Leeds United's new hero becomes QPR pet hate as Whites learn fresh lesson - Graham Smyth's Verdict

The work that goes into becoming a Leeds United Elland Road hero is anything but easy yet the ultimate equation is a relatively straightforward one.
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Score goals, create goals or prevent them and as long as the necessary effort is being applied while you do one of those things, then your name will ring out from the stands at some point.

Ethan Ampadu is a fine example. He prevents goals, he works hard and 'Ampadu du du' fills the air to the tune of Black Lace's Agadoo.

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Georginio Rutter is another. The young Frenchman has overcome a pretty torrid start to life at Elland Road to burrow deep into the collective Leeds United affection. His work to hold up the ball ticks a box and so too does the skill he displays on the ball, but scoring or creating goals is a clincher. Fans love flicks and tricks. They adore end product.

Rutter's last seven games have produced two goals and three assists, which is a fine return for a 21-year-old player still getting to grips with the English game in a team full of players still getting to know one another.

Against Queens Park Rangers Rutter looked up for it from the start. His somewhat ungainly movement makes him an unpredictable problem for midfielders and defenders alike. No one enjoys marking an unpredictable problem. Rutter’s mobility allows him to be a problem in any number of areas, be it in his own half or close to the byline. His big frame is what helps him to hold the ball up before linking up with team-mates and helping Leeds to advance up the pitch or find space.

QPR defender Osman Kakay was once asked in an interview for his pet hate and replied that he didn't have a pet. But if he did have one, a pet hate that is, it might be the sight of Rutter, or any of the white shirted players on that left flank on Wednesday evening.

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Within 10 minutes of the start Leeds were ahead, Sam Byram forcing a mistake and quickly abandoning his claims for a throw-in as a Leeds attack developed. Kakay had jumped up to cover full debutant Jaidon Anthony and Rutter was off into space. A few step overs and a shot felt likely but the beautifully weighted pass into the run of Crysencio Summerville felt perfect and the Dutchman's first touch was as good as the finish that followed.

UNPREDICTABLE PROBLEM - Leeds United forward Georginio Rutter fend off QPR's Jake Clarke-Salter in a 1-0 win for the Whites at Elland Road. Pic: Tony JohnsonUNPREDICTABLE PROBLEM - Leeds United forward Georginio Rutter fend off QPR's Jake Clarke-Salter in a 1-0 win for the Whites at Elland Road. Pic: Tony Johnson
UNPREDICTABLE PROBLEM - Leeds United forward Georginio Rutter fend off QPR's Jake Clarke-Salter in a 1-0 win for the Whites at Elland Road. Pic: Tony Johnson

Anthony was one of four largely predictable changes as Daniel Farke left out the injured Jamie Shackleton and dropped Liam Cooper, Glen Kamara and Daniel James to the bench.

In came Anthony, Luke Ayling, Archie Gray and Joe Rodon, who is quickly developing popularity at Elland Road for preventing goals and should have scored his first for the club three minutes after Summerville's opener. Somehow the loanee defender headed wide of the back post from a Summerville corner and QPR were still just about in it.

Another Rutter-Summerville combination threatened a second goal. QPR had to abandon their defensive shell, leaving space for the hosts to attack and when the ball was moved left Rutter cut it back from the byline and Summerville saw his goalbound shot blocked right in front of goal by Jack Clarke-Salter.

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Farke spoke before the game of the need to shift QPR, to exhaust them mentally and physically, and his team were doing their best to oblige in the first half, moving the ball from left to right and back again to keep the visitors running.

Out of possession Ampadu, Pascal Struijk and Rodon kept the game in a vice-like grip, allowing very little to develop in their half.

Leeds were vastly superior in every way, bar the scoreline and herein lay the problem.

As long as it remained 1-0, QPR had a chance and Gareth Ainsworth's men drew encouragement from that at the break, coming out with a little more intent in the second half.

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The Whites in response were not as fluent, struggling to settle back into the same rhythm or level of control and on 66 minutes QPR actually mustered a shot, Ilias Chair testing Illan Meslier from long range.

On came Patrick Bamford for the struggling Joel Piroe, as James replaced Anthony and Farke shuffled the front line - Rutter going right and Summerville going to 10.

It was Bamford who made a difference, becoming a target for through balls even from deep in the Leeds half. That's where Rutter was when he spotted the centre-forward's run and sent a beautiful pass over the top for Bamford to chase, fetch and shoot low at Asmir Begovic's goal.

Bamford was involved again from the corner that resulted from Begovic's save, nipping in ahead of the keeper after Rodon headed down, so that Struijk could hook towards but over the goal.

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With the giant James Dunne now on the pitch QPR had a target of their own and looked to hit him from set-pieces situated almost anywhere on the pitch. That very nearly brought an equaliser, Dunne flicking on to create chaos from which Lyndon Dykes almost profited, Meslier blocking the shot.

Leeds could launch it too though and Struijk sent Bamford away with a long ball that forced Begovic out of his area and into a challenge that resulted in a red card. There was no contact but down went Bamford, out came the red and off went Begovic. Ainsworth was generous to Bamford in his post-match treatment of the controversy, insisting the striker jumped out of the way and indeed had he not taken evasive action the collision could well have taken him out of Farke’s equation again for some time. QPR fans and the club’s iFollow commentator did not share that view as Bamford became the villain of the piece.

Dykes took over in goal for the 10 men and they threw the ball forward a couple more times only to have their advances rebuffed by Farke's men.

It was far nervier than it ever needed to be and Leeds made heavy weather of a game that had earlier looked light on adversity. All's well that ends well, though, and Leeds avoided a QPR smash and grab.

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The lesson to learn is that the ruthlessness of the first goal should have been applied to subsequent chances. If you’re this much better than the opposition then let the scoreline reflect it, put the matter to bed and get yourself out of sight as early as humanly possible. But ultimately if you score a goal and prevent one going in at the other end then you win the day and remain a hero. A win's a win.