Date: 1st August 2011 at 7:09am
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With the new season just around the corner, Vital Leeds contributor erni gives us his views on how the players did against Newcastle.

It is also the first time that erni had actually done this when Leeds have tasted victory.

Have to say there was a great atmosphere at the ground today both inside and outside. Outside the fans mingled with each other and the East Stand development was the subject of much debate as thousands milled around to view the progress.

Inside, the East stand was closed but the three others well filled, with Newcastle bringing a big, good natured and noisy following that filled the South stand and S/E corner.

Newcastle were in a bright orange kit that brought chants of ‘are you Blackpool in disguise’. I have never seen so many kids at a match and as a result all the pies were sold out at half time (along with all the crisps and chocolates) as the cloud of locust kids devoured the lot before Simon (my son) could get his usual two peppered beef pies.

General thoughts for the match were that we are much more combative in midfield with Clayton and Brown snapping at the opposition`s heels to win balls and then actually using them with skill and vision. Bye Bye Killa we won`t miss you.

We are had no real strikers on the pitch today with McCormack starting and being replaced by Paynter. McCormack wasted good opportunities by wanting too many touches and Paynter is like a man with wooden legs.

Kisnorbo played like a man possessed and was cheered with every touch by an adoring Kop.

Parker is out of his depth and while he tries to play football he is easily hassled out of possession. Time to go I feel.

Team ratings
Lonergan (7)
Solid game and commands his area. No chance with either goal and made a blinding save from Barton.

Connolly (7)
Drifted through the game untroubled and almost unnoticed.

Parker (4)
Good going forward but in trouble every time he was attacked one on one. Not quick enough to recover when beaten replaced on 60 mins by
Bodor (6) Much more solid than Parker but doesn`t attempt to get forward. No nonsense defender, but is obviously still struggling for fitness.

Kisnorbo (8)
Running on pure adrenalin and seemed to be everywhere in the 45 minutes he was on. Commanding presence that we missed last year. replaced by
Bromby (6) Still the big boot away defender we all know and gives the ball back to the opposition as a result. Got in a tangle and lost his bearings with their quick interplay for their second goal.

O`Brien (7)
A bit like a mechanical man who hasnt had all his nuts and bolts tightened at times. Looks rusty and unfit but played the percentage game and took no chances. looked out on his feet when replace by Tom Lees (7) He wasn`t helped by having Bromby hoofing the ball but tried to play the ball away and made some good interceptions.

Howson (9)
Really on top of his game and showed bags of skill and enterprise in his forward role. Unfortunately, most of it was wasted on McCormack who missed most of the opportunities.

Clayton (8.5)
He got about the field looking for the ball and using it really well. Not afraid to get his foot in, upset the opposition, and like a terrier wanting to get the ball back. Replaced on 66 minutes by Nunez (8) Ran around looking to get into the game and has quick feet and good vision to pick out difficult passes. He looks stronger and fitter than last year.

Brown (7)
Gets stuck in and lets the opposition know he`s there with grinding tackles. Lost the ball a couple of times but chases back snapping away to recover the situation. We missed this last year. He`s still a way from full fitness but signs of things to come. Bye Bye Bradders we won`t miss you.

Snodgrass (7)
A mixture of class and clumsiness, as he beats men with ease one minute and then runs into them the next. Crossing was a mix of good and awful. Another one not looking fit yet. Replaced by Sam (7.5) who looked lost on the right but sparked into life when he went onto the left and scored a goal borne out of sheer determination. Looking more like the man who started last season.

Gradel (8)
Looks like creating something every time he gets the ball. Scored what looked a good goal but was ruled offside. Also pulled a great save out of Forster. Replaced on 66 minutes by Mendy (7.5) Very direct and skilful and caused all sorts of problems for the barcodes defence. Unfortunately, Paynter wasn`t on the same wavelength most of the time. Great turn of pace and he tracks back well. Get him signed.

McCormack. (5)
No matter what Grayson says, he isn`t good enough. Hard work doesn`t compensate for lack of skill. I gave him a 5 for effort. Needs too many touches and wastes opportunities. Can`t seem to get his shots off. Replaced on 66 minutes by the even worse Paynter. (4.5) I have given him an extra 1.5 for scoring a goal from 6′ out from a good cross by Mendy. The guy has no first touch, no pace and can`t hold the ball. One backward pass was so hard it bypassed the entire midfield and put them on the attack. Him scoring could be one of the worst things to happen to us, as Grayson will give him more chances.

P.S The Police forgot to close Elland Road to two way traffic causing chaos getting out as cars got trapped in the traffic trying to go the wrong way along Elland Road – Welcome to another Elland Road season.

Thanks for your thoughts erni.

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