Leeds United 2 Barnsley 2: Nardiello exposes Leeds' defensive frailties

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Ugo Ehiogu mused after the game that for Leeds to improve "it's just a matter of keeping things tight", which, stereotype would suggest, is not usually a problem, in South Yorkshire. This has been a season, though, in which the county's Championship's clubs have done everything in their power to explode that particular view: Leeds and Barnsley have the worst two defensive records in the division.

On Saturday it was easy to see why. Daniel Nardiello's two goals for the visitors were both expertly taken, but the former Manchester United trainee would not have found it quite so easy to get off the mark for the season had Leeds done more to check his runs than standing off him with all the menace of training cones.

Barnsley were no more secure and any ball into their box created panic. A woeful headed clearance from Neil Austin allied to a slip from Nick Colgan, the goalkeeper, allowed Tresor Kandol to mark his first full game since arriving on loan from Barnet with Leeds' first equaliser. The marking was lax again for the second, as Shaun Derry headed Eddie Lewis's cross back across goal for Ehiogu.

A third header seemed to have given Leeds the victory as Matt Heath met Ian Westlake's corner. Kevin Wright, the referee, seemed happy enough, but his linesman drew his attention to a supposed foul by Ian Moore on Colgan. Not for the first time in his brief stint as manager, Dennis Wise was apoplectic, insisting after watching the video that the official "doesn't know what he's seen".

"You just need that rub of the green," Ehiogu agreed. "Matt scored a perfectly good goal that I thought the officials didn't quite get right." He accepted, though, that blaming officials will not turn things around at Elland Road. "This needs to be more of a fortress," he said. "The only way you turn that round is hard work, a little bit of luck and good organisation." Saturday's evidence would suggest they need more than a little bit.

Goals: Nardiello (3) 0-1; Kandol (8) 1-1; Nardiello (38) 1-2; Ehiogu (45) 2-2.

Leeds United (4-4-2): Stack; Douglas, Ehiogu, Heath, Crainey; Blake (Healy, 80), Derry (Richardson, 64), Westlake, Lewis; Moore (Carole, 88), Kandol. Substitutes not used: Warner (gk), Beckford.

Barnsley (4-4-2): Colgan; Austin, Hassell, Reid, Heckingbottom; Hayes, Togwell, Howard, McCann; Knight, Nardiello (Richards, 79). Substitutes not used: Letheren, Tonge, Williams, Devaney.

Referee: K Wright (Cambridgeshire).

Booked: Leeds Kandol; Barnsley Hassell.

Man of the match: Nardiello.

Attendance: 21,378.