LUFC - Delph shines again
Leeds travelled to Brighton hoping to get their slowly diminishing promotion hopes back on track after last Saturday`s home defeat against Carlisle United.
The 'loan rangers` all made their first starts for Leeds with Naylor, Dickinson and Trundle replacing Michalik, Sheehan and Christie.
Bradley Johnson also made his first start for Leeds since his successful loan period with Brighton, replacing Robert Snodgrass.
If you`ve never been to the Withdean Stadium then I suggest you don`t! It`s got to be one of the worst grounds in the country with temporary open stands on three sides and the pitch about 40 yards away. I am sure you would be freezing cold here on a nice day let alone on a freezing cold windy Saturday in January.
We can count ourselves lucky we only have to play there once a season, the poor Brighton fans have to put up with it all season long and I wish them a speedy transfer to their new ground in Falmer when it`s completed, they certainly deserve it.
I have waffled on a little because to be honest this game was no classic played by two teams that are obviously very low on confidence.
Leeds should have taken the lead in the first ten minutes when Luciano Becchio was pushed in the area and the referee was quick to point to the penalty spot, you see these go unpunished week in week out but today Leeds got lucky.
Unfortunately Becchio who was fouled took the penalty and his shot was saved by the legs of Sullivan in the Brighton goal, to be honest it was a poor penalty.
Leeds looked more assured at the back with Naylor and Dickinson looking impressive, Marques still looked very shaky and nervous and caused Leeds fans much anxiety at times when it wasn`t necessary.
Casper Ankergren was also causing Leeds fans much panic and on one occasion his poor clearance hit a Brighton forward but luckily Leeds managed to clear the danger.
In a fairly uninspiring first half Brighton`s only real clear cut chance fell to Fleetwood but Ankergren did enough to deny him.
Leeds had rarely looked like scoring in the first half and my thoughts drifted off to being back at home in the warmth rather than freezing my bits off watching this.
The second half continued much the same as the first, even when someone had a shot on goal for Brighton they drilled it straight at their own player much to the amusement of the Leeds fans.
The game finally came to life and after a Leeds free kick the ball fell to Trundle in the Brighton area and he superbly turned and shot to score his first goal since arriving from Bristol City on loan.
The question now on Leeds fans lips was could they finally keep their first clean sheet since November 1st?
This matter wasn`t helped when Richardson went off injured and Andy Robinson replaced him with Hughes slipping back into defence.
Leeds looked like they was going to scrape a 1-0 victory in an awful game when 'boy wonder` Fabian Delph made the admission money worth every penny, he picked the ball up in his own half before blasting the ball past the helpless Brighton keeper to double the Leeds lead.
The Brighton fans sat around me couldn`t help but admire the skills of Delph and they could now understand why he`s worth more than Kaka!!
Leeds could have scored a third late on which to be honest would have flattered the score line with chances falling to both Robinson and Christie.
The most important thing about today was we won ugly and we kept a clean sheet which was the real bonus.
Next up is fellow promotion hopefuls Peterborough at Elland Road which is surely a must win if we are to get back into the play off spots.
He could have got it just for his goal but on a terrible pitch he was the only player who looked like he could play football.
Casper Ankergren- 4
Fraser Richardson - 5 (replaced 66 minutes)
Richard Naylor - 7
Will be interesting to see how he deals with Mackail Smith from Peterborough next weekend.
Rui Marques - 5
Carl Dickinson - 7
Andy Hughes - 6
Jonathan Douglas - 6
Fabian Delph - 8 star man
Lee Trundle - 7 (replaced 85 minutes)
Luciano Becchio - 6
Bradley Johnson - 6 (replaced 85 minutes)
Andy Robinson - 7 (replaced Richardson 66)
Johnny Howson - 5 (replaced Johnson 85)
Malcolm Christie - 4 (replaced Trundle 85)
We didn`t play well again and I think it was the fact we played a poor Brighton side that we came away with three points.
Will need to have them on top form next Saturday.
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