Date:Sunday April 18 2010
I was the unfortunate one from the Vital Leeds site who was present at the Gillingham game on Saturday, just as we began to believe again our hopes were dashed in the opening thirty-three minutes by some horror defending.
Leeds were already three nil down, despite trying to fight back and claim at least a point the damage had already been done.
Here are my player ratings from the game:
Shane Higgs 4
Had very little to do apart from pick the ball out of the back of the net. Had no chance of either coming to claim the ball or keep out any of the goals.
Maybe he needs to start shouting at his defence a bit more as the communication seems to have stopped.
Leigh Bromby 4
Couldn`t get out of the way of Naylor`s header which went in off him for the third goal.
Both him and Howson failed to give Leeds an attacking option down the right.
Richard Naylor 2
Supposed to be our leader, at the moment he is the weak link in the side. Not been at the races all season. Personally, I do not think he`s ever been fully fit having missed pre season and then had further spells on the sidelines.
Picked up so many bookings this season for late and clumsy challenges which is usually down to a player not fully fit and a yard off the pace.
Certainly not the player we signed in January last year and seems to have lost his voice along with his confidence at the back. Since the loss of Kisnorbo he`s really been exposed, had a part in two of the three Gillingham goals with poor headers.
Neil Collins 4
Been the rock at the back since his arrival trying to fill in for the irreplaceable Kisnorbo. Today he was another who wasn`t quite at it and seem a yard to slow and continuously late into the tackle giving away a number of needless free kicks in dangerous areas.
Andy Hughes 4
I love this players desire and commitment for the club, unfortunately let down in the skill department in the past month. He has reverted back to the player who struggled in the first half of the season. Looked like he`d turned the corner when we was actually struggling in January in February with some good solid performances.
Jon Howson 3
Was he out there? Can`t remember him doing anything of note and went missing for large parts of the game. Seems to be one of Grayson`s favourites though and still completed 90 minutes.
Mike Doyle 3
Another one who did very little in the middle of the park, was one of the players who was caught ball watching for Gillingham`s first goal.
Neil Kilkenny 5
Kilkenny was the only one in midfield who tried to get something going, unfortunately had very little support and was given very little time on the ball to start things off for Leeds.
Robert Snodgrass 3
Was very quiet, never had much chance to do much in an attacking sense and was not surprised to see him subbed.
Max Gradel 5
Worked hard and got back to help the midfield with some good tackling. Had a frustrating afternoon in attack and was often guilty of not getting his head up, instead trying to beat everyone on his own.
Was denied by the keeper when he should have made it 1-1 soon after going behind.
Luciano Becchio 6 Star man
Had a very hard afternoon against a big Gillingham defence, still plugged away and set up Gradel for his chance after some good work. Got Leeds back into the game with his fourth goal in three games close to half time.
Jermaine Beckford 5 (Replaced Snodgrass 54)
Worked quite hard after coming on, won the penalty, which he coolly slotted home. Had a good chance to equalise soon after but failed to make a true connection.
Ben Parker 4 (Replaced Hughes 54)
Was brought on to give Leeds another option down the left hand side but never really made a difference.
Sanchez Watt 5 (Replaced Becchio 76)
Again made an impact when he came on and looked busy. The lad needs a bit more time on the pitch.
Simon Grayson 4
People were quick around me to jump on the manager for picking the side, this was the same side that took Carlisle apart on Tuesday night so what more could he do?
He tried to change things around with best part of half an hour remaining when reverting to a 3-4-3 but why bring on a defender to play in midfield? I think he would have been better off bringing on Sanchez Watt rather than Ben Parker who is a natural winger. When he did bring Watt on it was for only for the final fifteen minutes. We didn`t really look like scoring in the second half so should have been on much earlier.
Really don`t know what to expect next? Can the real Leeds United please stand up!
Just when we look like we have got the promotion push back on track we once again failed to take a fantastic chance and put some daylight between us and third place.
Give credit to a patch up Gillingham defence who had three big lads and looked comfortable dealing with the Leeds attack all afternoon.
Mark Bentley who usually plays in midfield looked at ease in defence and was probably there man of the match.
Was also impressed with Dennis Oli in attack who ran his socks off, put himself about and won nearly everything in the air he also chased things down and held the ball up very well.
Got to look at it in a positive view still, one less game to play (only three now) and we are still in second place and two of them are at home.
I think Charlton away is going to be the pivotal game of the season now and if we`d got the points at Gillingham we could have afforded to go to the Valley and be happy with a point. Really feel now we are going to have to take nine points to gain promotion.
Then again, in what`s been a mad few month`s and teams falling over each over to throw away promotion, I am sure I will have a completely different view this time next week.
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Date:Sunday April 18 2010
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