Date:Saturday April 3 2010
Leeds United`s faltering promotion push took another severe dent today when Swindon Town came to Elland Road and walked away with three points.
The game was set up nicely after Millwall could only draw on Friday night, a draw would have been good enough to see Leeds move back into second place whilst a win for the visitors would see them jump into second place.
The afternoon got off to an emotional start with a minutes silence fantastically observed for Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight who tragically lost their lives in Turkey ten years ago this week.
Leeds made one change from last weekend with Mike Grella starting in place of Luciano Becchio who failed to overcome his injury from last weekend in time for this game.
The side however started where they left off at Norwich playing some good football through the midfield and a good early tempo was set.
Leeds had to wait however until fifteen minutes in to seriously test former Leeds keeper David Lucas in the Swindon goal, Mike Doyle`s shot from the edge of the are being saved by Lucas down to his right.
Swindon responded, Billy Paynter headed over when in a good position as there seemed a lot of nervousness and tension in the Leeds defence and crowd whenever Swindon got over the halfway line.
The visitors missed a great chance to take the lead on twenty minutes when Ward was put through but he failed to hit the target when in a great position.
Howson nearly scored a fortuitous goal when his cross was deflected by a Swindon defender, only to be hooked off the line.
Leeds best chance of the half fell to Andy Hughes but he shot straight at Lucas from close range when he really should have been giving the keeper no chance.
Doyle went close again but his header into the ground bounced over the bar.
Leeds were enjoying a good spell and Beckford worked Lucas with a glancing header.
Swindon took the lead close to half time when a cross in from the right fell to Billy Paynter after Andy Hughes slipped and his close range effort gave Higgs no chance.
They could have gone in two up when Paynter was once again given far too much room in the Leeds area, this time Higgs made a fantastic reaction save to keep Leeds in the game.
The game was as good as over though within five minutes of the restart when Paynter`s long range shot took a deflection and found the top corner of the net.
The goal totally finished the match off as a contest as Leeds looked shell-shocked.
Swindon scored a third within ten minutes when they was allowed far too much time to play the ball around before a cross into the middle found a totally unmarked Charlie Austin in the middle who powered his header into the back of the net.
The game was over as a contest at two nil, so there was no way back from three and some Leeds fans had already seen enough as they headed for the exit doors with over thirty minutes remaining.
Leeds had a great chance to get back into the game with twenty minutes remaining, some good link up play between Grella and Beckford eventually found Snodgrass eight yards out but he shot over the bar.
The game petered out as Swindon were happy to play possession football and a totally deflated Leeds side looked totally clueless as they struggles to string two passes together.
The result sees Leeds drop to fourth and they are now level on points with fifth placed Charlton.
Despite only being two points behind Swindon for the last automatic promotion place, Leeds fans are now beginning to look nervously over their shoulders at Huddersfield Town and Colchester in sixth and seventh place who are only six points behind Leeds.
With another game in less than 48 hours at Yeovil Town it`s hard to see how Simon Grayson is going to motivate the side enough to get them back to winning ways.
They have now gone 385 minutes without a goal and for most of those minutes, they have looked unlikely to score.
He continues to play Jermaine Beckford up front whose heart seems to have been a long way away from Elland Road since the January transfer window closed as he waits until he can walk away from the club in the summer.
Our captain, Richard Naylor, who is supposed to be the driving force and inspiration to the rest of the side looks woefully off the pace and seems to be struggling enough with his own game never mind trying to help out others.
Nobody in the side is playing well consistently as they flitter in and out of games.
Somebody needs to find out what they did with Max Gradel when he went back to Leicester in January, because when we signed him somebody came back from Leicester City disguised as Gradel as he hasn`t been able to make any impact in games like he did in the first half of the season.
Grayson`s not going to get much sleep between now and Monday as he try`s to workout how to solve the problems at Elland Road.
With Ken Bates having a history of an itchy trigger finger, and with a certain section of the fans showing unrest a defeat at Yeovil on Monday could see Grayson visiting the job centre soon afterwards.
Could this really happen? Was it only 90 days ago that we was celebrating a win at the Champions of English football, Manchester United and we was eight points clear at the top of League One?
Personally, I don`t think he should go, if he did who would Leeds bring in at this late stage of the season to replace him?
We are not going to get a high profile manager in his place, as Ken Bates isn`t going to spend the money to bring in that sort of manager.
Life`s always been a rollercoaster ride following Leeds and even though I expected us to make hard work of promotion this season I really didn`t envisage what as happened at the club since that win at Manchester United in January.
It`s beginning to look like the Play offs at best and when you look at the clubs currently in the top six and in the play off mix, Millwall and Swindon have completed the double over us and are games with Huddersfield and Charlton have finished in draws.
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Date:Saturday April 3 2010
|Leeds Utd||2||-||0||Derby County|
|20. Leeds Utd||23||6||6||11||-9||24|
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