|Leeds United 2 v 1 Bristol City
Saturday, 7th October 2023 Kick-off 15:00
Farke sees room for improvement despite consecutive wins
Monday, 9th Oct 2023 21:28 by Tim Whelan
For the second time in four days Leeds should won a match by far more than a one goal margin. Naturally Daniel Farke was delighted with the three points we earned against Bristol City, but he has had to admit that it does get frustrating when we don’t take our chances and kill teams off well before the end.
The manager told LUTV “We could’ve made our life much easier if we’d have converted more from our amazing chances. I can’t complain about anything performance wise, we have played against a really solid side who hasn’t been conceding away from home, we have scored twice and created more chances than any other team against them.
“Our effectiveness is definitely something we have to work on, it would calm my nerves down and would make our lives easier. I can’t argue against the three points, it is a good three points for us and leaves us in a good situation. It’s not important where you are after 11 games though, there is space for improvement.” And Joel Piroe echoed these thoughts, also when speaking to LUTV.
“I could have scored more to make it a little bit easier for ourselves, but I’m always happy to be on the scoresheet. Before we conceded in the last seconds of the first half, if we were up two or three nil, it would have been a different game and I’m not sure if they would have had the confidence or power to score against us. There are things which we can improve in our overall game play, but it will be good to have a little break to work things out and be even better and score more.”
Farke made one surprise change to the starting line-up , with Ayling dropped to the bench with Kamara coming in and Archie Gray moving to right back. The young man has played there before for England junior teams and he didn’t look out of place at all, but it doesn’t say much for Ayling’s long-term future if Farke would rather play a midfielder there out of position.
As this was the first league match that neither Cooper nor Ayling had started, Strujk had to be captain for the first time since the trip to Salford, which is a sign of his growing importance to this Leeds United side. The other change saw Dan James restored to the side in place of Anthony, who had been nursing a knock for the previous couple of games.
Even though Brizzle had come to Leeds with a decent run of results behind them, Leeds were to dominate possession, but once again we failed to convert a good deal of our chances. Most notably when Summerville’s cross from the left found Rutter right in front of goal, but somehow he managed to send it over the bar. To be kind, the ball might have taken a bobble at the last second, while the pace of the ball could have denied him the time he needed to react.
There were firmly struck shots from Ampadu and Piroe that were too close to the keeper, but we finally took the lead in the 37th minute. Rutter was on his way down after a challenge, but still managed to hook the ball across the face of goal, and when it was deflected out to James at the far post the Welshman made no mistake.
But just when it seemed we would go into the break with a well deserved lead, the visitors managed to snatch an equaliser from a corner. I thought Kamara should have done better in front of Naismith, but the Bristol man got to the ball and directed his header into the far corner. Farke was later to admit that at that moment he felt like kicking the water bottles on the touchline, but knew that he couldn’t show such frustration in front of his players.
After the manner of the equaliser and Rutter’s miss it would have been incredibly annoying if we hadn’t gone on to win this game, but the players kept their heads and as the second half began we were dominating possession once again. And on 53 minutes we were back in front. Piroe’s shot went through a crowd of players into the corner, with O’Leary rather slow to react, though the keeper may well have seen it rather late.
But it always felt that we needed a further goal to seal the game, and with Rutter working hard to atone for his earlier miss, he set up two great chances for Summerville. One was tipped onto a post by O’Leary and unfortunately came out again, and then the Dutchman narrowly failed to stretch far enough to get the touch he needed to a dangerous ball across the face of the goal. Then when Rutter did get the ball in the net himself he was denied by the offside flag.
So the chance was still there for Bristol City to sneak a point if they could manage another goal from a set piece, and this would have come to pass if Byram hadn’t been perfectly positioned to head the ball off the line. In the last ten minutes Farke went for experience to see the game out, with Bamford, Cooper and Ayling coming off the bench. This trio have all had their critics on social media, but they must have done something right this time.
Bamford could have sealed the win in the closing stages, but seemed unsure whether to shoot or cross, possibly due to a bit of rustiness after being out for so long. But Bristol didn’t seriously threaten again, and after Anthony and Gruev also made late substitute appearances we held on to take all three points.
The main thing is the win, although we could rue the missed opportunity to improve our goal difference. We could easily have scored three more goals in the last two games, and that would have taken us above Sunderland into fourth place. But the biggest problem is still the consistency of the top two, as in most seasons our 19 points from 11 games would have us well within range of the automatic promotion slots.
There’s still plenty of time to close the gap, and with Farke promising to work on our forward play during the international break, we can look forward to the trip to his former club when the Championship resumes in two weeks time.
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