Leeds draw at Hull in a dreadful game
Wednesday, 31st Jan 2018 11:52 by Tim Whelan
Hull City 0 Leeds United 0. A special report from our man at the Beamback, clutching his free pint of coca-cola.
I wasn’t one of the 2,097 Leeds fans who managed to get a ticket for this game, so I did the next best thing and headed for the beamback at Elland Road. There I could sit back and admire the sight of hundreds of empty seats in the stand opposite the camera, which we could have used if Hull had had the sense to offer us a bigger allocation in the way Ipswich did a few weeks ago.
Not that I was concerned about Hull City missing out on the extra income they could have earned from this game, while I happily put my hard-earned cash into Leeds United instead at the Pavillion. This time the pre-match speakers were Tony Dorigo and Bobby Davison. Our favourite Italian-Aussie England international seemed a natural behind the mike, but I found Davison rather less intelligible.
And then the evening started to go downhill, as the match began. Leeds made two changes to the starting line-up, the first seeing Forshaw coming in for his debut. The other was enforced, with Shaughnessy coming in for the suspended Liam Cooper, apparently after Pennington had pulled up injured shortly before the start of the game.
In the opening minutes of the game Hull went close after Fraizer Campbell skipped past Shaughnessy rather too easily, but sent his shot wide of the far post. And in the process of twisting to try and catch up with Campbell, Shaughnessy had landed awkwardly and proved to be unable to continue. He was stretchered off to be replaced by Stuart Dallas, who went to right back for the first time in his career, while Berardi moved to central defence.
And then not a lot happened. The game became increasingly scrappy as both sides struggled for fluency, possibly affected by the Rugby League markings still visible on the pitch as they kept kicking the ball into touch. (Or is it just Rugby Union when they do that?) Unlike the words of the song, Vieira was frequently giving the ball away, and Hernandez wasn’t much better.
Up front Roofe was completely anonymous and the high balls punted towards Lasogga were ineffective as Hull’s Dawson won pretty much everything in the air. The LUTV commentator suggested we try to move the ball quickly on the ground to exploit Dawson’s lack of pace, but that was beyond the wit of anyone out there on the field.
At the other end Hull continued to produce the better of what chances there were, but Wiedwald was defying his many critics and having a good game. He produced two good saves in quick succession to deny Bowen and Dicko, and as half-time approached he kept out another effort from Bowen, this time with his legs.
We all hoped the game would improve in the second half, but all we got was more of the same. In the early minutes of the half Hull missed the clearest chance of the whole game, after Wiedwald got a touch on Grosicki’s cross as Dicko slid in. That was just enough to ensure that Dicko could only get the top of his head to the ball, somehow sending it over the bar from only six yards out. The proverbial ‘it was easier to score’ moment.
Despite that incredible let-off, I thought that Hull were so poor that Leeds really ought to be able to win the game, even with this eleven that was below par due to injury and suspension. But all we got was frustration, as move after move broke down due to poor passing. A couple of times I could feel myself starting to nod off, only to be woken up by my own irritation with the Leeds performance.
It took 71 minutes for Leeds to create a decent chance, when Lassoga created a bit of space for himself outside the box but sent his shot wide, not quite managing to curl it enough to take it into the top corner. A while later Alioski was set up by Berardi’s header from a free kick, but the Macedonian tripped over the ball rather than producing a decent shot, and another chance had gone.
Alioski then sent a left footed shot over the bar, but that was his last contribution before he was substituted by Sacko, and as we went into injury time the third change saw Roofe replaced by Cibicki. I still thought Leeds could nick the game, but in injury time it was the Tigers who came closest to taking the points, with Wiedwald forced into yet another fine save by Campbell.
After the game Eddie Gray and Thomas Christansen seemed to be happy with the draw, but really this was the sort of game that we need to win if we are to get back into the top six. To draw away to one of the top sides is a decent result, but we should aim to beat the struggling teams both home and away.
Hull were low on confidence and should have been there for the taking, but on that performance you couldn’t say we deserved to win the game, and we have to admit that the home side produced the better chances. On the plus side, it made a pleasant change to keep eleven men on the field, and at least the draw has stopped our run of defeats.
But Pontus Jansson picked up another booking and I think that leaves him one short of a suspension, so it looks like we’re fast running out of central defenders. We can but hope that Pennington is fit to face Cardiff on Saturday, and that by the time we’ve got back to a full strength team we won’t have drifted too far away from the top six.
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