January 5, 2013 by Made In Brum
Leeds United 1 Blues 1.
A replay is the last thing Blues needed with the injury problems they have, which were made even worse today after young full-back Will Packwood was stretchered off with a suspected broken leg. Wade Elliott’s beautiful strike put Blues ahead, but after missing a host of chances, Luciano Becchio levelled for the hosts to force a replay at St. Andrews.
Before the game, you could be forgiven for not being too optimistic, but Blues controlled large parts of the game and would have been victorious with a recognised senior striker.
After a scrappy start, Blues began to dictate the play. Elliott, Ravel Morrison and Nathan Redmond forced saves from Leeds stopper Jamie Ashdown. Morgaro Gomis was buzzing around and getting in the home side’s faces and showed intelligence when he found Morrison with a perfect pass, but the West Ham loanee saw his effort saved.
The partnership between Callum Reilly and Gomis still has a few teething problems, but shows real promise and there seems to be a nice blend between two players who compliment each other well.
Leeds’ best chance came after quarter of an hour when Jason Pearce headed Ross McCormack’s free-kick back off the post. Colin Doyle was called into action soon after, he stood up tall to block David Norris’ shot.
Lee Clark’s men were spraying the ball around with ease and another Gomis-Reilly combination found Redmond inside the area, but his effort flew yards wide.
Gomis was at the centre of the action again as he burst forward, but he smashed wide when he maybe should have played Chris Burke in. Blues were looking impressive.
After 32 minutes, Elliott gave the visitors a deserved lead. Will Packwood won the ball and Curtis Davies found Elliott. The mini-midfielder ran past the halfway line with the ball and then unleashed a peach of an effort in the top right-hand corner. Elliott has a knack of scoring the odd pearler every now and then and this one was a superb strike.
Despite the hosts late first-half pressure, Blues went into the interval ahead. Clark was clearly pleased with the manner of the performance.
Early in the second period, Redmond could have doubled the advantage as he cut inside and curled over the bar. You always thought Blues would need the second goal as clean sheets have been at a premium this term. True to that fact, Leeds levelled on 61 minutes. It all started from Doyle’s poor goal kick before Davies was caught in possession. Norris picked out Becchio who slotted past Doyle.
Just minutes later, Packwood went to ground after he appeared to land heavily from an aeriel challange. You sensed it was something bad as Gomis looked, then looked away and Redmond hid his face behind his hands. Clark was comforting some of the younger lads on the sideline as Packwood received treatment for a broken leg. Not only Blues’ luck with injuries this term, but terrible news for the American full-back just as he started to nail down his first-team place. He was eventually carried off on a stretcher and an oxygen mask to a round of applause from both sets of fans with Mitch Hancox replacing him.
Blues continued to knock it around the park- something that has offered a lot of hope. Redmond looked on as another one of his shot’s sailed wide before he hit a 30-yard free-kick, but it was a comfortable save for Ashdown.
Redmond has been decent in the more advanced central role and maybe that will offer Clark food for though in the coming weeks. Burke, who was much improved, squandered a half chance.
Late on, Reece Hales replaced Morrison for his debut, what a chance for the 17 year-old. He went about his business with class, albeit for only a few minutes. His first contribution was a link-up with Burke to win Blues a corner, which was cleared.
Leeds were going for the winner during the six minutes of stoppage time, as Blues ran out of steam. Although a replay was what we didn’t want, a last gasp defeat would have been very harsh after a very competent display. Some of the youngsters are going from strength to strength and are proving they can be part of this rebuilding job.
Today, Blues had more shots, better chances and were the better side for huge chunks of this game. We’re in the hat for the fourth round, but now we need to win a replay that we could have really done without.
Blues ratings- Doyle 6. Robinson 7. Caldwell 6. Davies 6. Packwood 6. Burke 6. *GOMIS 7. Reilly 7. Elliott 7. Morrison 6. Redmond 6… SUBS USED- Hancox 6. Hales 6.
Match report by Rob Wildey.