YEP fans jury: Why we saw the best and worst of Leeds United against Brentford

A last-gasp, come-from-behind 2-2 draw with Brentford wasn’t, perhaps, what Leeds United fans expected or hoped for but, at the end of the day, our Yorkshire Evening Post jury is happy to take the point and keep the recent unbeaten run intact.

Monday, 6th December 2021, 5:28 am
Man-of-the-match contender Luke Ayling impressed on his return from injury for Leeds United against Premier League rivals Brentford. Picture: Tony Johnson/JPIMedia.

Naturally, there were areas of concern in the game - notably the way Brentford were able to take control of the game in the second half with both Liam Cooper and Kalvin Phillips having been substituted because of injuries.

But there were also areas of optimism, notably the return to action and goal scoring of striker Patrick Bamford and the first-half display and goal on his 100th appearance for fellow front man Tyler Roberts.

Luke Ayling also made his return from a lengthy injury absence - and put in a man-of-the-match performance as far as the majority of our jurors were concerned.

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Leeds United man-of-the-match contender Stuart Dallas chats with Brentford's Sergi Canos after the final whistle following Sunday's Premier League match at Elland Road. Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire.

Here’s what the jurors have to say; see if you agree:

David Watkins

Crikey, how do you sum that up? Well, it was there to be won, Leeds seemed to have weathered such storm as a weakened Brentford side could manage and we had the lead.

OK, we’d lost Liam Cooper but, despite half the team changing position when Bielsa decided to throw Jack Harrison on as the replacement, all looked fine. Tyler Roberts started and finished the move for a fine opening goal and Luke Ayling was unlucky not to stretch the lead after the restart too with a fine header.

Then, in the space of seven minutes, Leeds self-destructed. First, with a series of missed tackles and poor defending, we allowed Baptiste to fire in off the post and then Canos finished off a fine move to put the Bees ahead. They could have scored with a back-post header in between too.

We saw the best and the worst of Leeds but we’d missed a great opportunity to beat a very poor Brentford.

Cue Patrick Bamford, who showed the sort of finishing we’ve missed for months.

Although it still feels like a missed opportunity, at least we came through the week unbeaten.

Man of the match: Stuart Dallas.

Keith Ingham

Another last-gasp goal for Leeds scored by the returning Patrick Bamford rescued a point for the hosts as they remained unbeaten in a busy week.

There may be a ‘sting’ in the tail, however, as Liam Cooper, Kalvin Phillips and Adam Forshaw could be sidelined for Chelsea and Man City. Pretty annoying, as it was only this weekend that Luke Ayling and Bamford returned from a lengthy time out of the team.

It has to be seen if the injuries to Cooper, Phillips and Forshaw are serious as Leeds seem to be having some really wretched luck on the injury front.

Many may think it two points dropped but it could have been three but for Bamford’s injury-time heroics. Five points out of Brighton, Palace and Brentford is a decent return with some tough games coming up in the rest of the month. Bring it on!

Marcelo Bielsa brought in Ayling at the back but left Bamford on the bench alongside Jamie Shackleton, Mateusz Klich, Jack Harrison ant Rodrigo. The strongest set of substitutes Leeds have had for a long time.

Tyler Roberts once again led the line after a decent performance in the game with Crystal Palace.

The often-criticised player finally got the goal he deserved when he flicked on Raphinha’s cross into the net to give Leeds the lead just before the half-hour mark.

Leeds lost Cooper to injury early in the half but, strangely, Bielsa brought on Harrison instead of Charlie Cresswell. Can’t fathom out that one to be honest.

The game changed when Brentford grabbed an equaliser then Leeds midfielder Phillips went off injured and, incredibly, the Bees grabbed the lead through Canos, all in six or so second-half minutes.

Leeds struggled after Phillips departed and their opponents took control of the game.

With the points slipping out of their hands, they introduced Bamford and, as the game entered five minutes injury-time, it was Leeds’ star striker that flicked the ball in off the bar and how the returning striker celebrated, shirt twirling above his head and the fans for the second game in a row went berserk.

Man of the match: Luke Ayling.

Mike Gill

Hopes were high for a Leeds win and these hopes were accompanied by predictions about their position in the table.

Given the way they started, these predictions seemed reasonable.

An opening goal from Tyler Roberts confirmed the optimism. The Welshman turned in a killer cross from Raphinha to the delight of the Elland Road crowd.

Brentford were way off the pace for the remainder of the first half and it was frustrating that Leeds failed to capitalise on their advantage .

Having lost Liam Cooper and Kalvin Phillips to injury, the Whites started to lose their momentum.

And in a seven-minute spell, Baptiste and Canos scored to break the hearts of the Leeds fans and turn an expected comfortable-looking win into a likely defeat.

Thankfully, five minutes into added time, the returning Patrick Bamford snatched an unexpected but welcome equaliser.

United will need to raise their game next week at Chelsea.

Man of the match: Luke Ayling.

Jacob Starr

When you score a 95th-minute equaliser it’s always a positive feeling, but Leeds will still feel disheartened that they didn’t pick up all three points against Brentford.

With the run we have coming up in the rest of December, Sunday’s contest looked the most winnable of this month’s fixtures. Tyler Roberts’ performances over the last three games were deserving of his first-half goal that put the Whites in control at half-time, though the first 15 minutes of the second half were not pleasing on the eye.

We seemed to implode a little and two soft goals for the Bees turned the game on its head out of absolutely nowhere.

Brentford were nothing special, so it would have been a travesty had we not come away with anything. It was ironic how Brentford’s time-wasting tactics came back to bite them when Patrick Bamford poked in a last-gasp equaliser in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

The strikers’ return to action has been much needed, and his goal lifts us six clear of the bottom three.

In the space of a week, two last-minute goals have earnt us four points.

Stress levels will be at an all-time high if this carries on.

Man of the match: Stuart Dallas.

Andy Rhodes

They say a week is a long time in football, and they aren’t wrong.

Prior to the Brighton game, things looked concerning with a difficult run of fixtures on the horizon but, after three games unbeaten, Leeds should have some confidence. It won’t be just the number of points added to the board either.

Two last-gasp goals in two games will give United a huge boost, and a goal for Patrick Bamford is just what he needed.

Although Tyler Roberts was excellent, Marcel Bielsa will have a decision to make next week.

This was by no means a good performance, however.

It was fraught with uncertainty and tentative play, particularly in the second half when the chips were down.

But, if you can pick results out of nothing, just as they did against Crystal Palace, it will only be a good thing.

Man of the match: Luke Ayling.