Saturday, 1 October 2011

Match Report Leeds 1 Portsmouth 0

Simon Grayson welcomed Paul Connolly back to his starting line-up for the first time since August on a day when the weather was more suited to the height of summer than the 1st of October.Leigh Bromby dropped to the bench with Tom Lees switching to centre-back. Paddy Kisnorbo missed out due to illness.The recalled Connolly almost carved out the first chance of the game when he sent in a good cross from the right, and Joel Ward had to clear the danger.Another cross from the right caused problems when Ross McCormack was denied after a good ball by Robert Snodgrass. That proved the cue for successive corners, and United went in from the second of those.Snodgrass was the provider with a good delivery and Danny Pugh found space to head home into an empty goal to put Leeds ahead.Snodgrass was causing all sorts of mayhem down the right and his next mazy run resulted in a low ball being drilled just wide of the upright.The opening half-hour was all Leeds, and Pugh went close again when he had a shot deflected wide.But the visitors did carve out an opening when Andy Lonergan was called upon to make a terrific save to claw a Greg Halford header away. When the ball was pumped back in, Halford again got up well, and his header rattled the woodwork.

But Leeds responded with McCormack sending a in a low ball and Tal Ben Haim had to clear over his own bar.
It was a good opening half from Leeds, who consistently looked a threat, particularly down the right with Snodgrass, and McCormack causing problems.
Adam Clayton was also busy in the middle of the park and he tried his luck with one effort which flew over the top.
Portsmouth offered little, but Jason Pearce led claims for a penalty when he went down as a ball came into the box, and Lonergan had to get down well to save one free-kick which was driven past the wall.
United's lead was well deserved at the interval, but the opening moments of the second period were always going to be vital in the quest for a fourth successive home league win.
And it was the visitors who opened up brightly, Liam Lawrence looking lively on the right, but Leeds were soon back on the front and Jonny Howson almost picked out Clayton with a ball into the box.
United fashioned out a half-chance on the hour when Pugh sent in a decent cross for Keogh, but the striker had to react under pressure and turned his shot wide.
With 22 minutes remaining, Grayson made his first change, introducing Luciano Becchio for Keogh.
The second half was more of a war of attrition than anything with little in the way of any clear cut chances being created. Leeds were holding the upper hand as the game entered the final 15 minutes, though.
Joel Ward did lift a shot over the bar for the visitors on 75 minutes after the visitors threatened and moments later Grayson made his final changes, bringing on Finnish duo Mika Vayrynen and Mikael Forssell for the impressive Snodgrass and McCormack.
As the game headed towards the final whistle, Forssell and Becchio linked up well and the Finn forced a great save from Stephen Henderson to thwart a certain goal.
Forssell also picked out Howson in the first minute of stoppage time, but Henderson got down well to deny the United captain.
At ther other end, Lonergan had to scramble back to tip over an audacious attempt from Lawrence and United had to deal with the corner before going on to record a fourth successive home league win, and a first clean sheet of the season.

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