Date:Sunday February 5 2012
I was in the hot seat, or should I say cold seat, for the trip to Bristol City on Saturday.
It was the first game in charge for caretaker manager Neil Redfearn against a Bristol City side who had won four of their previous six home games.
Two fantastic saves by the Leeds captain in the game, helped Leeds keep their first clean sheet in ten games.
He looked very nervous in the first half and Frank Bolasie gave him a rough ride on the left wing. Once Bolasie was sent off, it gave Smith much more freedom and he looked a good partner for Robert Snodgrass with the pair linking up well.
The two in the centre of defence did not convince me. Lees continuously looks for the long ball out of defence and often finds touch.
Same as Lees, less than convincing and the sending offs made the second half much easier for the pair.
He did manage to be in the right place at the right time with clearances in the first half but he is not one who fills me with confidence at left back. I think he will be exposed when faced with a tricky, speedy winger.
Snodgrass 8 Star Man
With the conditions in the first half, I thought he would struggle to get into the game on a heavy pitch. He took his goal well and in the second half, he was excellent.
He was poor all afternoon. He got caught day dreaming at one stage in the first half on the edge of the Leeds area and was lucky to get away with it.
His first half performance was poor. He was the only one in the centre who was trying but often going down blind alleys and his passing was shocking.
Once Kilkenny went off he ran the show in midfield in the second half and he got stronger as the game went on.
Ineffective in the first half, but in the second half he had time and space to run at the Bristol defence. On a couple of occasions he had chance to shoot but decided to cut the ball back. Have a go White, I think a goal would do his confidence in the final third the world of good.
In the first half, I thought he worked hard with little reward. His great chip put Pugh in behind the City defence. A nice finish right at the end to score his second goal in three games. With then down to nine men in the second half he was rarely involved. I think he is slowly returning to the player we all know.
He took his time to get into the game and got better and better as it went on. He could have quite easily have had four or five. He had three disallowed for offside and the first one was he should never have strayed offside. A great finish making it 2-0. He seems to be back on form with his third goal in three games.
I was watching him closely on the sidelines. He did very little other than to stand there with his hand behind his back in the first half. I am not sure we would have won had it not been for the sending offs. The first forty minutes was same old story as we lacked invention and no movement at all. In the second half, we had a great chance to improve our goal difference significantly. I was disappointed when we made it 2-0 that he did not give the new lad Rogers ten minutes with the game won.
The biggest problem is, the five games in February all look winnable and he could quite easily get the manager`s job off the back of it. He is not the answer for me.
Like I have already said, for the first forty minutes we were poor and could quite easily have been behind.
A great worked goal to put us ahead and the two sending offs made it easy.
It did take us twenty-five minutes after the second sending off to put the game to bed and it was not as if Bristol were packing their defence.
We looked much more confident once we had scored and we actually managed a clean sheet, mainly thanks to two superb saves from Lonergan, as the defence still looks shaky.
In the end, it was easy but I doubt we would have taken three points had it finished 11 against 11.
One point outside the play offs and seven outside the automatic places and we have been ordinary this season.
It shows what a really poor division the championship is this season and with a couple of quality (not quantity) signings, we could have won this division this season.
Brighton next up and they are inform. As daft as it is, we win this one and we will surely be back in the play-off places. Wins breed confidence and you just never know what might happen. We need to find some form and confidence in February, because the start of March looks really tough.
One final note - It was great to see Becchio and Delph come over to the fans at the end and throw their shirts into the crowd and give a little something back to the fans who had travelled to Bristol on an awful day.
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Date:Sunday February 5 2012
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