Leeds United's midweek curse continued last night as they dropped another two points at the hands of Barnsley.
Out of the possible 27 points available in midweek games, Leeds have taken just four, all of them being draws. Last night they were poor, and it was painful to watch. Grayson's men still can't defend simple situations and it is costing us dearly.
Leeds were unchanged for the third consecutive game, which came as a surprise to me as I thought Grayson would have rested a couple of players for the Swansea game on Saturday. Those fans still getting their drinks and food for the match will have missed the first goal, it came within the second minute from some poor defending, shocking I know. George McCartney failed to clear and Jason Shackell was at the far post to tap in from close range.
Leeds were then awarded a free-kick just outside the box, Gradel and Snodders had a little debate on who should take it, Max won and he was very unlucky not to draw the Whites level. The ball hit the bar, then the keeper and went out for a corner. In the 23rd minute Leeds were finally level after some good work from Neil Kilkenny, which makes a change. The Aussie swung his cross to the far post and Luciano was at the back post to nod his header into an empty net.
Leeds were unlucky not to go ahead, after Howson had a go from range but we got a dubious penalty after Max Gradel fell over in the box. From the Kop it looked like he and the defender had just tangled each other up, but the inconsistent Clattenburg gave the spot-kick. Gradel stepped up and powered the ball into the top corner, to make it 2-1 Leeds.
After the break Leeds started no better and conceded less than five minutes into the second half. The Leeds midfield were nowhere to be seen as Trippier fed Hill who placed his shot past the helpless Schmeichel. It got worse for Leeds when Bradley Johnson was sent off for two bookable offences. The second looked a little soft, but he knew he had to be careful and was reckless.
With ten men Leeds were looking tired and clueless, the more the match went on the more restless the crowd became. Grayson mixed things up by bringing on Sanchez Watt and Davide Somma. Watt made an instant impact when he set up Gradel for his second goal. Gradel turned his man inside the box before firing his shot across the goal into the top corner, an excellent finish by a man on the top of his game right now. Watt was then at fault, he stupidly gave a free-kick away at the edge of the box and received a yellow card. Trippier stepped up and placed the ball into the back of the net, through the wall which opened kindly and past Schmeichel.
United were then lucky to hold at the end with Barnsley unlucky not to score after a goalmouth scramble. The game finished 3 - 3 and it was yet another disappointing result, poor defensive errors cost Leeds once again, and at home. The players looked tired, and there was little cover for the back four. Grayson needs to sign a midfielder that is going to break things up in the middle of the park, which is what Leeds have needed all season.
Man of the match
Leeds' best player on the night was Max Gradel, he grabbed two good goals and as usual worked his socks off. Overall though Kieran Trippier was instrumental for Barnsley he was involved in every goal and was a threat constantly for the Whites.
Schmeichel - 6 - Made some important saves during the match, fans blamed him for 3rd goal but his wall moved nothing he can do.
Lichaj - 6 - Looked a little nervous at time but showed his quality on occasions to get us out of trouble in dangerous situations.
O'Brien - 6 - Was a little but reckless last night, instead of remaining calm panicked and kept adding to the pressure we were already under.
Bruce - 6 - Average game, put under pressure due to midfield but handled it well.
McCartney - 5 - Another poor game, his fault for the first goal, slow to get back, couldn't pass a ball unless it was backwards.
Snodgrass - 6 - Looked shattered and couldn't get in the game, should have been marking his man for their second goal.
Howson - 7 - Tried his heart out once again, was unlucky not to score himself.
Kilkenny - 6 - Only positive aspect of his game was his assist for Becchio, apart from that slowed the game down, got caught in possession on too many occasions.
Johnson - 6 - Sent off for two soft fouls, should have stayed on his feet though. Won a few tackles during the game but gave the ball away as usual.
Gradel - 9 - Scored two good goals, was up and down the pitch supporting attack and then defence. Just needs to learn to cross more instead of trying to beat the same man twice.
Becchio - 7 - Scored a goal but didn't really do anything else, has a poor first touch and gave the ball away far too many times.