Showing posts from April, 2011
Guardian 30/4/11 Leeds United 1 Burnley 0 The Scottish striker, Ross McCormack, making only his fifth start of the season, provided an emphatic first-half finish as Leeds clinched their first win in six matches to climb seventh in the table, level on points with Nottingham Forest, who play Scunthorpe later today. Simon Grayson's side leapfrogged Burnley in the process and inflicted on the Clarets their first defeat in five matches, leaving them two poi nts adrift of the last play-off spot that Forest can all but make their own with victory over Scunthorpe. Burnley had won three of their last four games to give their travelling fans genuine hope of gatecrashing the top six and played their full part, with only a last-minute fingertip save from Leeds goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel from substitute Ross Wallace's free-kick denying Eddie Howe's side a share of the points. Midfielder Neil Kilkenny, on-loan Sunderland right-back George McCartney and striker McCormack returned for Le
Yorkshire Evening Post 30/4/11 Gradel wins back fans after ‘mad’ moment By Phil Hay The votes cast for Max Gradel in this year’s YEP player-of-the-year poll all carried an identical theme. To quote one specific comment: “Never before has a player owed so much and delivered so much more.” An apology to Sir Winston Churchill is due, but the point still stands. The player of the year for 2010-11 is an improbable winner. When I meet Gradel at United’s training ground, it is the first thing he says. “The fans voting for me is not what I imagined. Not this time last season.” Gradel would prefer not to talk about last season, or the way it finished for him. But when he starts, he can hardly stop himself. Crazy, mad, stupid and horrible – his self-analysis is scathing and he does not attempt to spread the blame. “It felt like the end of the world,” he said. “I’d like to never think of it again.” The story of the red card shown to Gradel on the last day of the 2009-10 season does not need revis
Yorkshire Post 27/4/11 Ken Bates and Leeds United shift focus onto next year By Richard Sutcliffe KEN BATES has revealed Leeds United’s plans for next season are already gathering pace due to the club’s involvement in the Championship play-offs now seeming “unlikely”. A haul of just six points from the last eight games has seen United go from chasing automatic promotion to being three points adrift of the top six.Sitting ninth in the table, Simon Grayson’s side need to win their final two matches – at home to Burnley on Saturday and at leaders QPR a week later – to have any hope of reclaiming a play-off place come May 7. Leeds, who were sitting pretty in second place at Christmas, are still hoping to force their way into the top six but Bates admits thoughts are already turning to next season and the bolstering of the Elland Road squad.The United chairman last night told the Yorkshire Post : “Last August, we would have taken a top 10 place after winning promotion but, of course, in foo
Yorkshire Evening Post 26/4/11 We’ll fight to the finish - Grayson By Phil Hay Leeds United manager Simon Grayson spoke of a “quiet and flat dressing room” after another away loss left the club down and almost out of the race for a Championship play-off place. Grayson refused to admit defeat in the fight for a top-six finish but conceded that United’s fate was wholly reliant on other clubs with two league games remaining. Leeds’ season is on the verge of a disappointing conclusion following yesterday’s 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace, a result which cut them three points adrift of sixth position. The result in south London extended United’s poor run of form to one win from nine league matches, dropping the club to ninth, and their term rests precariously on Saturday’s home clash against promotion rivals Burnley. Grayson’s squad will be out of the running for a play-off spot if they lose to the Clarets at Elland Road, one of just two fixtures they have to overturn the advantage currently h
Mail 25/4/11 Crystal Palace 1 Leeds 0: Danns' early strike edges Eagles closer to Championship safety By Sami Mokbel Simon Grayson came close to calling time on Leeds’ promotion tilt after his side suffered a devastating defeat against Crystal Palace. Neil Danns’ second-minute goal was enough to secure all three points, and virtually guaranteed Palace’s Championship status. Palace looked destined for the drop when Freedman replaced sacked George Burley in January. Now only a nine-goal swing from Sheffield United or an 18-goal turnaround from Scunthorpe could condemn Palace to relegation. However, Freedman’s route to survival was the last thing on Grayson’s mind last night as he came to terms with a defeat that looks to have ended his side’s battle to earn a play-off spot. Leeds are three points adrift of sixth-placed Nottingham Forest with only games against Burnley and QPR to follow. ‘We know it’s out of our hands now,’ admitted Grayson. ‘We are relying on other results going our
Bradford Telegraph & Argus 25/4/11 Leeds United fading out of play-off hunt Crystal Palace 1, Leeds Utd 0 Leeds crashed to their fourth away defeat in a row and slipped to ninth in the Championship table after losing 1-0 at Crystal Palace. Nottingham Forest stay in the final play-off spot after beating Bristol City – while Millwall and Burnley climbed above Leeds, who are now three points behind sixth-placed Forest. United’s 5,000 travelling fans could hardly believe how lacklustre their side were, lacking inspiration and toiling in the heat against a side threatened with relegation. With games against Burnley and leaders QPR to come and a poor goal difference, the odds are against Leeds making the play-offs – but manager Simon Grayson will not give up hope until it is mathematically certain. He said: “Until it’s impossible, we’ll keep going. But whatever happens, we can look back on a good season and if we don’t make the play-offs we’ll use this season as experience
Yorkshire Evening Post 23/4/11 Leeds United v Reading: Unlucky Whites end Royals ascent By Phil Hay The theory went that Reading’s sequence of victories was bound to run its course eventually, and their spectacular run met its end. How much value Leeds United can place on a goalless stalemate will only become clear in a fortnight’s time. Parity with Reading is not to be sniffed at, not when their previous eight league fixtures ended in resounding wins, but the point accrued by Leeds at Elland Road only achieved so much. It fell short of defending their long-held play-off position, snatched by Nottingham Forest in the night’s earlier kick-off with three games to play. United shook themselves free of the mediocrity responsible for defeats to Millwall and Derby County and an unconvincing draw with Watford, and their willingness to fight fire with fire told the club’s manager, Simon Grayson, that his players are far from giving up the ghost. The same could be said of a crowd which dropped
Telegraph 22/4/11 Leeds United 0 Reading 0: match report Simon Grayson insisted Leeds United’s bid for a return to the Premier League remains alive, despite seeing his team drop out of the top six for the first time since November after Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy’s stunning performance denied the home side a crucial victory. McCarthy produced three reflex saves to frustrate the Championship’s 78-goal top scorers, who were knocked out of the play-off positions by Nottingham Forest’s dramatic late win at home to Leicester earlier in the day. But with three games left to play, Leeds manager Grayson believes his team can now benefit from the pressure on those clubs ahead of them in the play-off pack. Grayson said: “It’s disappointing to drop out of the top six because we wanted to stay there, but it’s where we finish in two weeks’ time that matters. “We have a big game at Crystal Palace on Monday, but maybe the press
Yorkshire Post 18/4/11 Grayson is still confident Leeds can claim spot in the play-offs Simon Grayson By Richard Sutcliffe Manager Simon Grayson believes the biggest threat to Leeds United’s Championship play-off hopes is not any of the chasing pack but his own team. The Elland Road club’s tendency to press the self-destruct button has been a major feature of this season’s Championship. It was evident again on Saturday when, for the 10th time this term, Leeds dropped points after having taken the lead, Watford hitting back to claim a 2-2 draw. The result meant Grayson’s men were able to double their advantage over nearest challengers Nottingham Forest to two points with four games to go. But, with Hull City and Burnley both having won, the over-riding feeling at the final whistle was that the Yorkshire club had wasted a golden opportunity to strengthen their grip on sixth place. Grayson said: “The day just about epitomis
Yorkshire Evening Post 18/4/11 Leeds United v Watford: Slice of luck is not enough for Whites By Phil Hay Troy Deeney’s rash own goal gifted Leeds United a point but it was the equivalent of passing the club an umbrella after the rain had fallen. Must-win went the theory before kick-off, and a scrambled draw with Watford fell a long way short. Whether Leeds will do the same in the leg-race for the Championship’s play-offs is a matter of opinion. Simon Grayson says not, as any sensible manager would, but he looks less convinced than he once did and the statistics don’t lie. Four points taken from five matches and goals leaking at their usual rate. In the longer-term, six wins accrued since the club looked down from second position on Christmas Day. Grayson was troubled enough to describe United as a danger to themselves. Saturday’s game, like Tuesday’s loss to Derby, was well within Leeds’ capacity to win. United led with 1
Mail 16/4/11 Leeds 2 Watford 2: Late Deeney leveller revives United's stuttering play-off bid Leeds managed to keep their stuttering play-off bid alive with a home draw against Watford, but were left to thank an 88th-minute own goal by Troy Deeney after their defence had looked as though it had thrown away the game. Going into the contest with just one win in their last five, Simon Grayson's men could feel the chasing back breathing down their necks as they clung on to sixth place, and it looked as though they had bought themselves some breathing space when substitute Luciano Becchio headed home his 20th of the season to make it 2-1 with 19 minutes left. But, as has often been the case for the Whites this season, where their attack has excelled their defence has failed and so it proved again as Lee Hodson nipped in unmarked to level for Watford seven minutes later. Danny Graham then outmuscled Andy O'Brien to p
Yorkshire Evening Post 13/4/11 Derby County v Leeds United: Wilting Whites feeling the pressure By Phil Hay Twists and turns, Simon Grayson promised, and successive defeats to Millwall and Derby County have turned Leeds United’s season for the worse. Beaten at Millwall on Saturday, and beaten without their customary resilience, Leeds succumbed to Derby County last night on an evening when respite seemed to be at hand. Rarely has Grayson seen victory ripped from his grasp as swiftly or brutally as it was at Pride Park. If nothing else, United’s manager can always rely on his team for a goal, and no source is more reliable these days than the feet of Max Gradel. When the winger brought a key Championship fixture to the boil with a special finish in the 58th minute, Grayson saw a clear path ahead. Five minutes later, defeat was unexpectedly in the air. Swift replies from Jamie Ward and Ben Davies, created by a Derby side who appeared to pose no threat of a comeback, consigned Leeds to a l
Sporting Life 12/4/11 GRAYSON CRITICISES NAIVE LEEDS Simon Grayson slammed his "naive" Leeds side after they slumped to a third consecutive away defeat but he remains confident they can still secure promotion to the Barclays Premier League. The Whites are now eight points behind second-placed Cardiff with five games remaining after they surrendered a lead to lose 2-1 at Derby. Max Gradel fired the visitors in front at Pride Park but goals from Jamie Ward and a stunning volley from Ben Davies consigned Leeds to a defeat which leaves them just a point above seventh-placed Nottingham Forest. Grayson admitted his side are up against it in their bid to secure automatic promotion but the former Blackpool boss is still confident they can make it back-to-back promotions. He said: "Until it's mathematically impossible we'll keep going but obviously back-to-back defeats is going to make it difficult. "We've just got to keep working hard, we've got a big game a
Bradford Telegraph & Argus 12/4/11 Yet more midweek misery for Leeds United John Wray Derby County 2 Leeds United 1 Leeds suffered more Tuesday night blues as lowly Derby gained the win their manager Nigel Clough said they needed for Championship safety. United have won only one of their last nine Tuesday night matches and they badly need a win against Watford at Elland Road on Saturday to revive their promotion bid, with the chasing pack snapping at their heels in the race for play-off places. After a goalless first half, Max Gradel fired Leeds into a 58th-minute lead but two goals in just over a minute by Jamie Ward and Ben Davies were enough to give Derby the points. United, who have now lost four of their last five away games, made two changes, Neil Kilkenny and Barry Bannan replacing Bradley Johnson and the injured Robert Snodgrass. Kilkenny had something to prove after being left out of the last three starting line-ups and the Australian international won possession before li
Mail 9/4/11 Millwall 3 Leeds United 2: Pride for Lions as play-off charge gathers pace Millwall continued their march towards the npower Championship play-offs as goals from James Henry, Liam Trotter and Steve Morison sank Leeds. Henry blasted the Lions into the lead with a spectacular free-kick and Trotter doubled the advantage with a tap-in before the interval. Luciano Becchio pulled one back for Leeds early in the second half, but Wales striker Morison made the points safe before Andy O'Brien scored with the last kick of the match. These two sides have become big rivals in recent years, having both made heavy weather of getting out of League One until they were eventually promoted last season. They could be on course to meet in the play-offs again with Leeds' hopes of automatic promotion fading fast. The opening stages at a raucous, sold-out Den were typically scrappy but Henry lit up the game with his superb strike after 24 minutes. Jonathan Howson fouled Kevin Lisbie on th
Guardian 2/4/11 Leeds United romp to victory against 10-man Nottingham Forest Nottingham Forest are to appeal against defender Chris Cohen's first-half dismissal, which proved to be a key moment in their 4-1 defeat away to Leeds. The game turned in the home side's favour in the 35th minute, when the referee, Mark Halsey, showed Cohen a red card for his lunging tackle on George McCartney in front of a furious home dug-out. Forest's assistant manager, David Kelly, was so incensed by the decision that he refused to shake Simon Grayson's hand after the match. The Leeds captain, Jonny Howson, broke the deadlock in the 51st minute and Luciano Becchio headed home a second six minutes later. But substitute Garath McCleary curled home a brilliant effort to throw 10-man Forest a lifeline in the 65th minute and Leeds looked jittery. Only after Max Gradel lashed home his first goal from the edge of the area in the 74th minute could the home fans breath more easily and Gradel pounce