Reading 2 Leeds United 2: Defensive frailties leave Whites rueing a victory that got away - YEP jury

Gjanni Alioski tussles with Reading's Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.
Gjanni Alioski tussles with Reading's Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s 2-2 draw at Reading.


I’m worried. I was happy with the five points we took from the first six games under Heckingbottom; no realistic Leeds fan would have expected more from games against some of the best in class.

But with Reading in disarray, one win in 16 Championship games, and with the influential Garath McCleary missing through injury, I thoroughly expected Leeds to beat them.

That we didn’t, brings into question just what level we really are at the moment. Reading at times looked better than we did and although we grew stronger as the game went on, there didn’t look to be much between these sides.

Leeds continue to look a poor side defensively and once again we were frequently sloppy in possession, while going forward we appeared laboured when Pablo Hernandez wasn’t involved. His importance to this squad cannot be underestimated and he is one of the few players likely to be a regular starter for us next season as long as the club sorts out his contract.

Leeds United fans in full voice.

Leeds United fans in full voice.

We have two more opportunities coming up to stake a claim to be a better than average Championship side but we absolutely have to beat the likes of Sheffield Wednesday and Bolton to prove it.

Man of the match: Pablo Hernandez.


Saturday’s game was an evenly-matched contest between two sides suffering from an identity crisis. Both have slipped from high standards they set at various points in 2017 and are struggling to piece together any sort of form.

Pablo Hernandez.

Pablo Hernandez.

United’s performance was largely unchanged and, under Paul Heckingbottom, we have settled into a pattern where we will huff and puff and lose to sides better than us while making a game of it against those who are similar or inferior. Wolves and Middlesbrough would, again, have rolled us over comfortably on Saturday but Reading are much poorer than either of those two.

This was really two points dropped with needless mistakes, frustrating decisions and a bit of bad luck keeping the score to 2-2. Samuel Saiz had a poor game by his standards but still managed to create goals and chances while Pontus Jansson, Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Gjanni Alioski and Pablo Hernandez are all worthy of praise. Adam Forshaw was the star of our show. He has been a bright point in a miserable 2018.

Man of the match: Adam Forshaw.


Leeds extended their unwanted run without an away win since Boxing Day with a hard-fought 2-2 draw with Reading. They had enough opportunities, especially in the second half to bring the three points back to West Yorkshire.

Against the run of play it was Reading that went in front, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson taking advantage of less than admirable Leeds defending. It was then Bailey Peacock-Farrell versus Reading as the youngster pulled off saves from Bodvasson, Mo Barrow and best of all from George Evans. Leeds drew level when Pontus Jansson netted.

Leeds went in front just before the hour thanks to a superb strike from Pablo Hernandez.Unfortunately, the lead lasted only two minutes. Leandro Bacuna put a ball into the Leeds box and unwittingly Eunan O’Kane put the ball past Peacock-Farrell.

Another game where Leeds had enough opportunities to claim the points but Lady Luck didn’t smile on them once again. A better display than the previous two, but once again the goals conceded will give Paul Heckingbottom headaches.

Men of the match: Bailey Peacock-Farrell/Pablo Hernandez.


Leeds United should have been good enough to take all three points from the Royals. Unfortunately defensive frailties led to our downfall again.

The six changes from the Wolves match were not unexpected apart from Caleb Ekuban for Pierre-Michel Lasogga.

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson gave Reading the lead on 16 minutes and it was almost half-time before Pontus Jansson levelled it for Leeds.

The Whites came out for the second half refreshed and Pablo Hernandez put them ahead with a fine looping shot to the top corner of the goal.

Two minutes later the game was level again as Eunan O’Kane turned a shot from Leandro Bacuna into his own net.

United continued to press and came close several times including a bizarre clearance from Anssi Jaakkola which was blocked by Lasogga and bobbled tantalisingly towards the bottom corner and almost crossed the line before the keeper gratefully retrieved it.

Positives: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Jansson, Adam Forshaw, Gjanni Alioski and Hernandez.

Man of the match: Adam Forshaw.


Professor Brian Cox argues that the laws of thermodynamics dictate that the universe will end in stasis.

The cosmos will end as it simply grinds to a halt. I disagree because between the 16th and 30th minute of this game, Leeds reached a point where they couldn’t possibly get any more static. Leeds did not spark cataclysm but instead proved right the theory of D:Ream: Things can only get better.

And they did! Pablo Hernandez again defied the gravity that was dragging everyone else deeper into despair. We scored twice. We took the lead. We were going to win. The universe wasn’t going to end.

Unfortunately though, things don’t always get better. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and so, as Isaac Newton predicted, Reading equalised. Leeds fans this season have been forced to ponder deeply. Do left-backs really exist? Laurens De Bock made an appearance but soon wished that a black hole would swallow him up after a near catastrophic gaffe. With all in the balance and as I myself predicted, we left with a point.

We had halted the decline. We had ground to a halt but there was evidence of a big bounce, which is good news not only for Leeds United but I would argue, Professor Cox, the entire universe.

Man of the match: Pablo Hernandez.