Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sporting Life 26/8/08
By Wayne Gardiner, PA Sport
Leeds manager Gary McAllister lauded his side after they overpowered Championship outfit Crystal Palace 4-0 in the second-round of the Carling Cup at Elland Road.
The hosts had too much power in attack for Neil Warnock's faltering side with Jonathan Douglas, Jermaine Beckford, Luciano Becchio and Enoch Showumni all getting on the scoresheet.
The four-goal rout means that Leeds have posted nine goals in their two games in the competition so far following the 5-2 win at Chester and McAllister was delighted with the manner of the victory following two sub-standard showings in the league.
"I like the way that we got some rhythm and fluency to our play," he said. "The clean sheet was a good confidence booster for the whole club. We've scored nine goals and we're looking to play with flair and rhythm.
"The two performances against Oldham and Yeovil were not quite up to the standard we're trying to set here. I always had it in mind to make a few changes and play a slightly different formation.
"As much as there was no panic after the last two performances, I'm not going to go overboard with this, as it is still very early in the season and people are trying to find their form."
McAllister made eight changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Yeovil on Saturday and accepts that he has some difficult selection decisions to make ahead of three forthcoming home games, starting with Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
"I'm asking people to step up to the plate and when they get their chance to go and take it," he said. "I've got to say that from one to 11 tonight they all performed.
"It shows that we have a very strong squad of players here and competition brings out the quality in people.
"I thought Luciano led the line fantastically, and that some of the combinations in the middle of the park and some of the movement in the final third was excellent.
"We've got an important run of games here at Elland Road home now and we're looking to come out of it with no defeats.
"It shows that we have a very strong squad of players and the competition brings out the best in people."
Warnock admitted that he is keen to add at least one striker to his ranks before the transfer window shuts, after watching his side slip to a disappointing reverse.
Despite making six changes to the side that drew with Burnley on Saturday, Warnock made just one alteration to his defence and thought that they were bullied by Becchio and Beckford.
"I'm disappointed, obviously," he said.
"I made six changes but you'd expect one of my teams to cope better than that," he said. "Quite honestly we couldn't cope with the front lads. Once the second goal went in it was disappointing to say the least.
"This is a good challenge isn't it? I've just said that to the players. If you defend like that you're going to get beat against any level of opposition and I thought the two centre forwards bullied our defenders from start to finish.
"We've got to come up with the answers and that's the challenge. I was talking to Kevin (Blackwell) today at Sheffield and they've got six strikers, all of whom could get in our team.
"I'm looking for at least one striker and I'd like a couple in the next few days."I'm not used to coming to Leeds and losing. I usually enjoy coming here and putting one over on them but they thoroughly deserved it."

Yorkshire Evening Post 26/8/08
Deadly United rout sad Palace
By Phil Hay
Leeds United 4 Crystal Palace 0
The industry in which Gary McAllister and Neil Warnock work is so unforgiving that a dissatisfied manager need not look hard to find another worse off than himself.
The two men shared comparable concerns about early-season form which, before last night, was conspicuous by its mediocrity at both Leeds United and Crystal Palace, but a Carling Cup tie that deepened Warnock's scowl brought a smile instead to the face of McAllister.
Bothered though he is by United's present inconsistency, the defeat that McAllister's team inflicted on Palace at Elland Road last night gave perspective to the issue of their fluctuating results.
United, for all their ambitions and range of professionals, are still to settle into their second season in League One, but there are no underlying problems at Elland Road beyond the question of which 11 players will combine to provide the most coherent team.
Palace, by comparison, looked deeply troubled last night, to the extent that Warnock moved to confess that the situation will take all of his managerial skill to improve.
His club were ravaged by Leeds in a manner which Warnock is not known to accept from players under his wing and the fact that the 4-0 rout was inflicted on an individual who won so much acclaim as manager of Sheffield United merely increased the satisfaction for the 10,000 supporters who embraced last night's second-round match. There was no doubt that McAllister vacated the touchline the more content manager.
Palace, it transpired, were perfect opponents for Leeds – drawn from a division above United's but bereft of form in their own league and harnessed with a meagre appetite for last night's tie.
Their inability to score a goal in 270 minutes of league football is as concerning a statistic for Warnock as their failure to win any of their three Championship matches this season and Palace's attack was as impotent last night as the club's statistics suggested it might be.
David Lucas, Leeds' goalkeeper for the evening, was the one player who struggled to enhance his prospects of a regular start for United, but only because Palace did so little to involve him.
A free-kick from Ben Watson aside, Lucas reached half-time with gloves which were virtually clean and spoke in glowing terms of United's dominance. Leeds were two goals to the good and already anticipating the Carling Cup's third-round draw by the time the first half concluded.
Warnock's hands were restricted slightly by the untimely suspensions of Shaun Derry and James Scowcroft, two players who would have brought crucial qualities to the table at Elland Road, but there were few ways of explaining the timid nature of Palace's capitulation.
This, Warnock had stated openly before kick-off, was a competition he tentatively aimed to win and elimination before the end of August does not reflect well on a club who are taking slow strides through the first month of the season.
Last night's win will help to tackle McAllister's feeling that Leeds are doing the same.Beaten by Oldham Athletic 10 days ago and held to a draw at Yeovil Town on Saturday, the visit of Palace was not a game for Leeds to treat dismissively.
Eight changes to United's starting team raised obvious questions of how important McAllister considered the Carling Cup to be, but the heavily revised line-up worked to refresh a club who were not exactly bursting with inspiration at Huish Park. Their display against Palace was so convincing that McAllister will find a queue outside the door of his office if certain individuals are not allowed to retain their shirts against Bristol Rovers this weekend.
As an added bonus, McAllister was able to watch 16-year-old left-back Aidan White complete his senior debut with all the poise and natural ability that United's academy staff have spotted in him and Fabian Delph's performance in the centre of midfield was beyond his teenage years, as it so often seems to be.
The complication for McAllister, as demonstrated by Oldham and Yeovil, is not a shortage of talented players but deciding how best to fit those players into his regular line-up.
There are nine midfielders effective enough to warrant a start – perhaps too many for McAllister to keep happy – and it will take patience and good judgment on the part of United's boss to find the most suitable blend.But anyone who doubted that Leeds have the beating of League One could not have failed to have that opinion shifted by the rout of Palace last night.
A goal in the 11th minute put Warnock's players under immediate pressure, but Leeds did not rely on a slender lead to see them home as they had to their cost at Yeovil.
A second effort followed before the end of the first half and the remainder of the game already had an academic feel when Luciano Becchio scored 10 minutes after the break to increase United's lead to three goals. It was not a game McAllister wanted to lose, nor one he can have expected to after the first 45 minutes. Jonathan Douglas opened the scoring with what was United's first shot on goal, reacting more quickly than Palace's defence to a bouncing ball which asked to be stabbed beyond Darryl Flahavan and the failure of Warnock's backline was to become a familiar theme to the evening.
Delph brought a low parry from Flahavan after waltzing through two markers in the 27th minute and Palace's keeper produced a better save four minutes later when he palmed a low shot from Beckford away from his goalline. The reprieve was so brief as to be meaningless.
From the resulting corner, Jermaine Beckford timed his jump perfectly to nod Neil Kilkenny's corner back across Flahavan and beyond the keeper.
There was nothing for Palace's manager to cling to at half-time, other than Watson's free-kick and a header from Clint Hill which Lucas swallowed up.
Ten minutes into the second half, Becchio met a cross from Frazer Richardson and directed a header at Flahavan who got a hand to the ball but diverted it against the post and over the line. From there, the only question was how painfully Palace would suffer.
Flahavan kept out a shot from Enoch Showunmi on 72 minutes, though the substitute should not have given him the chance to reach the ball and Showunmi soon made amends with a fourth goal, squeezing a shot through a defender's legs and into the corner of the net.
Palace almost forced a consolation when Bradley Johnson appeared on the goalline to head away Calvin Andrew's shot, but while McAllister expressed delight at United's clean sheet, a goal at that late juncture would not have mattered.
Warnock departed Elland Road with much to contemplate and a squad to repair, a task which no manager would envy with the transfer window open for just five more days. McAllister, meanwhile, has players to disappoint when he names his team on Saturday, the sign of a club in good health. Not for him is the Carling Cup without value.

BBC 26/8/08
Leeds 4-0 Crystal Palace
Rampant League One Leeds crushed stuttering Championship side Crystal Palace at Elland Road to reach the third round of the Carling Cup.
Leeds took the lead with their first real attack when Jermaine Beckford flicked on a long ball for Jonathan Douglas to lob over Darryl Flahavan.
Neil Kilkenny then crossed for Beckford to head home and, soon after half-time, Luciano Becchio nodded past Flahavan.
The Argentinian was replaced by Enoch Showunmi who curled home the fourth.

Leeds manager Gary McAllister: "I'm asking people to step up to the plate and when they get their chance to go and take it. I've got to say that from one to 11 tonight they all performed.
"It shows that we have a very strong squad of players here and competition brings out the quality in people.
"I thought Luciano Becchio led the line fantastically, and that some of the combinations in the middle of the park and some of the movement in the final third was excellent.

Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock: "Quite honestly we couldn't cope with the front lads. Once the second goal went in it was disappointing to say the least.
"If you defend like that you're going to get beat against any level of opposition and I thought the two centre forwards bullied our defenders from start to finish. "I'm not used to coming to Leeds and losing. I usually enjoy coming here and putting one over on them but they thoroughly deserved it."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

New pages uploaded at

Season Review – 2007/08 – Minus 15/The fightback begins

United enter financial administration and endure a succession of setbacks as Ken Bates struggles to retain control.
Cleared to return to League action, United storm into an astonishing start before losing Gus Poyet.
An old favourite returns to Elland Road to fire a revival of United's season which ends in failure at Wembley.

Read the full story at

Saturday, August 23, 2008 23/8/08
YEOVIL TOWN 1 (Owusu 62 pen), UNITED 1 (Becchio 1)
United boss Gary McAllister made one change to his starting line-up for the trip to Yeovil Town with striker Luciano Becchio making his full league debut in place of Enoch Showunmi, who started on the bench.
And the decision paid immediate dividends with the Argentinian repaying the manager just 25 seconds into the game.
Rui Marques lifted the ball over the top, Becchio capitalised on indecision at the back, and managed to steer the ball past Yeovil goalkeeper Asmir Begovic to give United a quick-fire lead.
It was a great start for United - it was the quickest goal since Jermaine Wright's 11-second goal against Burnley in November 2004 - and Jermaine Beckford went close to furthering the advantage inside six minutes when he lifted a shot over the top following good work on the edge of the box by Jonny Howson.
Beckford was causing problems for Yeovil and when he won a second successive free-kick after nine minutes, Alan Sheehan shaved the bar with a curling strike.
Beckford threatened again on 18 minutes when he sent a shot skidding just wide of the upright after some good work by Becchio.
While United dominated the opening half-hour, there were also plenty of hefty challenges flying about. Yeovil's Danny Schofield limped out of the game, Becchio was flattened, and Aidan Downes was booked for a foul on Howson. Robert Snodgrass also saw yellow after going to ground.
Five minutes before the interval there was another flare-up, Becchio earning himself a booking for raising his foot in a challenge.
Yeovil were forced into making a second substitution for injury early in the second period when Gary Roberts replaced Downes.
The home side started the second half brighter, and Paul Warne almost produced an equaliser on 53 minutes when his close range volley was somehow deflected to safety. He also rattled a shot against the body of Paul Huntington after Casper Ankergren failed to claim the corner kick.
But it was United who almost went further in front shortly before the hour-mark. Snodgrass tried his luck from 25 yards and Begovic, who failed to hold his shot, fumbling the ball, could only watch as the ball bounced wide of the post.
Disaster struck for United on 61 minutes, though, when Huntington was adjudged to have pushed Warne and the hosts were awarded a penalty. Ankergren got down well to save Owusu's initial shot, but the Yeovil sub converted at the second attempt.
The penalty decision angered the United players and Beckford's name was added to the referee's notebook for protesting as the game was about to re-start.
The goal clearly gave the hosts a lift, and it took a desperate clearance from Snodgrass to break down a Yeovil attack moments after the equaliser.
Owusu was then guilty of wasting a good opportunity, firing over the bar after a good cross from the left from Nathan Jones.
Yeovil were enjoying their best spell of the game and Gavin Tomlin had Ankergren back-tracking furiously when he tried a chip from distance.
With a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, McAllister made a double substitution, introducing Showunmi and Jonathan Douglas in place of Robinson and Snodgrass. The double change brought a change of shape with United moving to a 4-3-3- system.
And it was Leeds who threatened next when Beckford sent an angled shot across the face of goal in the 78th minute after working himself a decent opening.
Becchio also tested Begovic with a shot from outside of the area and as the contest entered the final 10 minutes the spoils were still up for grabs.
Yeovil threatened again when Warne got the better of Frazer Richardson, and Sheehan got a decisive touch on his cross-cum-shot to ensure a corner.
With four minutes remaining, McAllister made his final change, introducing Fabian Delph in place of Howson.
Moments later, the United players and fans were angered when a Leeds attack was halted - Becchio was in a good position down the right - due to the appearance of a second ball in the Yeovil area.
Four minutes of stoppage time were added on, and it was Sheehan again who proved the final act of defence after Tomlin latched onto a long ball over the top and rounded the advancing Ankergren.
And that proved the final opportunity for either side as honours ended even.

Yorkshire Evening Post 23/8/08
Yeovil Town 1 Leeds United 1
A controversial second-half penalty saw Leeds United held to a 1-1 draw during a frustrating afternoon at Huish Park.
Yeovil Town substitute Lloyd Owusu converted the rebound from his own spot-kick on 61 minutes to cancel out an early effort from Luciano Becchio and deny Leeds victory in Somerset.
Yeovil were awarded a penalty following Paul Huntington's innocuous push on Paul Warne, and although Casper Ankergren parried Owusu's initial effort, the forward was first to the rebound and could not miss an empty net.
The stalemate was a demoralising outcome for Gary McAllister's players, who had held the lead since the first minute.
Becchio struck after just 25 seconds of his full league debut, drilling a low shot beyond the reach of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic after collecting a long pass from Rui Marques and finding Yeovil's defence out of position.
Jermaine Beckford and Alan Sheehan also went close during a first half which Leeds dominated, but Yeovil should have equalised at the start of the second period when Warne's volley from point-blank range deflected wide, and Owusu's goal earned the hosts a point.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Yorkshire Evening Post 13/8/08
Leeds United cup hero Beckford is not for sale
By Phil Hay
Gary McAllister today vowed to fight off any bids for Jermaine Beckford before the transfer window closes after the striker's first professional hat-trick fired Leeds United into the second round of the Carling Cup.
Beckford struck three times in the first half of last night's televised tie at Chester City to guide Leeds to a 5-2 victory and take his tally of goals to four after only two matches of the 2008-09 season.
The 24-year-old secured United's 2-1 win over Scunthorpe on Saturday, and a sublime treble at the Deva Stadium – completed by an audacious 30-yard lob – has set him on course to repeat the haul of 20 goals he produced for Leeds last term.
Beckford is arguably United's most valuable player and has been linked with both Derby County and Norwich City during the past eight months, but the improving financial position at Elland Road left McAllister under no pressure to sell any of his senior players this summer.
The determination of Leeds to retain their leading scorer is not thought to have been tested by a serious offer for Beckford, but their manager indicated that prospective bidders would be wasting their time by inquiring about the former non-league forward ahead of the summer transfer deadline which falls on August 31.
McAllister said: "His attitude throughout pre-season was superb and he looks as if he wants to score goals.
"I'd be disappointed if I didn't have people interested in Jermaine but we're trying to get things going at our place and he's one of our better players.
"He's on a lengthy contract and nobody will leave the club unless I want them to go. "That's what the chairman's said to me and I trust him."
Beckford opened the scoring inside three minutes at the Deva Stadium, beginning a torrid evening for a Chester side who were beaten 6-0 by Dagenham and Redbridge in their first League Two fixture of the season on Saturday.
Although Andy Robinson and Robert Snodgrass also made the scoresheet, two sublime finishes completed Beckford's hat-trick and stole the headlines before half-time.
"He should be very proud," said McAllister.
"We do have to remind ourselves that he's a guy who was playing non-league football three years ago. He's come a long way very quickly.
"The first goal was opportunistic, the second was a bit more of a trademark Beckford finish, and the chip was exquisite.
"It showed a lot of technique and ability but also a lot of bravery because you can make yourself look foolish if it doesn't come off."
United led 5-1 at the interval, conceding to a deflected shot from Ryan Lowe which beat Casper Ankergren in the 15th minute, and their place in the second-round draw was always secure despite Lowe producing the only goal after half-time.
McAllister said: "Our objective was purely to get into the next round and you could tell from the side we picked that we were taking it very seriously. We wanted to be in the hat.
"It was shown when we went up to Darlington during pre-season that if your attitude isn't quite right then it can be a great leveller, but we were spot on.
"We're not looking any further than the draw but there are 14 or 15 Premier League clubs coming into the competition now so that could be exciting."
United's manager, meanwhile, offered sympathy to Chester's beleaguered boss Simon Davies, who was left to reflect on a second heavy defeat in the space of four days.
City's first-half performance was followed by the substitution of former Leeds captain Paul Butler at the break, and the gulf in class between the clubs was glaring as Chester's defence were picked off repeatedly during a one-sided first half.
"I said at half-time that the easy thing for us to do was to try and embarrass the opposition, and disrespect them," said McAllister. "That's what I didn't want.
"The only way we could show respect was to try and score more goals rather than sit back."All credit to Chester because they could easily have thrown the towel in.
"It's not the best start for Simon and I definitely feel for him, but they won the second half 1-0 and that's got to be the positive he's emphasising."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

New pages uploaded at

Matches – 25 May 2008 – Doncaster Rovers 1 Leeds United 0

After such an extraordinary season, United were always destined to go right to the wire. They made a first appearance at the new Wembley, but couldn't find the big performance they needed

Read the full story at

Saturday, August 09, 2008

New pages uploaded at

Matches – 15 May 2008 – Carlisle United 0 Leeds United 2

United recover from defeat in the first leg at Elland Road to win a memorable second leg at Brunton Park and book their place in the League One play-off final at Wembley

Read the full story at
Guardian 9/8/08
Late Beckford strike earns points for Leeds
Benjie Goodhart
Leeds United justified their status as League One favourites with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Glanford Park in the Football League's first game of the season. But Gary McAllister's men had to come from behind, securing victory late on thanks to Jermaine Beckford's 80th-minute winner.
Both sides thought they'd secured the honour of scoring the opening goal of the Football League season in a first half that was officially goalless, but short of neither incident nor controversy. Scunthorpe fans were celebrating after 28 minutes when captain Izzy Iriekpen headed home a Grant McCann free-kick, only for the goal to be ruled offside.
It was Leeds, though, who were left fuming at half-time, after Scunthorpe keeper Josh Lillis appeared to fumble Robert Snodgrass's shot over the line. The assistant referee declined to award the goal, to the ill-disguised fury of the Leeds players.
The afternoon got worse for them after half-time, when Scunthorpe took the lead in the 57th minute. Gary Hooper latched on to a Paul Hayes flick and, showing composure from 12 yards, finished neatly beyond Casper Ankegren in the Leeds goal.
The lead only lasted four minutes, however, as Leeds debutants Snodgrass and Enoch Showumni combined to fashion an equaliser. Snodgrass's free-kick from the right saw Showumni first to the ball, heading past the despairing Lillis.With 10 minutes to go, Leeds took a short corner, and played the ball to David Prutton, whose venomous strike from distance rattled the bar. Scunthorpe's escape was only momentary, as Beckford popped up to slot home the rebound and send the Leeds faithful home in good spirits.