Our fans’ panel have their say on Leeds United’s 1-0 victory at Derby Coounty in the first leg of the Championship play-off semi-final on Saturday.
So far so good! That was a dominant performance restricting Derby to just seven goal attempts and ensuring none were on target while putting away one of our 12 attempts.
We had that all important rub of the green too when the assistant referee persuaded Craig Pawson to overturn his award of a penalty to the Rams late in the second half.
Had that stood and had Derby scored the penalty it would have put a completely different complexion on things although the initial decision to award the spot-kick looked harsh in the extreme.
As it is, we return to Elland Road on Wednesday a goal to the good and in the knowledge that another similarly dominant performance ought to be enough to see us through to Wembley.
I always thought the away leg of this contest was going to be the easier task and I’ve not changed my opinion, Leeds will need to be on top of their game again as they were on Saturday but the key thing is we can all still dream!
Man of the match: Luke Ayling.
Going into this game most things seemed to be going in Derby’s favour. Leeds’ absentee list, their poor form, Derby’s impressive form – it all pointed towards a tricky afternoon for the Whites.
However, Leeds brushed all those worries aside and produced a performance reminiscent of their two previous victories over the Rams.
The criticism of Frank Lampard in the previous two meetings was that he couldn’t adapt to United’s fluid style, and it was the same story here. The movement of Pablo Hernandez, Jack Harrison and Stuart Dallas was too much for his side.
All three had fine performances and combined well throughout the game. Harrison has taken a lot of stick this season but the ball for Kemar Roofe’s goal was a peach and will remind the fans just what he’s capable of.
As expected, the game was much closer than the two regular season games and it may well be the same on Wednesday night.
Just one last push is needed before the fans can really start dreaming.
Man of the match: Stuart Dallas.
Advantage Leeds! The 1-0 win at Pride Park was scant reward for the amount of possession the team enjoyed against a really disappointing Derby County team.
Once again they failed to finish off a team when they had them ‘by the throat’. That’s the only criticism I could level at United.
To his credit the referee kept the game flowing and the one time he could have made a decision to give Derby a penalty he, after consultation with his linesmen, waved away Derby appeals for it.
The winning goal was a beauty. Just before the hour Jack Harrison put a cross into the path of Kemar Roofe who buried the opportunity he was given.
For a team to dominate their opponents – away from home – speaks volumes of their fitness and commitment to the cause. It’s worth remembering that they did it minus a recognised left-back, Pontus Jansson, Tyler Roberts and they also had a substitutes’ bench full of kids! One of them, Jamie Shackleton excelled in midfield after coming on for injured Adam Forshaw.
They’ve only reached the ‘half-time’ break and still have a massive job to do on Wednesday in the second leg.
Any complacency will be punished by their opponents. If Leeds can get an early goal they can put this tie ‘to bed’ and be one step away from promotion.
Well done lads, a great performance.
Men of the match: Luke Ayling, Liam Cooper, Gaetano Berardi, Stuart Dallas. Leeds’ brick wall.
United were back to their irrepressible best and bossed this game from the beginning. Although Pontus Jansson was absent, Gaetano Berardi reminded us how he kept the Swede out earlier in the season by his solid performance and his speed in moving the ball out from the back. An early blow was suffered as Adam Forshaw had to withdraw with what looked like a hamstring injury.
However, the introduction of Jamie Shackleton seemed to energise the Whites. Stuart Dallas came close with a great effort which just cleared the bar but the game stayed tight until the final kick of the first half.
Pablo Hernandez was having a quiet time of it but Jack Harrison split the Derby defence with a Pabloesque assist which Kemar Roofe slotted home unerringly. This move started at the heart of the defence and was very easy on the eye. Leeds rode a penalty appeal near the end as Jack Harrison tangled with Jayden Bogle. After pointing to the spot, referee Craig Pawson consulted the linesman and overturned his decision. On to Elland Road.
Man of the match: Kemar Roofe.
Having watched Leeds dominate games only to be floored by a sucker punch it was nice to see them time wasting and scrapping it out on a 1-0 lead. The penalty? I’ve seen them given...and then overruled. A correct decision reached in the end.
There wasn’t a poor performance from anyone in a Leeds shirt and that says much for their resilience and makes a mockery of accusations of capitulation on the run-in.
Durable and determined, Leeds came away with the advantage with a bench comprised of teenagers.
At a time when Derby were in the ascendency eyes looked towards substitutions. Bring Adam Forshaw in was my thought, only to realise that he’d been removed, injured in the first knockings.
Leeds are a very good side. They are few goals short of being head and shoulders above the vast majority of this league. Kemar Roofe popped up to remind us that he is a finisher and that he had been missing, like so many of his team-mates for sustained chunks of this season.
Whatever happens in the second half of this tie, Leeds players can be proud of their efforts. There is still life in this dogged squad.
Man of the match: Stuart Dallas.
For 45 minutes this was a typical Leeds United display, well on top of the game and the opponent but without a goal to show for it.
Then, shortly after half-time, Jack Harrison and Stuart Dallas, two players who maybe wouldn’t have been in the side if the fans were left to pick it, combined to set up a glorious chance for Kemar Roofe that he took first time to put United in front.
Two other players who were never guaranteed to play were Gaetano Berardi and Jamie Shackleton, both of whom are on the relentless and tenacious arm of the United squad and who delivered in spades when their time came at Pride Park.
We’ve now shown over 270 minutes that we are comfortably better than Derby County and all that remains is the fear it could be undone in the remaining 90 at Elland Road in the cruellest of manners.
I wouldn’t rule anything out but if United turn up on Wednesday night with the same desire and the same attention to detail that they showed on Saturday then a Wembley final may be calling.
Man of the match: Kemar Roofe.