Saturday, November 26, 2011

Yorkshire Evening Post 25/11/11
One in, two out on a quiet deadline day for Whites
Simon Grayson gave Leeds United’s squad a vote of confidence after the emergency loan market closed without any new outfield signings or a resolution over the future of Andy O’Brien.
The United manager saw a number of enquiries come to nothing ahead of yesterday’s 5pm deadline but claimed his existing group of players would be “very capable” in the run-up to the January transfer window.
Leeds pulled off one deal by concluding the signing of goalkeeper and free agent Maik Taylor, and last-minute agreements saw Alex Bruce join Huddersfield Town and Paul Rachubka depart for Tranmere Rovers.
But expectations of a development with O’Brien proved unfounded and discussions about his situation were ongoing this morning, seven days after he informed Grayson that he no longer wished to be considered for selection at Elland Road.
The option of transferring O’Brien will be unavailable until the turn of the year but Grayson said he was hopeful of an imminent solution, implying that United will look for a way to sever the centre-back’s contract.
Grayson, who is still to expand on the reasons for his sudden fall-out with O’Brien, said: “It’s not something we’re brushing under the carpet. It’s a delicate situation and we’re just seeing what action needs to be taken.
“Hopefully we’ll get it resolved in the next few days and in the right way. Players contracts are there to be scrutinised.
“People will be wondering what’s gone on but only myself, Andy, the chairman (Ken Bates) and (chief executive) Shaun Harvey know about the situation. We’ll do what’s right, and everyone who thinks they’ve got an opinion or thinks they know what’s gone on will never know until I decide to release the information.”
The United boss rejected the idea that the controversy surrounding O’Brien might have affected other players in the lead-up to tomorrow’s clash with Barnsley at Elland Road, saying: “The squad are in good spirits.
“They’re disappointed by what’s happened but these things do happen in football. All individual players need to do is concentrate on their own performances.”
Taylor could go straight into Grayson’s squad tomorrow after joining Leeds on a short-term contact until January.
The 40-year-old – a Northern Ireland international – was a free agent after leaving Birmingham City in the summer and earned his deal with Leeds during a successful trial at Thorp Arch.
On-loan Reading keeper Alex McCarthy is likely to retain his starting place against Barnsley but Taylor will provide cover for him until Andy Lonergan recovers from a broken finger. McCarthy is expected to return to his parent club next month.
“Maik’s got the experience and the know-how, and we had to cover ourselves,” Grayson said. “If Alex was to go back to Reading, that would have left us with Andy Lonergan and Alex Cairns. Now we’ve got Maik.
“He’s come here as back-up but he’s extremely talented and he’ll be looking to get into the first team.
“We moved on one or two other things yesterday but I still feel we’ve got a squad which is very capable – players coming back from injury and players who are desperate to come into the team.
“The only thing we’d have done was bring in a player who was going to go straight into our first team, not players to make up the numbers. We’ve got enough competition in the squad already.”
Rachubka’s departure made room for Taylor, and the former Blackpool keeper’s loan move to Tranmere came three weeks after his disastrous performance in a 5-0 defeat to Blackpool. He will stay at Prenton Park for the next month.
Bruce, meanwhile, linked up with Yorkshire club Huddersfield until January 2, and Grayson revealed that the temporary deal was completed “with a view to something longer.”
The defender has not made a first-team appearance for Leeds this season.

Bradford Telegraph & Argus 24/11/11
Rachubka and Bruce leave Leeds United on loan
Bill Marshall
Two players have left Leeds United on short-term loan deals this afternoon.
Out-of-favour goalkeeper Paul Rachubka has joined Tranmere Rovers on a month's loan, while defender Alex Bruce has made the short hop to Huddersfield Town, who he is eligible for until January 2.
Rovers' main keeper Owain Fon Williams has broken a hand in training, and manager Les Parry said: "It's really unfortunate for Owain to pick up an injury when he was doing so well for us but we are lucky to be able to bring in a goalkeeper of Paul's experience at short notice.
"I'm grateful to Leeds manager Simon Grayson for allowing him to join us for a month."
Rachubka has made more than 250 appearances in spells with Manchester United, Oldham, Peterborough, Northampton, MK Dons, Huddersfield, Blackpool and Leeds, who he joined in the summer.
The 30-year-old fell out of favour at Elland Road following a string of high-profile errors, culminating in a disastrous 5-0 home defeat against Blackpool in which he was substituted at half-time.
Meanwhile, 27-year-old defender Bruce, who can count Birmingham, Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich among his former clubs, will link up with the Terriers until January 2.
Huddersfield Town manager Lee Clark said: “Alex has played his entire professional career in the Championship or above. He is an inspirational player who is a leader.
“We are looking forward to welcoming him into the squad. We think he’ll add something a little different, he is a very combative defender.”
New pages uploaded at mightyleeds.co.uk

Matches
25 April 1973 – Hajduk Split 0 Leeds United 0

"I have no hesitation in saying that this ranks alongside our display against Ferencvaros in the 1968 Fairs Cup final as our best in Europe." Don Revie assesses United's sterling rearguard action in Yugoslavia

Read the full story at
http://www.mightyleeds.co.uk/matches/19730425.htm


7 April 1973 – Leeds United 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0

With Wembley so close on the brow of the hill, a semi-final is always the most tense moment of the whole competition. Leeds were determined to get there again - a Bremner goal was decisive, as it had been in 1965 and 1970

Read the full story at
http://www.mightyleeds.co.uk/matches/19730407.htm


17 March 1973 – Derby County 0 Leeds United 1

Endless bickering between Don Revie and Brian Clough had not been alleviated by United doing a League double over the Rams, but when a Lorimer thunderbolt settled the Cup encounter it silenced Derby

Read the full story at
http://www.mightyleeds.co.uk/matches/19730317.htm


7 March 1973 – Leeds United 5 Rapid Bucharest 0

The match was every bit as physical as Don Revie had feared, but against a juggling giant jester between the sticks, United gave a masterly exhibition of forward play and ran up five goals without reply

Read the full story at
http://www.mightyleeds.co.uk/matches/19730307.htm


29 January 1973 – Leeds United 5 Norwich City 0

"Clarke sends Norwich reeling" - a man at the very peak of his goalscoring form takes matters in hand and puts Norwich to the sword in the fourth game between the two sides within 17 days

Read the full story at
http://www.mightyleeds.co.uk/matches/19730129.htm


Players

Roque Junior 2003-04

The Brazilian's seven first team appearances yielded four cautions, one dismissal, six defeats, 24 goals conceded and a horribly tarnished CV. His one moment of respite came in the Worthington Cup against Manchester United when he marked the occasion with two goals and a manic conga of celebration.

Read the full story at
http://www.mightyleeds.co.uk/players/roquejunior.htm

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Yorkshire Post 22/11/11
Only reason we employ O’Brien is to play football. He’s resigned as far as I’m concerned – Bates
By Richard Sutcliffe
KEN BATES insists Leeds United have already moved on from the Andy O’Brien row.
The 32-year-old told manager Simon Grayson last Friday that he did not want to play for United again, causing a re-jig of the team to face Burnley just 24 hours later.
O’Brien had been due to start against the Clarets after impressing in United’s 1-0 win at Leicester City a fortnight earlier.
But, following the defender’s bombshell, the Leeds manager instead turned to Darren O’Dea and Paddy Kisnorbo as his central defensive partnership in a game that the Yorkshire club went on to win 2-1 courtesy of two late goals from Robert Snodgrass.
Grayson was delighted to claim all three points but that did not prevent the 40-year-old from lambasting O’Brien and revealing his sense of bewilderment at last week’s dramatic turn of events.
He also added that the former Bradford City defender would “not play for this football club as long as I am here” before adding that the club would decide internally what would happen next. A statement would then, Grayson added, be issued to clarify United’s position sometime this week.
That had not been released by last night but United chairman Bates is adamant the club has already moved on with the focus at Elland Road being on this weekend’s derby with Barnsley.
He said: “If you told the Yorkshire Post that you no longer wanted to write stories for them then I am sure your boss would take that as you having resigned from your employment at the Yorkshire Post. This is no different.
“The only reason Leeds United employ Andy O’Brien is to play football for us. Now, he won’t do that then clearly he no longer wants to work for Leeds United.
“To my mind, that means he has resigned his position. As far as I personally am concerned, Andy O’Brien has left the club and we have moved on.
“We are looking forward without Andy O’Brien and the challenge for the other players is to come in and stake their claim. What happens in the future is what concerns me and not a player who doesn’t want to play for Leeds United.”
West Ham United is a possible destination for O’Brien after the London club were strongly linked with a loan move earlier this month. If Sam Allardyce is to make a move, however, he will have to do so quickly with this Thursday being the deadline for loan signings in the Football League.
Wherever O’Brien ends up, it will represent a sour end to a stay at Leeds that started amid such high promise a little over a year ago. Drafted in to help shore up a defence that had just conceded four goals at home to Cardiff to add to six-goal and five-goal thrashings meted out by Preston and Barnsley respectively, O’Brien enjoyed a winning start after joining on loan from Bolton.
That 4-1 debut win over Scunthorpe United kick-started a 12-game unbeaten run as Grayson’s side were transformed into promotion challengers.
O’Brien missed just two of those dozen games en route to making 30 Championship appearances last term as Leeds just missed out on a place in the play-offs.
He began this season in the starting line-up only to be dropped just two games in after being substituted in the 3-2 Carling Cup win over Bradford City.
While leaving the field, the defender was jeered by the Elland Road crowd.
He played at Doncaster in the Carling Cup but generally failed to make the matchday 16.
That changed at Leicester on November 6 due to O’Dea being out injured and Tom Lees suspended following his red card in the 5-0 capitulation at home to Blackpool four days earlier.
O’Brien’s performance against the Foxes meant Grayson intended playing him at Turf Moor.
Asked about the fallout between player and manager, Bates said: “Where it is disappointing is that O’Brien has had problems in the past and the staff have been very supportive to him.
“Simon recently praised him publicly for how he had trained. And this is the thanks he gets.”
Yorkshire Post 21/11/11
Burnley 1 Leeds United 2: United’s ‘daylight robbery’ delights deadly Snodgrass
By Richard Sutcliffe at Turf Moor
SIX years to the day since Leeds United pulled off one of their finest comebacks of all time, the Yorkshire club were at it again in enemy territory to claim a memorable three points.
This time, Burnley were the unwitting victims as a hard-fought ‘War of the Roses’ clash was dramatically settled by two goals in the final 15 minutes from Robert Snodgrass.
Up until the Scottish international’s late brace, Leeds had hardly been in the game with only on-loan goalkeeper Alex McCarthy preventing the Clarets wrapping up the points.
So dominant were the home side, in fact, that McCarthy even likened United’s dramatic fightback afterwards to “daylight robbery”.
Not, however, that the 3,721 fans who had made the short trip across the Pennines cared a jot about that come the final whistle as they celebrated a victory that was enough to earn a return to the play-off places.
Many of those supporters will have been at Southampton on November 19, 2005, when Leeds somehow overturned a 3-0 deficit with just 19 minutes remaining on the clock to triumph 4-3.
Saturday’s win at Turf Moor, United’s sixth in their last seven visits, may not have been quite in that league.
But what it did do was underline the tremendous character and never-say-die spirit that runs through Simon Grayson’s squad, a quality that goalscoring hero Snodgrass believes could prove crucial in ensuring Leeds improve on last season’s seventh-place finish.
He said: “This team doesn’t know when it is beaten. In many ways, it was deja-vu from last season (when Leeds hit back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Turf Moor).
“Winning like that is always sweet and the lads showed great character to fight back like we did.
“Games like these can be the ones you look back on at the end of a season and think, ‘That made a difference’. It can get teams into the play-offs or even better.”
Snodgrass conceded afterwards that Leeds were far from at their best against the Clarets.
However, he added: “At 1-0, you always have a chance. Certainly, this team does because we have players who can create something a bit different.
“Just look at the two strikers we took off (Andy Keogh and Ross McCormack) and the players that were brought on in their place. Both Ramon Nunez and Luciano Becchio have scored goals in the past.
“That says a lot for the squad we have. Because of that quality, we know that even when not playing well, if we can stay in the match then there is a chance we can sneak something in the 93rd or 94th minute.”
Leeds may not have needed to wait until the final minute of stoppage time to claim the points in Lancashire. But that did not in any way diminish the dramatic nature of the win.
That Grayson’s men were even in the position to launch such a stunning fightback was down entirely to the presence of McCarthy in goal.
Drafted in on loan following the calamitous 5-0 home defeat to Blackpool, the Reading goalkeeper now boasts a 100 per cent record from his first two games in a Leeds shirt.
On his debut, McCarthy kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 win at Leicester City but, in truth, had little to do. Against Burnley, though, the opposite was true with the enterprising play of Eddie Howe’s side meaning the visitors’ goal was never too far from coming under threat.
That McCarthy was equal to most of what the Clarets could throw at him shows why Grayson was so pleased to land the 21-year-old England Under-21 international as a replacement for the injured Andy Lonergan.
The one time McCarthy was beaten, it is doubtful any goalkeeper could have done any better as Jay Rordiguez was left unmarked on 10 minutes to head an enticing cross from Kieran Trippier in from six yards.
After that, though, there was no way past McCarthy whose first telling contribution was to divert a Keith Treacy toe-poke wide midway through the first half.
Two more fine saves followed before the interval to deny Rodriguez and Treacy, the second being a particularly agile effort to keep out a 20-yard shot that was creeping inside the post.
United were more solid after the break but McCarthy still had to hold on to a drilled Treacy free-kick before watching the same player’s always rising pile-driver clip the top of the crossbar.
As United’s loanee battled to keep Burnley at bay, at the other end Lee Grant seemed to be enjoying a much quieter afternoon.
The former Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper was fortunate to avoid a red card after referee Scott Mathieson missed a blatant handball outside the penalty area to block a goalbound Ross McCormack shot.
But, otherwise, Grant had very little to do during the opening 75 minutes apart from beat away a McCormack free-kick during the first half.
All that changed, however, in the final 15 minutes as Leeds finally rediscovered their attacking prowess. The moment that transformed the game came courtesy of a neat Snodgrass finish, the Scot sliding in at the back post to convert a Lloyd Sam cross.
Buoyed to be on level terms, United poured forward in search of a winner that duly arrived a minute from time when Snodgrass again finished from close range to clinch an unlikely three points.
McCarthy admitted: “It was a bit of daylight robbery but sometimes you have to do that at grounds like this. Even if you don’t play well, you have to dig in and stick at it.
“This league is about going away and sometimes nicking results. It could turn out to be a big win for Leeds.”

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mail 19/11/11
Burnley 1 Leeds 2: Late Snodgrass double piles pressure on Clarets boss Howe
A second-half double from Robert Snodgrass secured Leeds an unlikely victory that cranks up the pressure on Burnley boss Eddie Howe.
Simon Grayson's men were looking to move into the play-off places by claiming all three points, but their quest looked set to prove unsuccessful as the Clarets dominated for large periods.
Howe's side were set on their way early on as Jay Rodriguez nodded home.
But despite being under the cosh for much of the clash, the visitors equalised courtesy of Snodgrass's third goal of the season.
And the Scotland international added another in the 88th minute to ensure Leeds made it back-to-back victories.
In contrast, Burnley's third successive loss leaves Howe's position increasingly precarious.
Seemingly refreshed by the recent international break, the visitors started positively and fashioned the first opening when Adam Clayton volleyed just over.
However, their bright start did not last long as the Clarets took the lead in just the ninth minute.
Kieran Trippier was the orchestrator, sending in a teasing cross which Rodriguez nodded past a helpless Alex McCarthy.
The home side pushed for a second and almost got it moments later when Keith Treacy cleverly worked an opening before seeing McCarthy keep out his toe-poke.
But they suffered a blow in the 29th minute when Charlie Austin was forced off through a shoulder injury, handing a debut to Sam Vokes, who joined on loan from Wolves on Friday.
Ross McCormack twice tested Burnley goalkeeper Lee Grant with long-range free-kicks later in the half, but that was all Leeds could muster.
Indeed, the Clarets should have gone into the break two up, but Rodriguez shot straight at McCarthy after getting in behind the backline.
The breathless finish to the half continued as Treacy's sensational 25-yard low strike was kept out by the increasingly busy McCarthy.
Treacy was on hand to test McCarthy once more just after the interval, but the goalkeeper was equal to his 20-yard free-kick.
Treacy must have been starting to wonder what he had to do to score midway through the half, this time being thwarted by the crossbar after producing another thunderous effort.
The home side were left rueing their inability to grab a second in the 75th minute as Lloyd Sam's cross picked out Snodgrass, who slid home at the back post.
Burnley continued to dominate thereafter, with Rodriguez firing just over late on.
And that was to prove costly as, with two minutes remaining, the ball broke to Snodgrass to chest it down at the back post and finish coolly.
BBC 19/11/11
Simon Grayson says Andy O'Brien will never play for Leeds again
Leeds manager Simon Grayson says Andy O'Brien refused to play in the win over Burnley and will never appear for the club again.
Grayson said the defender, who has been heckled by supporters, told him on Friday he did not want to play against the Clarets.
"It came as a shock, especially after I have backed him publicly and privately over the last few weeks," Grayson said.
"He won't play for this football club again as long as I am here."
O'Brien, 32, has made three Championship appearances for Leeds this season, returning to the side in the win over Leicester on 6 November.
Speaking after Leeds' 2-1 victory over the Clarets, Grayson said: "Andy came to me on Friday and said that he no longer wanted to play for this football club.
"I said I needed him to and I thought he played well.
"As manager, I have the right in the early parts of the season to take players out of the team and bring others in.
"I have said that Andy had trained well and did enough to get back into the team against Leicester.
"I don't want to say too much about the circumstances just now but we will decide internally what happens now and make a statement next week."

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Guardian 19/11/11
Robert Snodgrass strikes late to lift Leeds past Burnley
Burnley 1 Leeds United 2
A second-half double from Robert Snodgrass secured Leeds an unlikely victory that cranks up the pressure on the Burnley manager Eddie Howe.
Simon Grayson's men knew a win would move them – at least temporarily – into the play-off places but fell behind in the 10th minute on as Jay Rodriguez headed home. Yet despite struggling for much of the game, Leeds would equalise courtesy of Snodgrass's third goal of the season.
And the Scotland international added another in the 88th minute to ensure Leeds made it back-to-back victories. In contrast, Burnley's third successive loss leaves Howe's position increasingly precarious.
Seemingly refreshed by the recent international break, the visitors started positively and fashioned the first opening when Adam Clayton volleyed just over. However, their bright start did not last long as the Clarets took the lead in just the ninth minute.
Kieran Trippier was the orchestrator, sending in a teasing cross which Rodriguez nodded past a helpless Alex McCarthy. The home side pushed for a second and almost got it moments later when Keith Treacy cleverly worked an opening before seeing McCarthy keep out his toe-poke.
But they suffered a blow in the 29th minute when Charlie Austin was forced off through a shoulder injury, handing a debut to Sam Vokes, who joined on loan from Wolves on Friday.
Ross McCormack twice tested Burnley goalkeeper Lee Grant with long-range free-kicks later in the half, but that was all Leeds could muster. Indeed, the Clarets should have gone into the break two up, but Rodriguez shot straight at McCarthy after getting in behind the backline.
The breathless finish to the half continued as Treacy's sensational 25-yard low strike was kept out by the increasingly busy McCarthy. Treacy was on hand to test McCarthy once more just after the interval, but the goalkeeper was equal to his 20-yard free-kick.
Treacy must have been starting to wonder what he had to do to score midway through the half, this time hitting the crossbar after producing another thunderous effort.
The home side were left rueing their inability to grab a second in the 75th minute as Lloyd Sam's cross picked out Snodgrass, who slid home at the back post. Burnley continued to dominate thereafter, with Rodriguez firing just over late on.
And that was to prove costly as, with two minutes remaining, the ball broke to Snodgrass to chest it down at the back post and finish coolly.
Yorkshire Evening Post 12/11/11
Grayson targeting top two finish
By Leon Wobschall
Simon Grayson admits an automatic promotion berth is very much in Leeds United’s sights in 2011-12.
With a third of the Championship campaign gone, United are right on the fringes of the play-offs in seventh spot, one place and one point better off than they were after the same amount of games – 16 – last season.
A jet-propelled run in the run-up to the festive season last year saw United briefly rise up to second in the table last Christmas and Grayson feels this year’s crop have it well within their capabilities to rise to those giddy heights again – and last the course if they show consistency.
That’s something that only leaders Southampton have truly shown this term, with just six points separating second-placed West Ham and United, who went into the international break on the back of an impressive 1-0 win at Leicester City.
Grayson said: “Being around the play-offs is where we want to be and we expect to be there at the end of the season. But we want to be higher than that and have given ourselves a platform to do that. But like a lot of other teams, we still think we’re capable of getting in that top two.
“It’s a long season and while some wrote us off (before Leicester), we responded in a positive manner.”

Yorkshire Evening Post 10/11/11
Seventh is not good enough - Ken Bates
By Leon Wobschall
Ken Bates insists Leeds United should be higher up in the Championship table than they are – and has confirmed “heart-searching” discussions have been taking place among staff this week to remedy the situation.
With a third of the season gone, United headed into the international break on the back of an impressive 1-0 victory at pre-season promotion favourites Leicester City – to help make up for a 5-0 horror home reverse to Blackpool last Wednesday.
The win pushed Simon Grayson’s troops up to seventh spot, level on points with Pool and Crystal Palace, who occupy the last two play-off spots, but with an inferior goal difference.
While pleased with the Whites’ reaction following an X-rated home performance against Ian Holloway’s Seasiders, chairman Bates feels United should have a higher points tally and be in a loftier position.
Bates said: “Well you have got to commend it, but you also have got to do soul-searching on why we have lost the games we’ve lost and why have we drawn the games we’ve drawn.
“And, without being too critical, the fact of the matter is we have lost games rather than be beaten.
“We have given away the points rather than them being earned by the opposition and that’s something that we’ve had too much of and it’s got to stop.
“There are discussions going on this week, heart-searching in the backroom to decide what we can do to improve the situation because we should be higher than we are.”

Monday, November 07, 2011

Yorkshire Evening Post 7/11/11
Leicester City v Leeds United: Whites enjoy the last laugh
By Phil Hay
Leicester City did not stoop to the depths of showing footage of Leeds United’s massacre at the hands of Blackpool before the game against the Elland Road club.
Sympathetically, they chose to replay their own rout of Leeds in 2003 when Roque Junior played the part of Paul Rachubka.
United have been at the mercy of ridicule this week but there were no jokes on them in Leicester. A picture-book goal from Adam Clayton at the King Power Stadium washed away the bloodstains of their capitulation to Blackpool.
Clayton’s 20-yard finish in the 69th minute, curled beautifully into the top corner of Kasper Schmeichel’s net, forced a victory from a game which had a goalless scoreline written all over it and gave manager Simon Grayson something to delight in at the end of an unedifying week. Those who know him and his team well could not have been surprised by the strength of their response.
Clear chances were few in Leicester which, after the concession of five goals against Blackpool, must have quietly pleased Grayson. United had a feeling of the unfamiliar about them with a new goalkeeper and a changed defence centring around Andy O’Brien and Patrick Kisnorbo, but they rode the disruption seamlessly. When Clayton’s moment came he exploited it with outstanding quality and took Leicester’s prized scalp.
Leeds were eye-to-eye with an expensive team but one who could use the vision and authority of a new manager. Their defeat to United signalled the end of the tenure of Mike Stowell and Jon Rudkin, both of whom have held the fort as caretakers since the sacking of Sven Goran Eriksson. Leeds were not alone in lacking proper impetus before kick-off and Leicester lack it still.
The signing of Alex McCarthy on loan from Reading was Grayson’s answer to the demise of Rachubka, who remained at home while United’s squad journeyed to the Midlands.
It is not at all clear whether Rachubka’s career at Elland Road will survive his implosion in Wednesday night’s sorry defeat to Blackpool.
Rachubka shouldered nine-tenths of the blame for United’s midweek thrashing but a return of five points from five league games could not be seen in the context of his goalkeeping alone. Leeds began yesterday’s match in 11th position in the Championship but finished it in seventh. The international break will be more relaxing than it might otherwise have been.
United confronted two former players in Leicester, striker Jermaine Beckford who described his dramatic time at Leeds as “the most amazing experience I’ve been through in my life” in yesterday’s official programme, and goalkeeper Schmeichel who offered no such compliments. Schmeichel started while Beckford hovered in wait on the bench.
His involvement became increasingly likely as a tight first half wore on, but it did not take long for McCarthy to understand why Grayson had moved for him so urgently. He was exposed after four minutes when David Nugent tore away from Kisnorbo before making a mess of a glaring invitation to score, and Leicester’s next attack ended with a volley from Steve Howard which dropped three feet over McCarthy’s crossbar.
Grayson might not have liked the look of those chances but his players warmed to the fight with Robert Snodgrass testing Schmeichel’s handling from 20 yards and Ross McCormack playing Andy Keogh in behind Leicester’s defence. The imposing Sol Bamba sprinted back to fend the striker off inside City’s box.
McCarthy’s first involvement came in the 16th minute when Richie Wellens’ cross threatened to creep under his bar, forcing the keeper to punch it behind, but he did not have a save to make until he smothered a Nugent volley five minutes before the break. Grayson was instead left feeling that the lead should have been United’s through a chance which fell to McCormack 18 minutes in.
The striker appeared inside Schmeichel’s area after Bamba scrambled to get his head to an Aidan White cross but McCormack snatched at the ball and lifted it into the crowd. His finishing touch – so reliable earlier in the season – has diminished somewhat in the past month.
Contest
Clayton, too, sliced the ball wide from a promising position on the edge of the box and there was more than a hint of a foul on McCormack by Lee Peltier as a Snodgrass delivery flew over the penalty spot. Referee Oliver Langford, who by then had issued the first booking of the contest to Wellens, awarded nothing more than a goal kick. Speculative efforts from Danny Pugh and Paul Gallagher continued the exchange of half-chances, and Gallagher should have tested McCarthy when Nugent passed him into space in front of the keeper. The winger struggled to bring the ball under control and side-footed it over.
Grayson held his breath in injury-time when White drove an ill-advised pass against the body of Danns and watched the midfielder run clear, but Danns, like Nugent in the fourth minute, lacked the composure to draw blood in the shadow of the break. It would have flattered Leicester to disappear for the break a goal to the good.
The match looked destined to continue in that vein, even when Leicester turned the screw briefly around the hour mark. Keogh did his best to punish a poor clearance from Schmeichel and Danns hooked a volley onto the roof of McCarthy’s net but mis-controls and stray passes were rife on both sides.
McCormack produced another scuffed finish after a Connolly cross fell to him three yards from goal but, in a game of so little quality, Clayton took it upon himself to rise above the mediocrity when he pounced on Matt Mills’ clearance and curled it with supreme precision beyond Schmeichel. Even a keeper of McCarthy’s height would not have reached it.
Leicester reacted in obvious fashion and turned to Beckford for the final 16 minutes. Their attacks grew frantic and desperate, throwing up rebounds and ricochets but failing to properly test McCarthy’s nerve. In front of him, Grayson’s defence wore their hearts on their sleeves, unbroken at the end of five additional minutes.

Sky 6/11/11
Grayson happy with response
Whites boss hails his players
Leeds boss Simon Grayson was delighted by his side's reponse from the midweek defeat to Blackpool with victory over Leicester.
The Whites conceded five home goals for just the second time in their history on Wednesday, but left the Midlands in far better spirits thanks to Adam Clayton's wonder strike midway through the second half.
Grayson admitted he was not surprised at how his players bounced back from the humbling at home to Blackpool as they picked up an impressive win over Leicester.
Response
"I'm delighted. We've been at both ends of the spectrum with a 5-0 thumping and then today," he said.
"Wednesday was difficult to take, but I got the response I expected. It was a really good team performance.
"We were dogged, resilient and created some good chances. Leicester are a good team and we showed we have a lot of character and spirit amongst the group.
"That performance doesn't show me anything new," Grayson added.
"I see the players every day in training and nine out of 10 times we always seem to respond to disappointments.
"We had a 4-0 drubbing against Cardiff last season and then went on a long unbeaten run. There was a desire to succeed today."
Grayson had to reshuffle his defence on Sunday to deal with the fallout of the Blackpool result.
Goalkeeper Paul Rachubka was axed following his three calamitous errors - loanee Alex McCarthy debuting - and veteran Andy O'Brien was drafted in for a first appearance since August.
O'Brien was booed off by his own supporters during a Carling Cup tie earlier in the season, and Grayson was pleased to see him impress on his return to the side.
O'Brien praise
"The two centre-halves (O'Brien and Patrick Kisnorbo) have not played so much over recent weeks and months and they were outstanding," Grayson said.
"Andy O'Brien has been training really well and deserved his place in the team. He is a tough character and has worked hard. I backed him and he backed me with his performance."

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Mail 6/11/11
Leicester 0 Leeds 1: Clayton gives United the edge over managerless Foxes
Adam Clayton's second-half wonder strike helped Leeds banish the memories of their midweek defeat to Blackpool and give managerless Leicester another headache heading into the international break.
Leeds conceded five at home for just the second time in their history in losing to the Seasiders on Wednesday and would have probably taken a morale-boosting 0-0 draw here were it to have been offered to them before kick-off.
But when they became the first of the sides to take a tepid game by the scruff of its neck with Clayton's 25-yard curler with 69 minutes gone, a maximum-point haul was a reality and their notoriously fragile defence held out to secure a first win over Leicester in nine attempts.
They were rarely tested by Leicester, though, who did not force debutant goalkeeper Alex McCarthy into a meaningful save all afternoon.
A consequence of that was a second loss in three games for caretaker managers Jon Rudkin and Mike Stowell and, although the club were today remaining tight-lipped over an approach for Hull's Nigel Pearson, a permanent successor to Sven-Goran Eriksson will surely be in place by the time City face Crystal Palace in a fortnight's time.
Paul Rachubka, whose three calamitous moments underpinned Leeds' midweek nightmare, was dropped in one of just two changes made by manager Simon Grayson, while Rudkin and Stowell stuck with the side that beat Burnley on Tuesday.
McCarthy, who joined from Reading on Friday, could not have wished for an easier debut in truth, and that was the case from the first whistle, with his only real involvement early on being witness to a Steve Howard half-volley looping over his bar.
At the other end, Leeds' strike pair of Andy Keogh and Ross McCormack both succeeded in turning and getting in behind the Leicester defence, but hesitated and were quickly shut down when a run at goal would have been the better option.
McCarthy then turned a cute Andy King cross-shot over his bar, before McCormack wasted the first genuine opening of the game when he drilled over from 12 yards after an Aidy White cross fell to him with 18 minutes gone.
The Scot's failure to score what would have been an 11th of the season did not signal the start of an open period, though, and the game remained tight and was played largely in the midfield.
When opportunities did come, Leicester's Paul Gallagher and Leeds' Danny Pugh dragged them wide.
White was nearly caught out in the first-half injury time when he was robbed by Neil Danns on halfway but, much like Keogh and McCormack before him, Danns could not make the best of the space ahead of him and was crowed out by Jonny Howson.
The pedestrian nature of the game continued into the second half, and a half-hearted scoop from Danns that landed on the top of McCarthy's net was the closest either side went in the opening 15 minutes.
It was going to take something special to break the deadlock and Clayton's strike was just that.
Leeds worked the ball wide to Pugh and, after his scuffed cross was cleared, Clayton curled the loose ball beyond Kasper Schmeichel from 25 yards, giving the former United stopper no chance as he found the top right-hand corner.
Leicester immediately sent on £3million striker Jermaine Beckford, who scored 85 goals in 132 starts during a four-year spell at Leeds, but even his arrival could not help fashion a chance for the home side who left the field to a chorus of boos.

Sporting Life 6/11/11
GRAYSON HAPPY TO BOUNCE BACK
Simon Grayson was not surprised to see his Leeds side respond to their midweek mauling by Blackpool with an impressive 1-0 win at Leicester.
The Whites conceded five home goals for just the second time in their history on Wednesday, but left the Midlands in far better spirits thanks to Adam Clayton's wonder strike midway through the second half.
Such responses have been a hallmark of Grayson's three years in charge of the club - last year they went on a 12-game unbeaten run following a 4-0 home defeat to Cardiff - and the former Leicester skipper fully expected his players to perform in the manner they did.
"I'm delighted. We've been at both ends of the spectrum with a 5-0 thumping and then this," he said.
"Wednesday was difficult to take, but I got the response I expected. It was a really good team performance. We were dogged, resilient and created some good chances. Leicester are a good team and we showed we have a lot of character and spirit amongst the group."
Clayton's 69th-minute winner was the only real moment of quality in what was a tepid game. He curled a 25-yarder beyond the reach of former Leeds keeper Kasper Schmeichel to give his side a first win at Leicester since goals from Mark Viduka and Robbie Fowler secured a 2-0 success nine years ago.
"That performance doesn't show me anything new," Grayson added.
"I see the players every day in training and nine out of 10 times we always seem to respond to disappointments. We had a 4-0 drubbing against Cardiff last season and then went on a long unbeaten run. There was a desire to succeed today."
Grayson had to reshuffle his defence to deal with the fallout of the Blackpool result. Goalkeeper Paul Rachubka was axed following his three calamitous errors - loanee Alex McCarthy debuting - and veteran Andy O'Brien was drafted in for a first appearance since August.
O'Brien was booed off by his own supporters during a Carling Cup tie earlier in the season, and Grayson was pleased to see him impress on his return to the side.
"The two centre-halves (O'Brien and Patrick Kisnorbo) have not played so much over recent weeks and months and they were outstanding," Grayson said.
"Andy O'Brien has been training really well and deserved his place in the team. He is a tough character an has worked hard. I backed him and he backed me with his performance."
Leicester's caretaker manager team of Jon Rudkin and Mike Stowell took charge of the Foxes for a third time, but oversaw a second defeat since the departure of Sven-Goran Eriksson.
City officials were remaining tight-lipped over a reported approach for Hull's Nigel Pearson - the club's title-winning manager in 2009 - but Stowell was not willing to debate who his paymasters were courting, largely because he does not know himself.
"It's been two weeks now and there are two weeks until the next match. Who knows?" said Stowell, who will continue in his role on Monday in preparation for the next game against Crystal Palace in a fortnight's time.
"The owners are doing a good job and interviewing and taking their time. As long as they want us in charge, we'll take charge.
"We haven't spoken to the owners at all, but football continues and there are people to train. We have no idea (what's happening). You would have to ask the owners.
"I'm not getting on the subject of possible managers. Nigel wouldn't want us speculating about him. He's a very good manager and an excellent bloke."

Friday, November 04, 2011

BBC 4/11/11
Leeds United agree loan deal for keeper Alex McCarthy
Leeds have signed England Under-21 keeper Alex McCarthy on a month's loan from Championship rivals Reading.
With first-choice Andy Lonergan injured, Leeds boss Simon Grayson decided he needed extra cover after the 5-0 midweek loss to Blackpool.
"They are keen for him to play games and hopefully his loan spell here will help with his development," Grayson told Reading's website.
McCarthy goes straight into the squad for Sunday's game at Leicester.
And he could be handed a place in the starting line-up after three mistakes by Paul Rachubka against Blackpool, which all resulted in goals, saw him replaced in the second half by youth-team keeper Alex Cairns.
Leeds fans may remember McCarthy following his man-of-the-match performance for Reading at Elland Road in last season's 0-0 draw.
I need to give Alex more games and more experience of this level so that was the thinking behind it
Reading boss Brian McDermott
And Reading boss Brian McDermott admitted he was in two minds about letting him move, albeit temporarily.
"We had a phone call from Leeds and Alex was excited about the possibility of going there," McDermott told BBC Radio Berkshire.
"I spoke to Simon Grayson and I think in this case I have to do right by Alex McCarthy. He has done really well for me and I have three keepers at the club who are capable of playing in the Championship.
"I need to give Alex more games and more experience of this level so that was the thinking behind it.
"It was a tough call but I think in the long term for Reading and for Alex it's the right call."

From Europe to Yeovil 3/11/11
Rachubka enters Elland Road Hall of Shame
by lufcjames
Pay peanuts, you get monkeys. That was the phrase that kept going around my head as I watched the worst individual performance in my time as a Leeds United fan.
Let’s make no bones about it, Paul Rachubka was utterly atrocious tonight. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It is not as if he was peppered with shots. Blackpool were playing some nice football but didn’t have a shot to speak of before the first goal.
I felt as if I was reliving the Preston nightmare all over again during that first half. That gut-wrenching feeling of helplessness as you watch your beloved team fall apart in front of your eyes felt oh so familiar as I watched Rachubka gift Blackpool the points.
The first goal was similar to the one conceded at Birmingham, Rachubka palming a shot which came at a comfortable height straight into the striker’s path. One shot on target, one follow-up, one goal – a familiar tale with Rachubka between the sticks.
The second one, well, does it get any worse than that? Rachubka came to claim a routine cross and ended up making the most monumental cock-up you are ever likely to see, leaving poor Tom Lees having to take one for the team. The decision to award the penalty and send Lees off was debatable but utterly believable in the context of the game. It was one of those nights.
Rachubka has a terrible problem collecting crosses at waist-height. He dropped one in the dying seconds against Coventry, another against Birmingham and topped the lot with that tonight. We are talking about basic goalkeeping, the very basics. I felt sorry for the outfield players, their spirit was crushed during that first half.
The third one was coming a mile off, he shouldn’t have still been on the field. Simon Grayson needs to take some responsibility. Rachubka’s confidence was cleared shot after gifting Coventry a late equaliser. He looked dodgy against Peterborough, again at Birmingham and was hardly convincing against Cardiff. We should have been looking to get another keeper in a couple of weeks ago. I like Grayson but he tends to be reactive rather than proactive. Any manager worth his salt should have seen this performance coming.
For me, it isn’t all about tonight, this goes back to the summer and our distinct lack of ambition in the transfer market. While other sides were signalling their intent with eye-catching signings, we were sat on our hands, making the odd uninspiring signing, like Blackpool’s third-choice goalkeeper.
It is tough to gauge anything from tonight’s game. It is fair to say Blackpool were on top before the first goal and we struggled to get into the game. Grayson should have freshened things up going into the game, we looked lacklustre again early doors. The fact he didn’t tells me he doesn’t trust the fringe players.
However, we had ten men for large parts and Rachubka gifted Blackpool three goals. He threw the game away and let his team-mates down badly. They looked as shell-shocked as the fans when the third one went in.
I will openly admit booing Rachubka and shouting for Grayson to get him off. With hindsight, I know that didn’t help the situation at all. This is football though and emotions are running high. I appreciate booing him is bad, however, I would have to say clapping him is just as bad. If I performed like that at work I can’t imagine I would get a round of applause as I cleared my desk.
I was one of those who stayed until the end tonight and it hurt like hell. As I have said, it was like reliving Preston all over again. I made myself stay to the end, because I know it will be all the sweeter when the good feelings come back around. MOT.

Guardian 2/11/11
Jonjo Shelvey hits hat-trick in Blackpool rout of 10-man Leeds United
Leeds United 0 Blackpool 5
Paul Rachubka was hauled off at half-time after a pair of costly errors by the goalkeeper sent 10-man Leeds spiralling towards a heavy 5-0 defeat by Blackpool at Elland Road.
Jonjo Shelvey scored a hat-trick for Blackpool and Lomana LuaLua struck twice on his first start for the club, but despite overcoming consecutive defeats with an at-times swashbuckling display, Ian Holloway's men had more than a little help from Rachubka.
Signed after his release by Blackpool this summer, Rachubka has endured a tough introduction to the Leeds first team since Andy Lonergan suffered a fractured finger last month.
He was publicly backed by the manager, Simon Grayson, after a mistake gave Coventry a 1-1 draw at Elland Road, but his shaky form has continued and his manager was in less conciliatory mood, substituting Rachubka in favour of 18-year-old Alex Cairns, who made his professional debut at the start of the second half.
After LuaLua's opener, Rachubka spilled a routine catch, leading to Tom Lees's dismissal for deliberate handball and Shelvey's first, from the penalty spot.
On-loan Liverpool playmaker Shelvey scored his second goal when Rachubka dropped a LuaLua shot at his feet, and both he and LuaLua scored a goal apiece in the second half, to make it an uncomfortable night for Grayson against the club he left in acrimonious circumstances in December 2008.
Leeds had the game's first opening when the Blackpool goalkeeper Matt Gilks failed to hold a Robert Snodgrass free-kick from deep on the right flank. Patrick Kisnorbo, starting in place of the injured Darren O'Dea, reacted quickest in a crowded penalty area but was thwarted first by Gilks and then the centre-back Craig Cathcart.
Blackpool sprang up the other end to open the scoring when Stephen Crainey's delightful through-ball released Shelvey in the inside-left position. His shot was parried by Rachubka towards LuaLua, who slotted home the 13th-minute rebound.
The Seasiders doubled their advantage in farcical circumstances after 27 minutes. Rachubka dropped a routine cross from Alex Baptiste, Ludovic Sylvestre looked to pounce and Lees handled the goalbound shot. Shelvey emphatically finished from the spot only for the referee Roger East to rule out the effort for encroachment. Unruffled, the Liverpool man calmly stroked his second effort beyond Rachubka's dive into the bottom corner, and the former Charlton youngster would benefit from an even simpler opportunity four minutes later.
LuaLua drove speculatively from 25 yards and Rachubka spilled the shot, leaving Shelvey to round the prone, beleaguered goalkeeper and make it three.
The academy product Cairns was given a raucous reception as he commenced his warm-up and a section of the home fans made their feelings clear 10 minutes before half-time, booing as Rachubka received a back-pass.
The introduction of Luciano Becchio and Cairns briefly buoyed Leeds as the second half began. Gilks rushed from his line to avert danger when Adam Clayton burst through the Seasiders' defence, and top scorer Ross McCormack had a shot blocked, with optimistic penalty shouts falling on deaf ears.
Cairns received his second ovation of the night for a routine save from Shelvey, but he was left with no chance in the 65th minute when LuaLua cut inside Paul Connelly and lashed into the top corner.
The substitute Angel Martínez then played through Shelvey to clinically complete his hat-trick with 12 minutes remaining.
Yorkshire Eveing Post 31/10/11
Leeds United v Cardiff City: A point is least Whites deserve
By Phil Hay
Leeds United’s miserable record against Cardiff City is such that a draw in this fixture is generally seen to be worth its weight in gold.
Simon Grayson knows his history like any of Leeds supporters but yesterday’s result at Elland Road will not dissuade him from thinking that Cardiff have a charmed existence whenever they find themselves in United’s line of fire.
Robert Snodgrass averted a seventh successive defeat at the hands of the Welsh club with a well-earned goal on 73 minutes, but despite the timing of his equaliser, the draw salvaged was not exactly a point gained. Close though Cardiff were to a predictable victory – they last lost to Leeds in 1984 – both it and the final result depended on a mistake by Darren O’Dea and the outstanding agility of their goalkeeper, David Marshall.
O’Dea has been something of an unsung hero in the past fortnight, scoring against Coventry City and producing the most dramatic of winners at Peterborough United, but his recent warning to Leeds that heroes can become villains in the blink of an eye was sadly demonstrated by Cardiff’s goal.
His error was reminiscent of the misunderstanding between Kasper Schmeichel and Alex Bruce which set Cardiff on their way at Elland Road 12 months ago. A 4-0 defeat followed on that demoralising October night and Leeds were spared a beating on that scale, but O’Dea’s failure to run a loose ball out of play on 17 minutes threatened Leeds with the same fate. Joe Mason punished it gleefully amid claims that he had forced O’Dea’s blunder with a sly push in the back.
Recover
United had enough time to recover from that but found Marshall as immovable as they had Boaz Myhill in Birmingham last Wednesday. The Scot totted up a list of exceptional saves, the best a one-handed parry from Jonathan Howson, and United appeared to be headbutting a wall until they smashed their way through with a Snodgrass tap-in.
Snodgrass’ selection was never in question once doubts about his injured back eased but it was less certain that Grayson would leave his team unchanged yesterday. United had not looked jaded as such against Birmingham City but Grayson’s players lacked their trademark invention and spark in an ill-deserved loss.
While ex-Cardiff forward Ross McCormack led United’s line, Kenny Miller was unable to do the same for Cardiff. The striker received 20 stitches in a head wound during City’s recent win over Barnsley and, despite plans to protect him with an improvised head guard, Malky Mackay left Miller on the bench. Robert Earnshaw sat beside him.
Cardiff had the support of only 360 fans behind them – a turnout which still enlisted a huge police presence at Elland Road – and United saw their smallest home attendance since February 2010. Those who stayed away and chose not to watch Sky’s live broadcast avoided a frustrating but compelling match.
Chances materialised from the outset, as the attacking look of both squads suggested they would, and Cardiff’s initial stab in the fourth minute at Paul Rachubka called for a lively save from United’s goalkeeper.
Andrew Taylor stretched Leeds down the left wing and cut the ball back to Aron Gunnarsson on the edge of the box. Rachubka reached out with his left hand to force Gunnarsson’s measured shot around his net, passing an immediate test of his concentration. Several others followed.
That moment alone promised the sort of cavalier football which Leeds and Cardiff are synonymous with. Marshall made his first save three minutes later, diving to parry Andy Keogh’s header after Mark Hudson incurred a free-kick and a booking by fouling McCormack, and a timely block inside United’s area prevented Peter Whittingham’s volley from troubling Rachubka after Gunnarsson’s long throw-in fell kindly to him.
Cardiff’s early opportunities were of their own making but their goal in the 17th minute owed everything to a misjudgement from O’Dea, who allowed a through-ball from Peter Whittingham to dribble away from him with Mason breathing down his neck. Mason rounded an exposed Rachubka and scuffed a shot into the net before Tom Lees could intervene.
O’Dea had no time to ponder his mistake as Cardiff attempted to turn the screw, and he made a necessary intervention at the far post to prevent Ben Turner nodding a Whittingham corner into the net. But, after taking a moment to clear their heads, Leeds brought pressure to bear on Marshall and forced Cardiff to defend Mason’s strike desperately.
Marshall nudged a Snodgrass header around his left-hand post after Keogh flicked on an Aidan White cross, and shots from Snodgrass and Danny Pugh were deflected away from goal amid organised chaos around Cardiff’s goal. Mackay’s players survived it through luck more than design.
O’Dea, however, had shown increasing signs of concussion and, after twice dropping to his haunches with his head in his hands, he admitted defeat and made way for Patrick Kisnorbo. Leeds appeared to be having one of those days and Grayson looked on as an inviting cross from Paul Connolly slipped beyond Keogh and McCormack six yards from goal.
Jonathan Howson made a final effort to force an equaliser before half-time, driving a shot against the leg of Hudson after the centre-back headed down a long ball from Adam Clayton, but the scoreline drew Grayson into an important discussion at the interval.
Half-time was marked by the appearance on the pitch of Howard Wilkinson and several members of United’s 1991-92 title-winning squad, among them Gordon Strachan and Gary McAllister. Inspired by that or not, Leeds began to dictate the game with authority after the restart, and Marshall denied Snodgrass on 51 minutes by standing up to the winger’s fierce volley.
The keeper excelled again when he got a hand to McCormack’s delicate finish, scrambling it wide, and the spate of attacks harnessed a crowd who had been flat and subdued before then. Clayton saw a vicious attempt from 25 yards tipped over the bar and watched another volley deflect wide.
The corner which followed gave Howson a free header six yards out but Marshall’s low parry with one hand was worthy of any victory. With that save, Cardiff looked destined to reach the other side of a gathering storm but they cracked in the 73rd minute as Lees cushioned down Kisnorbo’s free-kick and Snodgrass ran in to tuck away the bouncing ball.
Grayson sensed that the game was there to be won and Lees had the chance to do so when he glanced Lloyd Sam’s cross beyond the far post. Hudson could also have snatched three points against the run of play with a late header. Deep down at full-time Grayson knew the outcome could easily have been better. The record books prove that it could have been worse.