April 23, 2011
So how did we do? Our winless run in the league at Elland Road continued with a 0-0 draw.
The Team? McCarthy, Griffin, Harte, Khizinishvili, Mills, Leigertwood, Karacan, Robson-Kanu (Manset 81), McAnuff, Hunt (Church 70), Long.
MOTM: Alex McCarthy - The young keeper showed why he's keeping Adam Federici out of the side with some superb saves.
Below the jump we'll look at yesterday's top six clash and remind you why you should never take betting advice from us here at The Tilehurst End....
Tilehurst End Match Report In Brief
Three things written in yesterday's match preview should have told you the game was going to end 0-0...
Leeds have scored more goals at home then any other team in the league, but they’ve also conceded amongst the most, so a 0-0 draw it is then…
Earlier this year it was a dour 0-0 at the Madejski, a match I went too but really can’t remember much of, it was one of those games, but I can’t see tomorrow turning out that way with both sides desperate for three points.
Prediction wise I’m sticking with my negativity as it’s done us well so far, so I’ll say 4-2 Leeds.
That's exactly why you never take betting advice from us here at The Tilehurst End!
In saying that, both teams suffered big blows to their attacking force before the game as Jimmy Kebe was ruled out for the Royals with a thigh injury, while for Leeds, top scorer Luciano Becchio was also unavailable. With that being the case Billy Paynter led the line for the home side, with Hal Robson-Kanu replacing Kebe and Noel Hunt was also restored to the Reading team, being favoured over Manset.
With Forest leapfrogging Leeds before the game, the impetus with on the home side to pick up all three points, and they did most of the early running, creating the half's only real chances. After 20 minutes McCarthy was forced into making a save from Richard Snodgrass, before the young keeper nearly parried one into his own net, after spilling Max Gradel's long-range drive.
Reading seemed sluggish and with Jobi McAnuff and Hal-Robson Kanu both off form, the team lacked any real creative outlet, instead resorting to long balls up to the front pair, or retaining possession with a string of backward passes. Credit to Leeds for harrying and pressing us all over the pitch, but it doesn't excuse some of the lacklustre displays from the usually excellent Mikele Leigertwood or Jobi McAnuff, for whom nothing went right. I don't think Reading were helped by the referee who was extremely lenient, both in terms of what he deemed bookable offences and what he even considered a free-kick. Shane Long and Noel Hunt were both clearly frustrated at the lack of fouls given against Leeds for pushing and pulling and while it was the same for both teams, I've not seen such a lenient ref in quite a while. Both Livermore and Naylor could easily have been sent off on another day and it was a sign of how close Livermore was to a red that he was taken off at the break by Leeds boss Simon Grayson.
The refereeing helped contribute to a general lack of rythmn from Reading, who started the second half penned into their box for most of the first five minutes. After we broke out, our best chances fell to Andy Griffin who burst into the box from the right before shooting wide of the near post and to Leigertwood who shot wide from just outside the box.
Leeds had a host of chances to score in the second period but were denied by the crossbar and by a string of saves by Alex McCarthy, who showed exactly why he's been named the Championship Young Player Of The Month and why he's keeping an International goalkeeper in Federici on the bench.
Reading sent on Simon Church and then The Beast to try to find a winner but once again while Manset looked a handful, Church looked utterly lost. The Welshman has plenty of talent and even off-form has scored some vital goals this year but he really looks bereft of confidence right now and it's tough to see him making a significant impact for the rest of this season.
Leeds finished the game the stronger side but couldn't find a way through, 0-0 the final score and you have to think that's the end of the Automatic Promotion dream for this year. On the positive side, had that been a play-off first leg you'd take such a battling performance 0-0 away from home and be confident of winning the home game, so it's nice to at least get a result against a potential play-off opponent.
Leeds were hardworking and strong but were not full of outstanding quality. If Reading had Kebe fit and Job McAnuff even in the slightest of form we could have easily won the game and I would feel confident we'd win a two-legged play-off or a game at Wembley against the Yorkshire side.
Next up is a game on Monday against Sheffield United who we could well send down. While our automatic promotion hopes took a massive blow yesterday, it's important that we finish with three straight wins and take all the momentum we can into the play-offs.