Leedsunited.com 14/12/09
MIXED EMOTIONS AFTER BRENTFORD STALEMATE
Leeds United manager Simon Grayson was left with mixed emotions after seeing his side collect another important league point at Brentford on Saturday.
The boss was delighted to see his side leave Griffin Park with another clean sheet, following the 0-0 draw, but felt his side were the more deserving winners of what was a scrappy contest.
"We knew it would be a difficult place to go," said the United manager.
"With the conditions and the way they lined-up with one up front we knew we would have to change things to express ourselves. It was a good test.
"Their keeper made a great save from Jermaine in the first half, and maybe if that had gone in, things would have opened up a bit.
"In the first half we didn't quite get the composure we needed and sometimes we rushed it a bit. At times, we didn't quite get to the level we wanted to, but we still created the better chances.
"We were always trying to win the game - and if not, pick up a point and come away with a clean sheet. Had one of our chances gone in I think we would have won quite comfortably.
"In the end, we didn't win, but we picked up another point, and we'll draw on the positives, and get ready for Tuesday now."

Yorkshire Evening Post 14/12/09
Brentford v Leeds United: Whites happy to make point
By Phil Hay
With a public house on each of the stadium's four corners, Griffin Park is renowned for the bars which surround it.
Leeds United were more concerned with those inside the stadium on Saturday, namely the crossbars which came between their players and a victory over Brentford. By those slender margins were two points lost, narrowing in turn the advantage held by Leeds over the persistent mob below them in League One.
The extent to which they deserved better than a draw was open to debate after an unremarkable game affected throughout by Brentford's formation and the heaviest pitch United have seen for some time, but this was a rare occasion when United's manager, Simon Grayson, seemed only moderately satisfied with the outcome.
"We've created the best chances and hit the woodwork twice," he said. "But if we don't win then the next best thing is to draw."
His theory is solid and United have lived by it since August. With the halfway point of the season two matches away, there is still just one league defeat to show for the ground that Leeds have covered, a record with which Grayson can easily defend himself.
"We can't win every game," he remarked pointedly, though at times the club have appeared capable of doing precisely that.
Their draw at Griffin Park was by no measure a poor result but it was underwhelming by their own standards and meaningful in terms of their division. Last weekend's draw with Huddersfield Town was Charlton Athletic's first invitation for several weeks to hack away at United's advantage, and they did so again on Saturday, closing to within two points of the league's long-time leaders.
United's protection is two-fold – a useful game in hand and a more substantial lead over Norwich City, the team who are presently most likely to infringe on League One's automatic promotion places. But, after consecutive draws, Grayson might prefer for the encouragement to stop here.
Defeating an improving club in Southampton at Elland Road this weekend would allow his Christmas lunch to taste as satisfying as it possibly can. His squad have been adept at prising victories from venues like Griffin Park this season and, were it not for shots from Jermaine Beckford and Luciano Becchio striking the bar at the start of each half instead of stretching Brentford's net, another would have been forthcoming in London.
Beckford later missed the type of one-on-one chance he usually scores with his eyes closed, a third moment when Leeds smelt blood but were unable to finish off Andy Scott's team. For that, Brentford's defensive performance and general organisation was also responsible, every bit as good as their record at home suggested it would be.
The playing surface at Griffin Park was patchy to begin with and cut up horribly towards the end of the game, and Scott's strategy of flooding the midfield was employed with one aim in mind, but whatever opinion can be taken of their tactics, they were skilfully implemented.
Not until the start of the second half did Leeds begin to bully a defence built around two proficient centre-backs in Leon Legge and Pim Balkestein. That description could also be applied to the middle of United's defence, where Leigh Bromby and the incomparable Patrick Kisnorbo ensured that, whether they scored or not, United would leave London with at least a point. Grayson has come to value that guarantee this season.
Jonathan Howson hacked a loose ball away from United's goalline in the second minute, but Leeds' goalkeeper, Casper Ankergren, became a passenger after that, required to do the bare minimum and was tightly guarded by his defence.
For 45 minutes, both he and Wojciech Szczesny were thoroughly peripheral, save for one crucial moment.
Szczesny, Brentford's on-loan Arsenal keeper, rescued Brentford in the sixth minute when he gloved Beckford's shot onto his bar, denying the striker after a header from Michael Doyle caught the home defence square and unaware of Beckford's run into the box.
Brentford heeded the warning and did not allow United's regular source of goals to roam freely again until the start of the second half when Grayson's words of wisdom seemed to inject a greater sense of urgency into Leeds' performance.
Prior to the break, the only other moments of interest were a disturbance in one section of the home crowd and a scuffle in Ankergren's box between Kisnorbo and Charlie MacDonald, the Brentford striker. MacDonald's first reaction was to claim a penalty after he and Kisnorbo went to ground but, as the Australian remonstrated with him, MacDonald appeared to swing an arm at Kisnorbo, an act which went unpunished by referee Darren Deadman, despite him seeking the advice of one of his linesmen.
Deadman's performance and those of his assistants were a disruptive factor that the game did not need, frustrating both benches and allowing a heated undercurrent to develop in the second half. It takes a certain kind of referee to annoy Grayson to the point of public criticism, but a manager who is generally reticent about officials made plain his dissatisfaction with Deadman's handling of the game. "I'll make my opinion known to the people who matter with my marks," he said.
As the second half gathered momentum, it seemed unlikely that Deadman's influence would matter. Becchio stabbed a left-footed shot onto the top of Szczesny's bar in the 49th minute after seizing on Max Gradel's knockdown, and Gradel himself went close with two shots which carried beyond the keeper's right-hand post.
Amid the growing pressure, Howson unravelled Brentford's defence with a neat through-ball in the 55th minute which found Beckford onside and unhindered as he ran towards Szczesny's area. The striker appeared to consider rounding the Pole but chose to shoot at the first opportunity, driving a low shot against Szczesny's legs. Grayson has lost count of the number of times that Beckford has clinically buried opportunities like that.
It was the game's best chance by some distance, and Leeds were unable to create better despite the late introduction of Hogan Ephraim and Tresor Kandol, whose physical presence kept Brentford honest but did not force the hosts to crack. His header wide in injury-time was a vain attempt to steal a win.
News arrived soon after of Charlton's win at Stockport County but Howson, United's captain on Saturday, was unperturbed. "We're in a great position," he said. "If you'd offered us nil-nil beforehand, we might have taken it."
Therein lies United's luxury.

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