Ross’ hat-trick calms storm
AROSS McCormack-inspired derby drubbing put a big smile back on Leeds fans’ faces amid the uncertainty surrounding the position of manager Brian McDermott.
Cagliari owner Massimo Cellino’s offer to buy 75 per cent of the club from owners GFH Capital sparked a crazy 24 hours for United – starting with the supposed removal of McDermott hours before Friday’s transfer deadline, only for the club to announce a apparent u-turn midway through the second half.
Consequently the game itself served as something of a sideshow attraction to events off the field – a pity for United captain McCormack, who led Leeds’ impressive revival with three goals to give them their first win in nine games.
And Leeds assistant manager Nigel Gibbs – who appeared on the teamsheet as caretaker manager – hailed the hat-trick hero.
He said: “His performance was terrific. That was a captain’s performance and he led by example.
“He’s a goalscorer, that’s what he does, and you can see that it was a performance for the manager. He’s got a fantastic relationship with Brian, who made him captain.
“That’s Brian’s team, his performance and his victory, without a doubt, and you can see that.
“I think first half we actually started quite well and went a goal down against the run of play.
“The conditions were diffficult in the wind and it wasn’t easy to get out of our own half but the key goal was the one before half -ime, then obviously in the second half you’ve seen our terrific performance.”
Danny Ward put Huddersfield ahead from Calum Woods’ excellent through ball midway through a poor firsthalf performance from the hosts.
McCormack gave a brief pep talk to his teammates before the match restarted, and it was he who scored a scarcely-deserved equaliser on the stroke of half-time after Jimmy Kebe did well to keep Sam Byram’s long ball alive.
Leeds were much better in the second half, and within five minutes, Kebe fired them in front from McCormack’s smart back heel.
The Scot then made it three with a tap-in just after the hour after good work from Rodolph Austin allowed Byram to cross from the right.
McCormack then completed his hat-trick via the post after Kebe’s failure to connect with Cameron Stewart’s cross.
Alex Mowatt added Leeds’ fifth with his first ever goal eight minutes from time, calmly curling into the open net after Town keeper Alex Smithies collided with Anthony Gerrard.
Huddersfield boss Mark Robins said: “It was the classic game of two halves, disappointingly for us.
“We’d done well in the first half and if we’d got the second goal we’d have won the game comfortably.
“It might even have been a reverse scoreline, you just don’t know, but we didn’t take the chance.
“We gave them a lifeline right on the stroke of half-time and it really just sent us reeling a little bit in terms of the belief.
“We managed to create enough chances to win the game and have it out of sight before they scored.”
OPENER: Ross McCormack scores Leeds’ first goal
HAT-TRICK: Ross McCormack