Saturday, 4 December 2010


While the majority of games in the north fell victim to the weather, Project Buckingham (get the Palace on) paid dividends with United getting the go-ahead to take on Crystal Palace.
United boss Simon Grayson made one change to his starting line-up with Andrew Hughes stepping for the suspended Paul Connolly.
Neil Kilkenny against Palace
Palace arrived on the back of three wins from four while United were unbeaten in six, and Grayson's men were celebrating inside the opening five minutes until a late offside flag curtailed the joy.
Jonny Howson latched on to a ball over the top and finished well, but the youngster was celebrating in front of the South Stand by the time the flag was spotted for offside.
It was Max Gradel who played Howson in and TV pictures suggested David Wright may have been playing Howson onside.
Leeds certainly started the game brightly, though, and were looking to make early inroads into Palace.
The early dominance was United's, Bradley Johnson had a free-kick deflected wide before Antony Gardner blocked a Robert Snodgrass shot.
Shortly before the half-hour, Julian Speroni was called upon to save well from Howson after another good move by Leeds.
Palace responded by going close with a header from a set-play and it was certainly a lively opening 35 minutes or so.
Johnson had another shot blocked and Alassane N'Diaye had to make an important clearance after some great build-up play.
And United came within a whisker of opening the scoring on 38 minutes. Lucianio Becchio was unable to control a superb cut-back from Snodgrass and Gradel sent the follow-up wide.
Leeds continued to dominate the game and really put Palace under the cosh in the period leading up to the interval.
Unbelievably, it was the visitors who snatched the lead two minutes before the interval. Palace broke quickly via Nathaniel Clyne, and Neil Danns was able to convert the full-back's low cross from close range. 
And in first half stoppage time, Kasper Schmeichel was called upon to save well from Darren Ambrose with a well-struck free-kick.
The goal was a blow, but United started the second half on the front foot and Speroni reacted well to palm an Andy O'Brien header over the top before a flag was raised for a foul.
Ten minutes into the second half, Grayson introduced both Lloyd Sam and Ross McCormack and changed his system to a 4-4-2. A;lmost immediately, Kilkenny forced a save from Speroni after good work by Sam.
The Palace keeper made another great save to deny Becchio after more good work by Leeds.
The visitors were still looking to exploit any gaps as Leeds pressed, and Danns screwed a shot wide when presented with a decent chance.
United responded with Sam forcing Speroni into making a good save and moments later MCormack got on the end of a ball over the top to slot home, but an offside flag denied Leeds again.
With 13 minutes left, Grayson added further firepower with Billy Paynter replacing Andrew Hughesas he looked to force a result.
Paynter had two opportunities within moments, the first coming when he was unable to direct his header on target, but the scores were soon level.
McCartney and Paynter headed a Kilkenny corner back into the box, and Becchio got the decisive touch to level the scores.
And it was 2-1 within the space of two minutes. McCormack was fouled while looking to escape on goal, but Becchio seized on the loose ball as advantage was played and Speroni had no chance.
Four minutes of stoppage time sparked a frenetic ending, United had some defending to do as Palace looked to salvage point, but it took a fine save from Speroni to deny Paynter his first goal in a Leeds shirt.
But two goals were enough as United made it seven games unbeaten.

No comments:

Post a Comment