Leeds 2 Crystal Palace 1: Becchio and Green put on a show for new owners GFH Capital
17:27 GMT, 24 November 2012
17:27 GMT, 24 November 2012
Leeds manager Neil Warnock delivered on his promise that the season started today as his side kicked off their new era by ending Crystal Palace's 14-game unbeaten run.
After six months of negotiations, United were this week bought by GFH Capital, and Warnock, having said anyone could have done his job for the first four cash-strapped months of the season, claimed today was the first day of his pursuit of a record-setting eighth promotion.
And, although the goals scored by Luciano Becchio and Paul Green do not mask the fact Leeds had gone seven without a win prior to today, leaving them far from Premier League material, this was as good a start as they and GFH could have wished for.
Starting today: Leeds United ended Palace's 14-game unbeaten run
Leeds: Kenny, Byram, Tate, Lees, Peltier, Green, Tonge, Norris,
Thomas (Poleon 75), Diouf (McCormack 82), Becchio,
Poleon (Brown 90).
Subs Not Used: Ashdown, White, Gray, Hall.
Goals: Becchio 52, Green 76.
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward (Wilbraham 90), Ramage, Delaney, Parr, Zaha, Jedinak, Dikgacoi, Garvan (Moritz 65), Bolasie (Easter 68), Murray.
Subs Not Used: Price, Moxey, O'Keefe, Gabbidon.
Booked: Delaney, Murray.
Goal: Ramage 86.
Ref: David Coote (Nottinghamshire).
Championship results, tables and fixtures
Equally, a first defeat since their
Capital One Cup defeat to Preston on August 28 does not spell disaster
for Palace, although Cardiff's win at Barnsley means top spot is no
Manager Ian Holloway, for whom this
was a first loss since his switch from Blackpool, will point to two
contentious penalty decisions which went against England winger Wilfried
Zaha but, short of Peter Ramage's late goal, his men were undone by a
side revelling in front of playing in front of their new owners.
GFH have promised investment in
January but it was one of the players they brought in on loan yesterday,
Jerome Thomas, who took the fight to Palace early on, skinning Joel
Ward and firing in a cross which nearly led to danger.
Leeds fed off Thomas' energy and soon
Becchio was denied by Julian Speroni in the Palace goal, before the
Argentinean stopper, a summer target of Warnock, did brilliantly to get
down low and keep out David Norris after a bursting run from the
After failing to land Speroni,
Warnock tied up a deal for another of his old foot soldiers, Paddy
Kenny, and he was then called into action at the other end, getting the
slightest touch to an across-goal drive from Zaha, who outmuscled Sam
Byram to get a shot in.
Impressed: Leeds director Salem Patel cheered as one of the goals went in for his new club
He then got to work behind a routine
drive from Owen Garvan, before a brilliant double save kept his side
level. First he flung himself to his left to palm away Jonathan Parr's
curler, leaving the goal open in the process. He was up quickly, though,
shutting down Glenn Murray who looked a safe bet to grab his 16th of
the season from six yards.
Zaha was Palace's most dangerous
player – far too strong for opposite number Byram – and the two were
involved in a flashpoint on the stroke of half-time, with the former not
getting the penalty he courted after appearing to be tripped.
Fortunately for him, he received no caution for his subsequent shoving of Norris.
There was no doubt Palace had ended
the first half the better but seven minutes into the second half, they
were behind, owing largely to Ramage's failure to clear his lines. After
Lee Peltier's cross was nodded across goal by Paul Green, the
experienced defender headed it against his own man, Mile Jedinak,
allowing Becchio to pounce from two yards.
Palace's attempts at a response
inevitably went through Zaha who again thought he had claims on a
penalty when he and Byram became entangled for a second time, although
the best chances fell in Leeds' favour, with Norris drilling over after a
Byram cross fell kindly for him.
A second Leeds goal would arrive,
though, with Green's 75th-minute sweet back-post volley – after Alan
Tate's punt forward fell to him – deflecting beyond Speroni's reach.
Thinking the game was done, Warnock
sent on Ross McCormack for a first home appearance in almost three
months following injury, but Leeds were given a reality check with five
minutes left when Ramage dived to head in Kagisho Dikgacoi's cross.
With five minutes of time added
Palace had a chance to get a second, but the closest they came was
Michael Tonge booting off his own line following a scramble, and Leeds