Leeds lifted as Forest fall
Last Updated: 22/09/12 6:06pm
Becchio (c): Celeberates his opener
Nottingham Forest's unbeaten start to the season was halted by Leeds at Elland Road as the hosts triumphed 2-1 on Saturday.
After almost seven years of supporter unrest about his involvement with their club, United's supporters were told by veteran owner Ken Bates that talks over investment from four present Bahraini businessman are at an advanced stage, prior to a 90 minutes that saw their side score through Luciano Becchio and starting debutant Dom Poleon.
The success not only ended a two-game losing run for Leeds, but allowed manager Neil Warnock to avenge the 7-3 defeat at the hands of the same opposition in March that he described as one of the worst nights of his career.
He promised to return this year campaign with a side worthy of promotion and, should Bates stay true to his word, then he may well have new money with which to pursue that ambition.
Forest are a side already feasting on the wealth of Gulf owners and a lavish summer spending spree was one of the key reasons behind their previously unbeaten start. Their riches could not spare them today, though, as two failures to clear their box gave them a deficit that they could not surmount despite Dexter Blackstock's goal and a late onslaught.
With a thin squad - further depleted by the expected three-month absence of Ross McCormack - at his disposal, Warnock had hardly done his bit to raise pre-match expectations by saying he might as well go fishing as try and sign a new player.
He was true to his word with no fresh faces lining up today, but with the ground seemingly energised by the pre-match activity, Leeds set about getting on top of Forest early on, with Rodolph Austin sending in a 25-yard tester in the second minute.
Forest responded through Simon Cox, with the striker working Paddy Kenny at his near post, before Tom Lees headed a pinpoint El Hadji Diouf corner wide at the other end.
Diouf was the man Warnock turned to in the summer when captain and playmaker Robert Snodgrass left for Norwich and the Senegal international has not disappointed his manager so far with a string of impressive performances.
He added to that in the 15th minute when he laid on the opening goal, cutting in and standing up a cross that hung in the air and eventually fell for Becchio who duly made it seven for the season.
Diouf was causing Forest all sorts of problems as he flipped between playing up front and on the wing but, for all of his poise on the ball, he has never been renowned as a lethal finisher and so it proved in the 23rd minute.
The former Liverpool man broke in to the box on the back of a Poleon lay-off but could only roll in a shot that was blocked easily, although it mattered little two minutes later as the roles were reversed.
Diouf pulled a long clearance out of the sky and immediately threaded a ball through that put Becchio in on goal and, although the Argentinean dallied too long, Poleon was on hand to ram in from 12 yards.
Forest's response was muted with an Andy Reid free-kick and a James Coppinger long-ranger the best they could muster, and the would have been three down at the break had Becchio not blazed over from six yards.
That miss would cause Leeds' anxiety levels to rise after the break too for, with an hour gone, Greg Halford launched a long throw which Kenny lost in the sun, allowing Blackstock to head in.
Forest had discovered Leeds' Achilles heel - the long throw - and Halford quickly deployed it again, with Kenny this time scrambling to tip over, and the goalkeeper redeemed himself further with a sprawling denial of Lewis McGugan's 75th-minute curler.
They would continue to pepper the Leeds box with crosses but, as time ticked on, including six additional minutes, their resolve weakened and United held on.
Sky Bet Championship
Sat 22nd Sep
Sheff Wed1 - 2Bolton
Watford2 - 2Bristol C
Millwall1 - 2Brighton
Derby1 - 2Burnley
C Palace3 - 2Cardiff
Ipswich1 - 2Charlton
Leeds2 - 1N Forest
Peterboro0 - 2Wolves
Birmingham0 - 5Barnsley
Sky Bet Championship
|4||Queens Park Rangers||44||76|
|7||Brighton and Hove Albion||44||66|