Date: 14th September 2008 at 10:08am
Written by:

On a gorgeous September Saturday afternoon Leeds came away with all three points after playing the majority of the game with only ten men.

With a packed away end basking in sunshine Leeds defended the end which they were in.

Maybe the players should have realised that the referee was a little card happy when he yellow carded Rui Marques as early as the fifth minute for a slightly late tackle.

It was a pretty quiet start but the game burst into life in the ninth minute when Alan Sheehan was sent off for a reckless challenge on Swindon midfielder Jon-Paul McGovern. He may have taken the ball but he came straight through the back of the Swindon player, it didn`t need him to make the challenge as McGovern was facing his own goal ten yards inside the Swindon half.
It`s the second time Sheehan`s been sent off for reckless tackles in his last six games for the club!

Gary McAllister made the decision to drop Andy Hughes into left back and played a 4-3-2 with Beckford and Beccio dropping back to help the hard working midfield.

Soon after Lucas in the Leeds goal made a fantastic save to keep out an acrobatical effort from Simon Cox.

With only ten men Leeds continued to control the game and took the lead in the 23rd minute when a mistake from Jeril Ifil in the Swindon defence allowed Jermaine Beckford to lash the ball in the back of the net.

The game was turning into a midfield battle and Kilkenny was having an excellent game. I was very critical of him midweek but he worked his socks off today and covered a lot of ground.

On the stroke of half time Swindon got an undeserved equaliser when a great ball in from the left was met by an unmarked Simon Cox to send the teams in level at half time.

Leeds came out of the blocks firing in the second half and took the lead in a farcical situation in the 50th minute.
Beccio won a free kick some 30 yards out. The free kick was aimed at goal from Kilkenny and should have been easily claimed by Smith in the Swindon goal. Somehow an easy catch managed to squirm through his arms and body and find its way into the back of the net.

Straight from the kick off Lucas showed Smith how to do it when making a world class save to keep out a point blank effort from McGovern.

Just short of the hour McAllister made a double substitution bringing off Beccio and Kilkenny who had both run themselves into the ground chasing and making up for the numerical disadvantage.
Prutton came on and went wide right whilst Howson played just behind Beckford.

Leeds should have wrapped the game up not long after when great work from Delph and Howson set up Beckford who somehow managed to shoot wide.
Moments later Beckford had another chance and tried to play a delicate lob over Smith which just went over the bar.

Leeds finally wrapped the game up when the excellent Delph weaved through two players before playing a delightful through ball to Beckford who eased the ball into the net.

The referee who overall had a terrible afternoon somehow managed to find five minutes of injury time and Leeds saw this out with ease.

A fantastic team performance from Leeds, all ten players worked very hard for the team.

McAllister is now going to have to ask himself can he risk a player like Sheehan who seems to have a problem staying on his feet when tackling. He`s a good defender but starting to become a liability with his tackling.

Player Ratings

David Lucas -7
Two fantastic saves from the Leeds stopper, flapped a little with a few corners but overall should be happy with his performance

Fraser Richardson – 5
Fraser was given a hard time by Swindon`s tricky winger McNamee who was allowed to get far too many crosses in with ease.

Rui Marques – 7
Had a great game at the centre of defence winning everything in the air and looks a good partner for Telfer.

Paul Telfer – 7
Telfer slotted into the central defensive roll with ease, using all his years of experience. I hope he can keep his fitness up for the full season.

Alan Sheehan – 0
Totally stupid tackle got him sent off, no need to make it and I hope McAllister drops him. We cannot afford to be playing with ten men away from home; thankfully Hughes did a good job in his place.

Andy Hughes – 7
Started in right midfield but dropped back to replace Sheehan after his sending off. Hughes and Telfer worked very well together and I hope that the back four that finished today start against Carlisle next week.

Neil Kilkenny -8
I am not his biggest fan but he ran himself ragged today and covered a lot of ground. Maybe deserved the bit of luck that brought him his goal.

Jonathan Douglas – 7
No surprise that Leeds performances have picked up since the return of Douglas. Works very hard in midfield and does most of the breaking up of play.

Fabien Delph -9 star man
Good job Leeds has tied him to a four year deal. This lad will be priceless in a few years time. Fantastic on the ball, great feet and runs all day. Brilliant piece of work that set up Beckfords second goal. A bit more upper body strength and he will have the lot.

Jermaine Beckford – 8
Becks scored two goals to take him to double figures for the season already. Worked hard helping out the midfield and could have quite easily had a hat trick.

Luciano Beccio – 7
I love this lad`s hard working displays; still needs to learn to stay on his feet but that will soon be knocked out of him. He`s a brilliant partner for Beckford and I am sure the goals will soon be coming more freely for him.

David Prutton (replaced Kilkenny) – 5
Prutts didn`t really get into the game much after coming on.

Jonathan Howson (replaced Beccio) – 6
Got very involved and was pivotal in the play that should have led to Beckford scoring. I think he now realises he`s really got to work hard to get back in the side.

Game was already won when he came on and didn`t see much of the ball.

Manager Rating
Gary McAllister – 8
Got it spot on today, didn`t become negative when Sheehan was sent off and left two upfront.
You could see he`d got stuck into the lads at half time by their second half performance.

Overall performance
Overall a thoroughly deserved three points and now Leeds are right up with them at the top. Carlisle next week will be a bigger test but the lads should go into it full of confidence.

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