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Leeds United 1 Wycombe Wanderers 1: match report
Published : 09 Jan 2010 17:47:15
However much Leeds United manager Simon Grayson tries to talk down the transfer speculation surrounding his star striker Jermaine Beckford, this particular Sword of Damocles hangs precariously over him, and the forward's recent transfer request has cast a sobering pall over Elland Road as leaden as the afternoon skies across West Yorkshire. Grayson joked that when the player turned up for training in midweek he asked him if he had arrived at the wrong ground. Related ArticlesWilkinson: Jermaine Beckford is pricelessTaiwo set to leave ChelseaLeague One tableLeague One fixturesTelegraph player raterSport on televisionBut such levity masks a deep disquiet at the club which will only be exacerbated as the closure of the transfer window nears and difficult decisions have to be made. One suspects it will be the grey-bearded chief upstairs who will make them, particularly should the financial aspect be to his liking. Grayson insisted Beckford would start against Wycombe Wanderers and he did. In a thinly-veiled reference to his marksman, he was publicly upbeat about every player's commitment to the promotion cause. He stressed: 'There's no question of anyone not being fully-focused. We all enjoyed the moment last weekend but it is important that we continue picking up points.' The weekend in question saw Leeds march into the lair of Manchester United and unceremoniously destroy the league champions' FA Cup dreams. A triumph indeed, but it was now the bread-and-butter encounter with lowly-placed Wycombe that awaited, a match that for Leeds fans developed agonisingly into a classic case of 'after the Lord Mayor's Show'. Leeds' performance would inevitably be viewed through the prism of the Beckford transfer situation. In that respect, only a win would satisfy the jittery Elland Road faithful but the team failed to deliver the goods. They did not lose, but the boos that accompanied the final whistle clearly suggested more than simple dissatisfaction with the result but a resounding verdict on the Beckford affair. The striker himself had a frustrating game, but the same could be said for every other player wearing the white shirt. The opening minutes offered no indication of the frustrations that were to later dog Grayson's men as they took the lead in the fourth minute. Wycombe proffered Jonny Howson so much time he was able to earmark a number of potential spots before arrowing a low drive past keeper Scott Shearer's flailing right hand. However, rather than put the match out of reach Leeds laboured, much to the chagrin of an apoplectic Grayson. Wycombe belied their lowly league position and caused Leeds no end of problems. Jon-Paul Pitman hit the post in the eighth minute and ten minutes later Stuart Beavon brought a smart save out of Casper Ankergren. Early in the second period Leeds camped up inside Wycombe's half but failed to create a clear-cut opportunity. Instead it was Wycombe who struck, Pitman snatching a deserved equaliser in the 63rd minute with a thumping left foot drive. In the final ten minutes Leeds pushed for a winner, but they rarely looked like breaking down a spirited Wycombe who headed back south with a precious, hard-earned point.