Leeds United 2 Nottingham Forest 0
Every game we play from now ‘til May will be important, vital even. The Forest game was vital in as much as we needed to know if the Barnsley defeat was a one-off aberration or maybe a sign that we weren’t actually as good as we thought we were. Are we good enough to sustain a push for promotion for the rest of the season or will we fade away? There is no guarantee of course but Garry Monk promised us a reaction and a positive response and we got it so, for the time being we are back on track and we have to believe promotion remains within our reach.
It was a slow start last night but once we got going I thought it was another efficient display with glimpses of the quality we now have even if it was nowhere near as dominant a performance as we put together for the Derby game.
The match stats show that most of the half-chances in the game fell to us with 16 efforts on goal to only 6 from Forest. Finishing teams off is still the one area where we lag behind the likes of Newcastle and Brighton. A look at the goal difference of those two (plus 33 and plus 25 respectively) compared with ours (now plus 12) tells you all you need to know about the relative goal scoring efficiency of the top three in the Championship. Our goal difference along with Fulham is the third best in the division but it’s a long way behind those top two. And last night was another example why; our finishing is just not strong enough, it is the one nagging deficiency in our game that has continued on from last season. The rest of the issues have all been put to bed including eliminating defensive errors,, taking advantage of corners, and (mostly) eliminating goalkeeping errors.
Chris Wood has 20 goals for the season now but last night we saw again how he can be as frustrating as Jermaine Beckford used to be in missing seemingly easier chances than he scores! To be fair to the big man, he has been a lot better since the first month of the season and I am not going to lambaste him too much as a return of 20 goals before the end of January is a first class effort. Woody seems to be an instinctive striker – give him too much time to think about what he has to do and often the chance goes begging.
But the key thing last night was that we got back on track and had Woody got his hat-trick we’d have all been booking our hotels in North London for 29th May thinking we would blast most teams out of the water for the rest of the season! As it was that nagging doubt will remain that maybe we just don’t score enough goals… although if we get a few more like the Douk’s rocket last night we’ll all have some fabulous goal memories for the season if nothing else!
Leeds United Notts Forest
Possession 47% 53%
Shots 16 6
On Target 2 1
Corners 4 3
Fouls 16 14