Middlesbrough 1 (Wing 47)
Leeds United 1 (Phillips 90+11)
A draw at the Riverside is a great result – let’s not forget that, Boro are a tough side with a strong defence and they have been on a good run. That we have come away ruing the fact that we didn’t win the game should give us some much needed confidence as we approach our final 15 cup finals in the next 3 months starting with what is now a must win game against Swansea at Elland Road on Wednesday.
Every Leeds fan wanted to see a strong performance today to reassure that we were not beginning to fade as we enter the final crucial period of the season and the team delivered on that count too. Admittedly the first half was a tad disjointed from Leeds – the formation didn’t look quite right, our ball control in the stiff wind wasn’t as good as we’d want and we once again didn’t look particularly sharp in front of goal with chances going begging and final balls going all over Teesside! Young Jack Clarke didn’t look right at all either, struggling with the pace of the game and the late drama concerning the youngster perhaps explains his below par first half performance. The introduction of Pablo Hernandez at the break took time to affect the game but slowly and surely his composure and eye for a pass began to pull us all together as a unit and it was only a matter of time before that equaliser came… OK, it did take a while longer than was comfortable but at least it came and the team never gave up the chase.
The Leeds United engine is still giving the impression that it is stuttering along on three cylinders but the domination of the possession and creation of chances was no different today from most of our games this season; some we’ve comfortably won, others we’ve narrowly lost but, essentially, the only real difference between results is that annoying inability to hit the target more often, a smidgeon of good fortune and the odd defensive mistake.
Marcelo Bielsa tinkered with his personnel today but I didn’t think it was quite right, we didn’t flow as we know we can. I’m sure he’ll have another tinker on Wednesday, and, if he gets it right, someone is going to get a battering! I for one am hoping it’s the Swans that cop it!
Middlesbrough Leeds Utd
Possession 31% 69%
Shots 9 17
On Target 3 4
Corners 2 9
Fouls 11 8