Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Derby County v Leeds Utd carling Cup 4th Round 11th Nov 2008
As the Happy Chocker and I made our way down the moving car park that is the M1 to Pride Park we reflected on the days news. Fabulous Fabian has been called up to England U 21 by Stuart Pearce, which will do nothing to damp down his ever growing band of suitors from higher leagues and it also added more emphasis to the fans singing of "fabian delph is not for sale" during the match.
Also the Northampton FA Cup replay has been moved to Monday night to accommodate the TV schedulers, good for armchair fans but not the ones who have to arrange time off etc to attend. At least this time it is in the Happy Chocker's favour as he can now save a valuable rest day. The two hour journey flew by and after depositing the car in Pizza Hut's car park and walking the 1/2 mile to the ground we were glad of a pre match drink in the concrete vaults of Pride Park. As the bar filled with 3000 eager whites fans I bumped into Big Steve and his son George and a healthy debate on all things Leeds ensued.
Now Big Steve is one of Bradley Johnson's many supporters and clearly feels he should have been given more of a chance before being farmed out on loan..............but with Leeds' embarrassment of riches in midfield I'm afraid that debate will continue all season.
So after an impeccably observed 2 minutes silence for remembrance day, except for a distant chorus of MOT from unknowing Leeds fans still queuing the get in, we were underway. From the start the hordes of Leeds fans were in good voice giving their full backing to their heroes as they attempted to reach the quarter finals of this often maligned competition.
The Happy Chocker and I had again foolishly wagered on the outcome, 3:2 & 2.1 to Leeds respectively, and when Derby found themselves 2.0 up in 20 minutes courtesy of our frail defence the majority of fans girded themselves for a long night. But that view ignored the undoubted spirit and no little skill of this Leeds squad and as the half progressed Leeds took complete control and it was no surprise when a Richardson cross was buried in the net by Becchio past a despairing Carroll, reprising the same combination that delivered the winner at Cheltenham. The HT whistle came as Leeds were piling forward again and Derby gratefully headed for the dressing room wondering how on earth they were in front. In front they were and although they reshuffled over the break to try and nullify the rampant Leeds midfield it made no difference as Delph continued to strut his delightful stuff ably supported by Dougie and Snoddy. Chances came and went and as the hectic last 5 minutes approached we were still behind. Lubo was dispatched up front for one last push but all to no avail. The Leeds fans justifiably sang "We played you off the park" to the bewildered Derby contingent...........their non existent reply spoke volumes.
If games were won on points then the game would have been over long before the finish but unfortunately they're won on goals and the two early ones Derby snatched proved decisive. Once again Lubo's generosity to the man he's marking must have made him think Xmas had come early. Fabian was outstanding and continually bamboozled the Derby midfield with his distribution and ball skills. He executed his version of the Cruyff turn at will all evening inspiring a team performance that oozed class.
So back to the car and the trek home..........starting with a call to the Radio Leeds phone in and a chat with Andy Ritchie.............yours truly advising listeners to look out for the highlights on Crimewatch UK as Derby had just committed daylight robbery!
Roll on Saturday and Uddersfield.........on this form we should get a hatful. Can't wait.