Leeds United set off to Derby full of confidence having just won three games in a row in the league. Neil Warnock made one enforced change to his side as Jerome Thomas missed out through injury and Ryan Hall, who provided two assists last week, came into the side in his place. The other change was that Paul Green had been handed the captains armband as he faced his former side.
The first half was a drab affair and I don't think either side deserved to be in front at the interval. It looked as though the home side were going to go into the dressing rooms one up though after Conor Sammon wrong footed Paddy Kenny to hit the back of the net. The goal came after a free-kick was awarded and despite the ball appearing to be still rolling, play was allowed to go on and the striker, on loan from Premier League Wigan put Derby in front. Derby had a few more half chances but personally I didn't feel the home side were being overly threatening and so when Paul Green scored against his former club to level the scores up moments before half-time, I thought it was fair.
A long ball pumped forward was nodded down nicely by United's top scorer Luciano Becchio and Paul Green got there before the keeper to ensure the scores were level at the interval. The Whites started the second half much better than they had the first and Leeds fans could be forgiven for thinking the game was going to go the same way as the Huddersfield game had a week beforehand. Ryan Hall almost squeezed the ball home but unfortunately for Leeds, the ball was cleared thanks to a desperate clearance on the line. Ross McCormack was the next to go close as United looked to make their early dominance pay. However, his overhead kick attempt was just missing any real contact, had it received that the ball was destined for the net.
That chance spelt the end of United's domination as Derby looked to get back into proceedings. Will Hughes, the Derby youngster, walked through United's non-existent defence but couldn't beat Paddy Kenny in the Leeds goal who made a good save. The game was there for the taking and it looked as if the home side wanted it more when on 66 minutes they were back in front. Some poor defending saw the ball break to Richard Keogh, a target of Neil Warnock during the summer, and his shot was guided into the back of the net by Jake Buxton.
To United's credit, they didn't lay down and die and they had chances to get their second equaliser of the game. Following some good build up play, the ball found its way to David Norris who struck the ball well on the half volley. However, Norris' powerful effort was met by the keeper and it wasn't to be for Leeds. Luke Varney, El-Hadji Diouf and Aidan White were all thrown on and Diouf provided the cross from which Tom Lees saw his header come back of the post. Diouf, whose contract runs out at the end of the month also sent a powerful effort just wide as time started to get the better of United. Unfortunately for Leeds all their efforts for an equaliser were in vein when in the final minute of the game the home side netted their third. It was Ben Davies with the goal for Derby who finished the game as 3-1 winners.
So United's winning run comes to an end against a team who were there for the taking. Unfortunately you can't deny Derby deserved the win on the day but it doesn't make it any less frustrating. Nevertheless, I think most Leeds fans would have taken 9 points out of 12 before the Crystal Palace game and there is a chance to make up for it when Mick McCarthy's Ipswich come to Elland Road next Saturday.