-one chance.

After a bright opening the game then descended in a turgid affair for the remainder of the half, far too reminiscent of so many others at LS11 this season and also bringing back plenty of memories of similar clashes between the two sides at Elland Road over the years.

Reading broke the deadlock just before half-time with Hector seizing on poor marking by the United defence and the Whites remained behind when the half-time whistle arrived.

Coach Evans must certainly have read the riot act at the interval as the home team came out looking like a different side and within three minutes they were back on level terms when Toumani Diagouraga headed home a fine cross from Bellusci.

The momentum certainly appeared to be with United and just after the hour mark the visitors’ custodian Ali Al-Habsi just failed to stop Chris Wood from putting the Whites ahead for the first time and it looked like Evans men may go on to record an even more emphatic victory.

However they had bargained without referee Jeremy Simpson and the linesman nearest the West Stand, who initially flagged for an infringement, changed his mind and was completely ignored by the man in the middle and sure enough the ensuing play led to a thoroughly undeserved equaliser from the visitors courtesy of Deniss Rakels with only nine minutes remaining.

The controversy surrounding the equaliser seemed to stir United even more and roared on by the loyal hordes who numbered in excess of 20,000 on a sunny but freezing Elland Road afternoon striker Wood helped himself to a second and decisive goal when he seized on a defensive mistake five minutes from time to secure the victory.

Man of the match: Luke Murphy.

KEITH INGHAM

On a day when the fans took to the streets to voice and show with their feet what they think of Massimo Cellino, Leeds won a thriller of a second half 3-2 to finally guarantee Championship football next season at Elland Road.

In one of the most forgettable first halves I can remember, Reading stumbled upon a lead after missing some golden chances earlier in the game, Michael Hector enjoying his celebration a little too much after his shot went past Marco Silvestri following a free-kick.

Maybe some harsh words were delivered in the Leeds dressing room because they finally got into the game through Toumani Diagouraga. Leeds, with Luke Murphy pulling the strings in midfield, looked the more likely to get the next goal, substitute Kalvin Phillips having a effort on goal blocked before Chris Wood scored the second goal. Leeds were on top but the Royals equalised through substitute Deniss Rakels, after Simon Cox’s effort had hit the bar and the honours looked like being shared but a mistake by Hector let in Wood for the winner

So Brian McDermott’s return was not a happy one and may I thank the superb fans around me for making the game such a laugh and there’s not been much of that this season. We moved up the heady placing of twelfth after the win.

Man of the match: Luke Murphy.

DAVID WATKINS

Well, most of the Jury called this one as a Leeds victory but I don’t think any of us thought it would be quite as tight as it was. As in most of our recent games Leeds played well in the middle third but in those crucial areas in both boxes this was another reminder of our shortcomings in defence and attack. You have to hand it to this group of players though, they do dig deep.

Going behind just before half-time was a body blow as we’d once again missed some decent chances to go in ahead ourselves but the early second half equaliser from Diagouraga gave us all a lift. Chris Wood’s headed goal should then have been enough for the points.

Not with Leeds though and more slack defending looked like gifting two of them away! Then, after all the chances Wood has missed this season, he found a finish to remind us that there is a striker in there somewhere! Leeds just don’t do easy do they but we are now safe in the Championship and we can nervously start to wonder what the summer will bring us.

Man of the match: Luke Murphy.

MATTHEW EVANS

This was a pointless game with next to no quality, masquerading as a thriller. It was the first time we’ve scored three goals at Elland Road this season and we’re in the middle of April.

If this had been a pre-season friendly in the heat of July it would have carried the same level of meaning for both sides just with a bit more hope.

The march before the game was a peaceful but powerful demonstration that United fans will not settle for the same season again in 2016/2017. On to Wolves tomorrow as we countdown the games until football gets meaningful again and Cellino inevitably pulls another ticket out of the head coach tombola.

Man of the match: Toumani Diagouraga.

STEPHEN CLARK

It’s been a while since Leeds fans were able to leave Elland Road as satisfied as we were on Saturday afternoon following a thrilling 3-2 win over Reading.

Not only was the result a positive one, the performance was on the whole was as good as we have seen in months, and there can be no complaints about the entertainment. For that, we have Reading centre-back Michael Hector to thank, whose goading of the crowd after opening the scoring came back to bite him on the behind as Leeds turned things around.

Chris Wood showed that if he is given the service, he will score goals. The only down side is that he needs lots of service as he is still capable of squandering chances.

The performance on the pitch was as good as that of the fans before the match, with the march organised by the Time To Go Massimo group showing that there is a growing feeling that changes need to be made in the ownership of the club. If that happens then hopefully afternoons like Saturday become the norm rather than the exception.

Man of the match: Chris Wood.

JAMES HARRISON

Finally some Elland Road excitement. It was great to see an enjoyable game with goals in it with Chris Wood scoring a double. It’s just a shame it is too late in the season but if we perform like that for our last games then we will finish on a high note.

Man of the match: Chris Wood.

Kemar Roofe heads in Leeds United's first goal at 
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