Leeds United 2 – 1 Burnley: Late winner ends Winter losing streakBy: Thomas Hill | January 2nd, 2012
There is no other feeling in football like a last minute winner for your side. And today’s winner from Ross McCormack gave every fan the same buzz and boy did Simon Grayson need a victory. The walk to the ground was filled with thoughts of what would Grayson do, and would he be sacked if we lose. But for now Grayson looks set to stay which for me is good news…but I’ll save that rant for later.
Grayson did make changes, five to be precise. Andros Townsend made his debut after his loan move from Spurs, Alex Bruce, Luciano Becchio and Adam Clayton also returned.
Leeds lost Patrick Kisnorbo early on due to injury after he fell awkwardly after challenging for a header. After a lengthy delay Kisnorbo was unable to return into the action, and Lloyd Sam replaced him. The change saw Bruce go to CB, and Thompson move to Right back. The captain’s armband went to Andy Lonergan who was called into action straight after the injury, tipping over a Jay Rodriguez effort.
New signing Andros Townsend was causing mayhem down the left wing with his mazy runs and pace. That mayhem resulted in Kieran Trippier being shown his marching orders after picking up his second yellow for a foul just outside the box. The rest of the first half fizzled out, both teams had shots from range but going into HT Leeds looked solid enough, but were just lacking that edge up top.
Leeds started the second half brightly and were growing in confidence as the minutes ticked by. Townsend was causing more and more mayhem with his runs, and Nunez was also finding space just outside the box. Aidy White was bombing forward from left-back and Leeds were pretty much doing everything apart from finding the net. Zac Thompson also went close from right-back when he pushed up to support the play and saw his shot go just wide.
Yet from nowhere and despite all the pressure Burnley took the lead thanks to some poor defending…we’ve heard that before. Darren O’Dea’s clearance was poor and Charlie Austin turned on a sixpence to fire home past Andy Lonergan. The Leeds team and fans were stunned and there was no sudden support from the crowd…how times have changed this season.
Mikael Forssell and Ross McCormack were thrown on to try and salvage something from the game, but both found it difficult to carve out any real opportunity due to the solid Burnley defence. Forssell then had a chance on the turn, but his shot sailed over the bar. The equaliser did come though in the most fortunate of circumstances. The worst corner of the match from Adam Clayton, took a deflection off Brian Easton and Leeds were level. The momentum swung back in favour of Leeds and the crowd were desperate for an attack.
It looked like Lloyd Sam had won the game from my seat in the Kop, however his shot missed the post by a whisker. But in dying seconds Leeds snatched it to send the Leeds crowd into raptures. Andros Townsend’s shot was spilled by Grant and the ball fell to Ross McCormack who blasted the ball into the net from barely two yards out. The scenes after the goal were great to see, the players were delighted and the Grayson celebration was ‘Mourinhoesque’.
Despite certain comments from fans I thought we deserved the victory. Burnley were unlucky with the dismissal, and defended well as a unit. Yet as much as people will moan all you can do is beat what is in front of you and today that was ten men who for me were pretty poor. Kisnorbo’s injury could be a blessing in disguise, he is the weak link at the back and has been all season. For the defence to improve he has to go. Zac Thompson would have been MOM, if it wouldn’t have been for the stunning performance from Andros Townsend who looks a quality signing on loan. It is only his first game, but if he can do similar things for the rest of the season we will be a dangerous outfit.
Becchio and Nunez looked sharper than they have in previous games, but they just lacked that final touch in the box. Nunez for me drifts far too much and likes to play where he wants, he needs to adapt to the league and English football a lot more for me. In the current situation the performance was irrelevant, the win was all that mattered to get the monkey off our backs as they say. Now Grayson must sign some new players, and sell any dead wood or unwanted players. Whether he can do that and how successful it will be only time will tell, but after all he has done for the club he deserves a chance.
Marching on together!