Leeds United 4 Yeovil Town 0
Report of match 31st October 2009
Yeovil Town's six-match unbeaten run hit the buffers in spectacular style as table toppers Leeds United showed why they are the bookies' favourites for promotion to the Championship with a 4-0 victory at Elland Road.
This was the original game of two halves. Despite their contrasting league positions the first 45 minutes belonged to Yeovil, the division's in-form team of late with three wins and three draws stretching back to late September. The second, however, was all United who built on a fortunate opening goal to deservedly take maximum points.
If there is any consolation to be had from this heavy reverse it is that Yeovil won't have to play a team as skilful and ruthless as Leeds every week. Glovers boss Terry Skiverton hoped lightning wouldn't strike twice following the Yorkshire side's 4-0 mauling of Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Ground last Tuesday night.
Unfortunately for everyone who made the 550-mile round-trip from Somerset, it did. In the words of one shell-shocked Yeovil supporter waiting for a train at Leeds station on Saturday evening: "The sooner they're out of this league, the better."
Skiverton had talked in the days leading up to this match about giving his players a "free reign" to express themselves at Elland Road, encouraging the Glovers to capitalise on the self-belief brought about by that six-game unbeaten run and give it "a real go."
And give it a real go they did in a first half that was dominated by Yeovil, much to the surprise of the locals who had clearly expected a comfortable ride. Employing a 4-2-3-1 formation with Sam Williams playing as the lone striker, the visitors displayed a neat passing game that yielded several good opportunities the first of which fell to Jonathan Obika in the 11th minute, his half-volley from 12 yards bringing a fine block from Leeds goalkeeper Casper Ankergren.
No sooner had Ryan Mason's 20-yarder flown over than Town again had United's defence at sixes and sevens, an Andy Welsh free-kick from the right being headed narrowly wide by Craig Alcock. On another day referee Andy Haines could well have given a penalty after Obika went to ground under a heavy tackle by Andrew Hughes inside the area. To the dismay of those Town fans who made the long trip north the official merely waved play on.
So comfortable were Yeovil that you couldn't help but sense a sucker punch from Leeds. It duly arrived three minutes before half-time in the cruellest of circumstances, Bradley Johnson's cross from the left taking a slight deflection off Shaun MacDonald to leave Alex McCarthy - distracted by the presence of Jermaine Beckford - beaten at his near post. Talk about harsh. Even former Leeds legend Eddie Gray admitted during the break that: "The better team are losing."
Leeds were clearly given a metaphorical rocket in the dressing room at half-time by manager Simon Grayson. To say the second period was backs to the wall stuff from Yeovil would be an understatement, United showing why they are top of League One by playing some scintillating attacking football which yielded three more goals.
Their second came in the 69th minute and more or less spelled game over for Town, substitute Max Gradel turning on a pass from Leigh Bromby before smashing a low shot beyond McCarthy. Ten minutes later Beckford shrugged off the attentions of Terrell Forbes before advancing on goal to score a third, Yeovil's protests that Forbes had been fouled falling on deaf ears.
Just when you thought things could not possibly get any worse for the Glovers, Tresor Kandol powerfully headed a Robert Snodgrass cross past McCarthy to make sure they did.
Town's frustration boiled over at the final whistle when Sam Williams and Kandol squared up to each other in the centre-circle sparking a brief mêlée involving several players. That was about as close as the Glovers came to hurting Leeds after half-time.
Would things have panned out any differently had Yeovil turned their first-half superiority into goals? In all honesty probably not, such was the Yorkshire side's class after the restart. Carry on playing like this and Leeds will already have been promoted by the time they come to Huish Park on April 6.