Town beaten in first West Yorkshire derby of the season
A brace from Leeds United striker Luciano Becchio was the deciding factor in the first West Yorkshire derby of the season despite the Terriers going ahead when Chris Atkinson scored on his first start of the season.
Atkinson made a fine start on his return from Chesterfield as he confidently buried the ball into the bottom corner for the Terriers’ first goal.
Michael Tongue equalised for the West Yorkshire neighbours with a shot that Town ‘keeper Alex Smithies was unable to deal with.
Argentine striker Becchio claimed the lead for his team with a spectacular top corner drive that gave Smithies no chance.
However, Becchio conceded the visitors lead just before half time, giving away a penalty by pulling back Anthony Gerrard. Clayton scored his first goal for Town at home from the spot kick to make it all square again with two goals apiece at half-time
Town fell behind with less than twenty minutes to play as David Norris smashed in a neatly controlled half volley. Beforr Becchio grabbed his second goal of the game five minutes from time to acquire the three points for Leeds.
Atkinson was one of four changes made to Town’s team; he replaced Oliver Norwood in central midfield to make his first start of the season. Elsewhere, Alan Lee came in for Lee Novak; Anthony Gerrard replaced Paul Dixon and former Leeds player Adam Clayton returned from suspension at the expense of Anton Robinson.
Town made the brighter start and in the opening minute Simon Church had the first shot on goal. He turned inside former Town Player Lee Peltier and unleashed a wild shot into the side netting with his left foot. The visitors soon responded as Ross McCormack collected a through ball from Paul Green, only to be stopped in his tracks by left back Joel Lynch.
Leeds ‘keeper Paddy Kenny produced the first save of the game on 10 minutes; comfortably collecting Danny Ward’s shot from outside the area.
Moments later though, Kenny had to collect the ball from his own net as Atkinson slotted home to give Town the first goal of the game. Jack Hunt cut inside from the right and then laid the ball off to Clayton. The midfielder supplied a diagonal through ball to the unmarked Atkinson to put Town ahead in the 12th minute.
Tongue then equalised for the visitors in the 34th minute with his shot from the edge of the area went straight through the hands of Alex Smithies and dribbled over the line.
Leeds doubled their advantage a few minutes late when Becchio scored his first of the game. Tonge’s long ball over the top was latched onto by McCormack and he found Becchio on the edge of the area who blasted his shot into the top left corner
It was all square at half time, however, when Town scored a 43rd minute penalty. Becchio was penalised for shirt pulling on Gerrard and Clayton stepped up and converted the spot kick, rolling the ball into the bottom right corner to make it 2-2 at halftime.
Town continued to increase their intensity in the second half as Alan Lee headed over from a Ward corner to the gasps of a lively home crowd.
Leeds replied with a chance of its own when Jerome Thomas fired over from outside the area. McCormack sprinted past Gerrard on the left flank and chipped a ball over to Thomas which he volleyed high into the away stand.
On the hour mark Lee had another chance to put Town in front but his lopping header from 10 yards out dropped over Kenny’s crossbar.
Town’s resistance lasted until the 69th minute when Leeds edged ahead through David Norris. Ryan Hall delivered a right wing cross to Norris who snatched the lead by guiding the ball into the bottom corner with a left footed half volley.
With ten minutes to play, Leeds could have put themselves further in front from Hall’s header. McCormack skipped past Atkinson on the left and lobbed a high ball to the back post which was met by Hall and tipped over well by Town’s keeper.
Becchio secured the victory for Leeds with his header in the 85tt minute when he nodded in Hall’s high cross from 18 yards to claim three points for his side.
Alex Smithies; Joel Lynch (Calum Woods, 56), Anthony Gerrard, Peter Clarke (c), Jack Hunt; Scott Arfield (Adam Hammill, 74), Chris Atkinson, Adam Clayton, Danny Ward; Alan Lee (James Vaughan, 63), Simon Church
Ian Bennett, Oliver Norwood, Sean Scannell, Lee Novak,
Bookings Town: Danny Ward, 68
Bookings Leeds: Becchio, 42