Leeds United player ratings vs QPR: Solid spine, wasteful wingers

Elland Road

Leeds United produced one of their top performances of the season in a hard fought 1-1 draw with automatic promotion hopefuls Queens Park Rangers

Brian McDermott must have given a Winston Churchill like speech pre-match, because the side that came running out against Queens Park Rangers looked completely different to the one that had been underwhelming supporters in recent weeks. 

Leeds United came out like a side with fire in their belly in the first twenty minutes and the football on show proved too much for QPR to deal with. And when Ross McCormack was brought down in the box, it looked like their good start was going to be rewarded.

However, when the instrumental striker stepped up, his strike was anything but inspirational, and a weak effort aimed at the bottom right-hand corner was scooped up by former England keeper Robert Green.

It didn't take long for McCormack to get back on level terms with Luis Suarez as the countries top goalscorer, when a sweetly struck free-kick was luckily deflected into the top right-hand corner of the net.

Leeds didn't let their lead go to their heads and carried on playing with a solid midfield and defence, trying to work opportunities against a rigid QPR side.

Unfortunately for the Yorkshire club, Rangers decided to throw more men forward and with that, they got their reward. A superbly worked ball through the middle of the Leeds United final third was finished excellently by former Nottingham Forest midfielder Jermaine Jenas.

The second half provided very little chances and with both sides showing a strong resolve against their opposition attacks, there was really very little to report, until one of the last kicks of the game.

A well worked free-kick found Clint Hill with space inside the box and with a sweetly struck volley he looked to have won the game. However, the linesman ruled the goal out, correctly, for offside.

Here are our Leeds United player ratings:

Jack Butland - 7

Lee Peltier - 6

Jason Pearce - MOTM - 8

Tom Lees - 7

Stephen Warnock - 7

Jimmy Kebe - 5

Rudolph Austin - 7

Luke Murphy - 7

Cameron Stewart - 5

Connor Wickham - 6

Ross McCormack - 7

All in all, the spine of the Leeds United side was very strong, in particular Jason Pearce who had a really good game.

Upfront the pairing of Connor Wickham and Ross McCormack showed glimpses of a natural togetherness, and certainly reason for Leeds United fans to watch their progression together with a keen eye. A few little one-twos in the game, while not match-winning today, showed their ability of unlocking defences.

In midfield, there were strong performances from Rudolph Austin and Luke Murphy, as both players gave a full-blooded, energetic show for the fans, but unfortunately for them they couldn't make more impact on the game.

As for the wingers, I thought they were very disappointing, in particular Cameron Stewart who seemed to offer absolutely nothing in the game and was definitely the weak link in the side. Jimmy Kebe wasn't much better, but stayed on the pitch longer than his team-mate and helped to see out the game.

Defensively it was a strong performance from Leeds. However, it has to be said the full-backs willingness to go and help their wingers was quite poor and in truth they offered little going forward. The central defensive duo were fantastic for Leeds, with Jason Pearce edging it slightly as they showed a strong resolve to keep an expensive QPR attacking line-up at bay.

image: © David Locke

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