Leeds United were held to a scoreless draw at home to Stoke but how they failed to find the
net will be a mystery to Kevin Blackwell who's side had all the possession but couldn't break a resilient Stoke back line
Leeds started brighter than on Friday against Sunderland and some crisp passing in the midfield,
particularly from Gregan, who seemed to be marshalling the troops magnificently, seemed to send out a message of intent to
the crowd that they owed them a good performance. And Elland Road replied as the fans were in great voice.
Early Leeds pressure told with the first corner of the game after six minutes, it was taken
short to Kelly who swung an inviting cross into the box but the ball refused to drop to a white shirt. As the pressure stayed
on De Goey's goal Ormerod twisted and turned but just as he pulled the trigger he was tackled.
Gregan was certainly having his most productive game in a Leeds shirt. He was winning tackles
and starting attacks with increasing regularity. Stoke mounted their first attack after 17 minutes but Akinbiyi fired his
shot straight at Sullivan from a tight angle.
Ormerod then had a chance after great work from Deane in the area but his shot was well blocked
by Halls. It was all Leeds and Wright had a free-kick that sailed just wide of the post and then Ormerod hit one from 25-yards
that had De Goey worried.
It was impressive stuff from Leeds and a total turn around from Friday evening's debacle. The
first booking of the game came after 25 minutes when Gerry Taggart scythed down Ormerod on the half way line to stop the striker
Gregan was next to try his luck for Leeds when he gave in to the crowds urgings to hit one
from long range but he over hit it. Deane then allowed his adrenaline to run away with him and he followed Taggart in
to the refs book for a foul on Hunt just before half-time.
It was an impressive half by Leeds and all that was missing was a goal. They had certainly
passed the ball much better in that half than at any other time this season.
Immediately after half time Deane won a header on the edge of the box to find Ormerod, the
goal was at his mercy and any kind of decent contact would have brought the first goal but the ball trickled through to De
Goey. Left-back Crainey was next to have a pop but his shot just curled wide.
Akinbiyi was working tirelessly at closing the Leeds defence down and his work rate had to
be admired. He harried the Leeds defence in to creating an opportunity for Russell but Sullivan was alert to the danger. Persistent
Leeds pressure again, created a chance for Pugh. Richardson crossed from the right but this time Pugh couldn't keep his
The elusive first goal nearly came for Leeds when after 15 minutes of the second half Ormerod
worked an opportunity down the left, cut inside his man but De Goey saved his shot. Stoke couldn't clear and Deane nodded
it across the goal only for Wright to have his shot saved from all of five yards. Stoke could count themselves lucky not to
Wright then forced De Goey to save again, this time from header from a cross by Crainey. Ormerod
then found himself in space on the right and pulled the ball back in to Richardson's path but he dallied too long and the
danger was clear. Leeds were so clearly the dominant force but they were trying to walk the ball into the net.
Pugh then fired the ball across the goal to earn Leeds a corner. It was so one-sided it was
embarrassing. From the corner Gregan worked himself into a shooting position but he again fired over the bar. It already looked
like Stoke were hanging on for a point. With just over 15 minutes left Leeds were getting anxious that all their good work
was going to go to waste and Crainey hit one from long range when it may have been better to keep possession.
The next time Crainey was invited to shoot though he made the Stoke goalie pull out all the
stops. But the flying dutchman was up to it just tipping it over the bar. It was Carlisle's turn to excite the crowd next.
An exquisite turn on the edge of the box and a cross in front of the goalie caused all sorts of confusion and from the resulting
corner Butler had a header cleared off the line.
Next Leeds had a good shout for a penalty turned down when Deane was manhandled in the box
but the referee was unmoved. In what seemed a final throw of the dice for Leeds Joachim came on for Richardson to inject some
pace. Richardson was applauded roundly by the Stoke fans who still remember his time on loan at the Britannia.
In the last ten minutes Leeds couldn't create any more real opportunities until the last minute
of injury time when Deane headed agonisingly wide but it was an injustice that they didn't take all three points from this
fixture. The only criticism you could possibly throw at Leeds was a lack of natural width in the second half.
Leeds had all the possession but didn't put many crosses in to dangerous areas. But that is
being very harsh on Leeds who once again kept a clean sheet at Elland Road.
1De Goey, Ed