Leeds Utd 3 (Bamford 10, Summerville 52, 60, pen)
Rotherham United 0
10th February, 2024, EFL Championship.
It now looks like there are three sides in the Championship that are miles better than the rest; Leicester obviously, and Southampton and ourselves. Ipswich, with only one win in their last nine Championship games, look to have finally hit the rocks and, with the win today, we have finally got our noses ahead of them. At the turn of the year, we were nine points adrift of the Tractor Boys but now, even if they win their game in hand, they’d still be behind us on goal difference.
Rotherham are another side that fall into the category of make-weights at this level, they will surely be back in League One next season, but in truth, there isn’t much difference between them and other sides we’ve brushed aside this year – Birmingham and Cardiff were just as bad! Nonetheless, you can only beat what is in front of you, and boy we certainly did beat them. Once again it was as dominant a performance as you could wish to see and the only thing stopping us from getting a cricket score (Daniel Farke says a tennis score – presumably 40 love!) was our own lack of ‘efficiency’ in front of goal. I’m not sure how many times we had a clear sight of goal only to completely miss the target but I’d guess it was more than the number of fingers on one hand! Willy Gnonto couldn’t control a volley as he lashed at the rebound when Patrick Bamford struck the bar, he also pulled a second-half shot wide of the far post, a miss that earned him a comforting tap on the back by referee Andy Madley. Gnonto and Summerville and Georginio also smashed first-half shots over the bar. It wasn’t all down to our finishing, we also tested Viktor Johansson in the Millers’ goal a few times too and he did well. But six on target from 19 attempts is on a par with what we often achieve and as Daniel Farke keeps reminding us, it isn’t good enough. Sooner or later we’ll pay the price if we can’t improve that stat. At the other end, the Millers only managed seven goal attempts and just two hit the target and just a late Sam Clucas effort was the only one that offered Illan Meslier any real exercise. But let’s not dwell on the misses, let’s celebrate the hits and, at the end of the day a 3 – 0 win is a great score.
As to the game itself, once Patrick Bamford swept the ball in (possibly with an arm but we’ll gloss over that!) Leeds never looked in trouble, but we had to wait until the second half until Cree Summerville closed the game out, first with a typical run and finish that reminded me of his goal at Anfield last season and then with a cheeky Panenka penalty. I can’t help thinking that Paddy Bamford was teasing us as he once again picked up the ball initially when we were awarded that penalty before handing it to Cree! I hope he was, I like that, it shows his sense of humour is back!
The positive noises coming out of St Mary’s proved also to be no more than a tease by the time the games finished, but we can’t do anything about their results; we just have to keep winning ours and hope for them to stumble. They will find their trip to Bristol tough on Tuesday night while we have a tricky looking fixture at Swansea. Come on you Mighty Whites, let’s heap the pressure on again!
Leeds U Rotherham
Possession 59% 41%
Shots 19 7
On Target 6 2
Corners 5 3
Fouls 13 11