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LEEDS UNITED FOOTBALL CLUB

Match v Burnley
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                                    LEEDS UNITED..............1 BURNLEY............2
                                                Leeds United badge                  Burnley badge
 

As the final whistle went at the end of an excruciatingly painful 90 minutes for Leeds United, supporters inside Elland Road rightfully let the players know their displeasure with a chorus of boos.

A bright start by United had fizzled out after three minutes and was replaced with 87 minutes of inept football in which they could not string a series of passes together and some diabolical defending.

Going forward was not much better either, chances came and went, players grew more desperate and when a proven goalscorer like David Healy was crying out for possession, no-one was capable of giving him the ball.

It was a performance that Kevin Blackwell admitted had left him embarrassed. That just about says it all.

Pre-match

Kevin Blackwell made three changes to his side following the defeat against Wigan, with one key addition being the return of skipper Paul Butler from suspension.

Butler returned at centre-half alongside Clarke Carlisle in a move which saw Matthew Kilgallon returned to left-back, with Danny Pugh pushed onto the left wing, so Simon Johnson missed out as he dropped to the bench. In midfield Jermaine Wright started after getting over his Achilles problem and that gave Blackwell the opportunity to rest  SimonWalton.   Another youngster rested  for the night was Frazer Richardson, replaced by Julian Joachim on the right wing.

Upfront Blackwell stuck with the front pairing of David Healy and Brian Deane.

The Match

Leeds could hardly have wished, nor expected, to have made such a blistering start to the game when they took the lead with barely 15 seconds on the clock.

The ball was passed back from the kick-off and then punted forward for Brian Deane to head down and the ball fell into space just inside the penalty area from where Jermaine Wright showed great anticipation with his run and comfortably slotted the ball home right footed.

If United had any ideas about coasting to an easy win after their early lead they were punished for such complacency ten minutes later when Burnley scored an equaliser from a dreadful defensive error.

A seemingly harmless backpass from Clarke Carlisle was seized upon by defender Lee Roche and he got to the ball at the same time as Neil Sullivan and did enough to ensure the Whites keeper could not hold on to the ball and with Sullivan on the ground it left Roche with a simple tap-in.

David Healy was denied the opportunity through illness properly train with his new team-mates ahead of his debut on Sunday against Wigan, but three days later with two good sessions under his belt there was evidence of a greater understanding between the front men and midfield.

The Wright high ball up to Deane and the header down for Healy combination nearly paid off when a chance was created on 25 minutes but his shot didn't have enough power to beat Dane Brian Jensen in the Burnley goal.

Danny Pugh was booked on the half hour after sliding into Tony Grant in what had essentially been an act of retaliation for an earlier foul on the United man by Grant. 

From the ensuing free kick Leeds were to pay dearly for his indiscipline.

The ball was volleyed into the penalty area where Roche nearly scored a second goal with a glancing header that was beaten away by Sullivan at full stretch but only as far as Burnley's on-loan full-back Richard Duffy who fired home from a narrow angle with Sullivan still scrambling across in vain.

The visitors had taken the lead for the first time and in truth it was not undeserved, having made much of the running in previous 20 minutes since their equaliser.

To their credit Leeds responded as the crowd hoped they would, going for broke at times to get an equaliser of their own before half time.

First David Healy saw his shot charged down inside a crowded penalty area and the rebound fell to Deane with his back to goal and the attempted hooked shot at goal went wide.

Deane's best chance came ten minutes before the end of the half when Danny Pugh's cross was missed in the middle of the penalty area by Joachim but met powerfully by Deane 10 yards out and the ball missed the target by inches as he headed it across the face of goal to the far post.

With minutes to go to the break Danny Pugh missed a glorious chance when another all out attack saw him presented with a header from eight yards out, but it was straight at the keeper's hands.

Paul Butler had just returned from suspension following his sending off against Brighton, and the skipper was in the referee's notebook again after picking up a yellow card just for a mistimed challenge.

Kevin Blackwell had hoped for a little bit of luck before the game and just when he thought it was coming his way it went against him in a bizarre incident three minutes into the restart.

Burnley keeper Brian Jensen hammered a clearance against Julian Joachim and the ball rebounded off the United man and hit the underside of the bar, came off the post and then bounced on the line and came out of the goal.  You simply could not come any closer to scoring a goal without actually doing so.

From that point on though it was all Leeds, but more hard luck stories were to follow.

From a corner Leeds forced the keeper to tip the ball onto his own bar after Matthew Kilgallon's precise flick on from a Wright cross, but a minute later Deane was denied by a great save from the Burnley keeper.

Danny Pugh's cross into the area was superb and the header down from Deane deserved a goal but the keeper pulled off an instinctive save as he got his fingertips to the ball right on the goal-line.

Kevin Blackwell made his first change before the hour was up, Deane taken off and Michael Ricketts given the 30 minutes plus to make an impression.

It was Burnley who should have made another impression on the scoreline though when their skipper Robbie Blake squandered the chance to make it 3-1. He broke down the right hand side after beating the off-side trap but his shot across the face of goal went wide.  The former Bradford City man had missed a great opportunity to get one over his old rivals.

Blackwell made his second change on 67 minutes and it was a tactical one that saw aaron Lennon brought on and Clarke Carlisle brought on.  Matthew Kilgallon filled in at centre-half for Carlisle as Blackwell went for three at the back, Kilgallon, Butler and Kelly, and three upfront in Ricketts, Healy and Lennon.  It was the signal to throw everything forward in search of the equaliser.

David Healy worked a shooting position for himself on 73 minutes and he tried to bend the ball into the far corner but shot about a yard wide.  

With 15 minutes of the game left Blackwell made his final throw of the dice when he threw on a fourth striker in Simon Johnson, taking Danny Pugh off.  The personnel were out there to get the goals, what it required was the chances.

Robbie Blake was sent clear on goal on 77 minutes but just as the crowd were fearing a third goal for Burnley, Jermaine Wright dashed back to claim the ball back just as he was steadying himself for the shot with just Sullivan to beat.

Leeds were growing more desperate as the minutes ticked away, Lennon sent the ball wide of the target from 12 yards out when the ball needed to fall to either Ricketts or Healy.

Sadly the chances dried up and Burnley could have even added insult to injury late on when they passed the ball between themselves inside and around United's penalty area before James O'Connor shot over.   Leeds could barely muster a chance at the end and Burnley had come to Elland Road, got a slice of luck, but overall done their job.

Leeds United

Starting XI

1Sullivan, Neil

2Kelly, Gary

4Carlisle, Clarke

6Butler, Paul

26Kilgallon, Matthew

11Joachim, Julian

7Wright, Jermaine

8Gregan, Sean

12Pugh, Danny

9Healy, David

30Deane, Brian

Substitutes

10Ricketts, Michael

13Carson, Scott

18Walton, Simon

25Lennon, Aaron

39Johnson, Simon

Burnley

Starting XI

12Jensen, Brian

6Duff, Michael

4McGreal, John

5Sinclair, Frank

3Camara, Mohamed

11Grant, Tony

2Roche, Lee

17Hyde, Micah

23O`Connor, James

24Duffy, Richard

8Blake, Robbie

Substitutes

14O`Neill, Matt

15Pilkington, Joel

16Scott, Paul

26Sanokho, Amadou

27Yates, Mark

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