Date: 24th August 2011 at 3:41pm
Written by:

Erni was in the hot seat for the fans view at the Keepmoat Stadium on Tuesday night as Leeds progressed to the third round of the Carling Cup.

We made the short journey to The Keepmoat to what we expected would be a feisty affair with Doncaster, supported by a good crowd.
What we found in the ‘compact’ stadium was that the Donny fans had decided this early in the season that they had seen enough and didn`t bother to turn out. Even in this small stadium, 8500 fans looks very empty and the difference from two weeks ago at the Rhinos match was stark, prompting chants of ‘Their here their there every ****** where empty seats empty seats’ from the sell out Leeds end.

The match started with six changes from West Ham with Andy O` Brien and Paul Connolly getting starts along with Paul Rachubka. Zak Thompson and Lloyd Sam also got starts, as did the in form Ramon Nunez.

The changes in defence showed early as Leeds were all at sea every time Donny came forward and a nothing ball from Barnes caught O’Brien on his heels and Hayter slipped round him to poke the ball into the net for a third minute lead.
It didn`t get any better with O’Brien and Connolly looking like non-league defenders and Rachubka having to make important saves to keep us in the game.
We should have been two down, when Bennett was one on one with Rachubka but hit the inside of the post and the ball bounced straight back to the keeper.
We were playing deeper and deeper with Howson back helping the defence and launching high balls forward more in hope than anticipation when we got a break. A high ball was headed on by the had working Keogh who was fouled, but for the first time the referee played advantage and Nunez smashed an unstoppable drive into the left corner of the net.

This burst Donny`s bubble and Leeds got on top and McCormack (invisible up to this point) drove just wide. Second half started like the first with Doncaster pressing forward and Leeds offering little. Rachubka had to make a couple of good saves to keep us in the match.
Leeds gradually got back on top with Nunez threading passes through, over and around the Doncaster defence and balls being played to feet instead of in the air.
White went off for 18-year-old Charlie Taylor after getting a kick on the foot, O`Brien went off with cramp for Kisnorbo, and this seemed to settle the defence down.
Leeds kept pressing forward and a deflected cross from Sam fell to Nunez who smashed another cracker into the back of the net. By this time, Gradel had replaced the ineffectual McCormack and he had a series of great chances including a one on one which he didn`t take. They could have been costly as Rachubka made a mess of a punch which went behind him and just wide of the post and then Donny hit the outside of the post in a late rally.

Player Ratings

Rachubka 7.5
Very steady and made a couple of first class saves to keep us in the game. One error near the end did not distract from him looking a very capable Number 2 to Lonergan.

Connolly 4
He was so poor in the first half it had to be seen to be believed. Better second half when Leeds were more on top but still just hits it long and offers nothing in attack.
So consistent last year and absolute crap this term.

White 6
A torrid first 30 minutes when he was left on his own with no support. He looked better once Howson dropped deeper to help. Went off injured so may be a doubt for Saturday.

O’Dea 7
He was playing for two centre backs for first half hour, covering his partner and reverted to safety first, with a lot of balls high into the stand. He is looking fitter and stronger as the games go on.

O’Brien 4
Oh my God, what a disaster he was for the first 30 minutes and his errors could have seen us dead and buried in that time. He hardly won a header and looks yards off the pace. His man (Hayter) scored the first goal and it could have been more. Only one tactic and that`s boot it up field. Went off with cramp last 15 minutes and we looked much better after that.

Thompson 6.5
Worked hard in a midfield that was under pressure as the defence crumbled. Improved as the game went on but inexperience showed at times.

Howson 7
He was not in the game first half hour as the ball never reached the midfield on the floor, but he got a grip after that and stamped his authority on the defensive side of midfield. He came close to scoring just before the goal with a volley that was deflected over.

Sam 6
He looks off the pace and not the livewire we saw early season last year. Kept going though and improved once we got on top but he doesn`t look a replacement for Gradel on this form.

Nunez 9 Star Man
After a quiet first 30 minutes, where he watched the ball flying high over his head all the time he took control of the midfield. His vision and passing ability is first class and his shooting speaks for itself. Two great goals, hit with power and accuracy. Leave him out at you cost Larry

Keogh 7
He Worked hard and kept the Doncaster defence on their toes but little joy in the striking department as his support was non existent.

McCormack 5
Invisible most of the match and his passing was poor, when he was brought into the game. He didn`t like the big Doncaster defenders on his back and Naylor had him in his pocket. Gone from much improved back to what we were seeing last year.

Taylor 7 (for White)

He was very assured for an 18 year old. Not everything came off that he tried but full of confidence and has lots of ability

Kisnorbo 7 (For O`Brien)
He steadied the defence straight away.

Gradel 6 (For McCormack)
Gave the Doncaster defence the run around but his shooting was poor and he hit a shot high and wide when Keogh was clear on his own.

Grayson 7
For having a look at the alternatives in the squad by making six changes. We know now who is up to it and who is not.

Thanks erni for your thoughts.

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