Leeds beat table topping Derby

30 Nov 2014 03:55 pm, by YorkshireSquare

Leeds United 2 (Antenucci 43, 50)
Derby County 0

Derby represented a significant test, sat at the top of the Championship table having only lost three games this season and with Leeds not having beaten them in twelve matches Saturdays game was always going to be a challenge. Leeds however responded well to the disappointment of Blackburn last week and were frankly a joy to watch, it's not often you can say that about Leeds. The one surprising change to the line-up was Giuseppe Bellusci coming back into the starting eleven with Jason Pearce dropping to the bench. Stephen Warnock was handed the captains armband.

Top the Fanbookz Leeds fans prediction table at Christmas to win £50 worth of Leeds United club shop vouchers.

The first fifteen minutes or so were slightly unsettled, a safety first approach to clearing the ball meant our midfield were somewhat bypassed but as the composure came our midfield came into the game. Our three young starlets of Mowatt, Cooks and Adryan outshone their Derby counterparts for the majority of the game. Warnock also put in a captains performance and was at the heart of a lot of what we did well both going forward and defending.

Mirco Antenucci will take most of the plaudits for his goals and saw his first decent chance on goal just after the half hour mark, the ball going just over the bar. The derby keeper Lee Grant was called into action moments later as Alex Mowatt tried one from range, corner to Leeds, the pressure was building. Antenucci and Doukara both saw chances rift the wrong side of the wood work before Antenucci opened the scoring just before half time. Mowatt cut a low ball back in from the goal line for Antenucci to coolly slot the ball home from twelve yards. His sixth goal of the season, Leeds one nil up at the break.

Leeds fans could have done with their nerves calming early on in the second half after last week and Antenucci duly obliged. Stephen Warnock burst down the left, broke free of the defender and played a low cross into the box. Antenucci found the ball at his feet and with great composure passed the ball home for his second of the game on 50 minutes.

Leeds had a few chances to extend their lead, Antenucci could have bagged a hat-trick but say his best effort narrowly over the bar. Derby had their chances as well and but for a last gasp challenge from Warnock and Kwame Thomas putting one over the bar when it was probably easier to score they could have grabbed one back. Silvestri was for the most part untested though and the new defensive pairing of Cooper and Bellusci looked fairly composed throughout. Here are the views of some of our forum members;

The views of 1964white;

So many positives from that game! But we've been playing no different to that recently and not getting the rub of the green with no luck whatsoever, so maybe it's getting to be less of a 'work in progress' and more a 'team coming together'.

Firstly I thoroughly applaud Refearn for dropping Jason Pearce. The last two managers would not have had the guts to take a similar decision. Result - two ball-playing centre-backs....not only did we beat the top of the league, they had no shots on target.

I don't think at any point we looked second best to Derby, and, frankly the longer the second half went on the more likely we looked like adding a third.

Derby did not have the 6ft 3 bonecrusher midfielders of other Championship sides, so Mowatt and Cook were able to flourish. Mowatt was involved in most good things we did, Cook's work is less high profile but he keeps the machine ticking over with his hard workrate. I hope to get to see again the drag-back and spin that Adryan did in the first half that left two players flat-footed, truly wonderful skill

In Bellusci and Cooper we have two centre backs who are comfortable on the ball - always something I've liked in that position. Pearce and Lees are like deer caught in headlights with the ball at their feet, so I think we've hit on a promising pairing. Byram linked up with the attack well but still some of his distribution was wayward. Warnock seems to relish the captain's armband, another Man Of The Match performance.

As was mentioned during the game the fitness levels looked excellent with good pressing for the full 90 minutes. Antonucci was a prime example, closing down and hassling defenders throughout, two top drawer finishes from our No.34

The views of rich_leeds64;

What a game and one which I'd had a good feeling about all week. I predicted 2-0 simply because I witnessed how disappointed the team was after last weeks defeat at Blackburn and I know they are a good honest bunch of players who would want to put things right and what better way than against table toppers Derby.

They went about this game, in my opinion, more aware of the oppositions dangers and rather than go at them all out in the first half then collapse in the second, they more contained Derby and limited their attacking power but at the same found some good chances to get forward which ended with a well taken goal just before half time.

The second half saw Leeds up the tempo and get the second goal just into the second half, from then the game was played at a frantic pace with both teams going for it. The one thing that impressed me was our ability to hold the lead and not concede despite some good Derby chances. The defence looked organised for once, Cooper and Warnock deserve special mention and we look more composed without Pearce.

All in all a good day at Elland Road and it could be a turning point in our season , confidence will be high as we travel to the high flying tractor boys next week, but in this frame of mind we've nothing to fear.

Share your thoughts on the Derby game in our forums on our match day thread.

Leeds United Line-up:
Silvestri, Byram, Cooper, Bellusci, Warnock, Cook, Bianchi (Austin 68), Mowatt, Adryan (Tonge 90+4), Antenucci, Doukara
Unused Subs: S Taylor, Berardi, Pearce, Dawson, Sharp

Derby County Line-up:
Grant, Christie, Keogh, Shotton, Forsyth, Mascarell (Bryson 66), Hughes, Hendrick, Russell (Thomas 66), Ibe (Dawkins 66), Martin
Unused Subs: Roos, Buxton, Eustace, Coutts

Attendance: 26,028