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Saturday, 8 November 2008

FA Cup 1st Round Leeds Utd v Northampton Town 7th Nov 08

Match Track

It's 5 years since we've won an FA Cup match and an embarrassing 35 years since we reached the FA Cup final. With those sobering facts playing on my mind I join The Happy Chocker and the Quiet One for the dash to Elland Road for our 1st round clash with Northampton Town.  As the match had been chosen for Setanta viewers to occupy their Friday night we were not expecting very many Leeds fans to make the effort and attend but a crowd of under 10k was disappointing to say the least..............I know it's a well worn record but why oh why doesn't Capt Birdseye drop the prices for such matches and get a few more bums on seats? Before the match the Quiet One amazed his Dad and yours truly with his knowledge of the life and times of Isambard Kingdom Brunel..........clearly the teachers in North Duffield have done a good job in inspiring one of their brood with knowledge of one of the greatest engineers the UK has ever produced....................back to the game and for the first time we sampled the hospitality of Howards Way  before the game. After bumping into Eddie, The Wakefield Warrior, and organising some shared lifts for the forthcoming Northampton game we made our way into the sparsely populated ground.
Despite the lack of fellow fans the ones that were there created a good atmosphere and were in good voice.  A new song found it's way into the Kop's portfolio as they crudely berated any fans sat at home watching on Setanta.....................I'm sure the TV editors were scrambling for the mute button each time it surfaced.
Macca picked a strong attacking team with both Snoddy and Robbo starting the game but mysteriously Beckford was missing later transpired that he'd been injured in training quashing the more lurid conspiracy theories as to why he wasn't playing.  With Tony Adams sat in the stand, presumably running the rule over Fabian, the match got under way.  Leeds started well getting immediate control of the game and passing the ball crisply on a still clear November evening.  It was therefore a shock when Northampton took the lead.  Not for the first time this season Lubo lost his man who was able to cross for Constantine who couldn't convert but as the ball ran free to a suspiciously looking offside McGliesh he gleefully scored in front of a disbelieving Kop.
There weren't many in the ground who didn't think it would take long to get back on terms and that feeling was re enforced when Giles Coke collected a second yellow and was dispatched for an early bath.  
He was lucky to be on the field after his first scything tackle on Ben Parker.......the way he was fizzing about the pitch before he got sent off he had clearly been snorting something! (Sorry couldn't resist with a name like that)
So when Robbo converted a penalty just before halftime after Howson had been pulled down in the box relief poured around the stands like the first cold beer after a long day at work.  So Leeds trudged off at HT level and looking forward to completing the job in the 2nd half as they were  attacking the Kop
Unfortunately the 2nd half turned out more like a groundhog day as we played shots in again and despite rattling the woodwork, peppering their goalie with shots and having another penalty shout refused we ended the game all level and still without an FA Cup win for 5 years.
Frustration was the common theme amongst the loyal fans as they wended their way away from the benefit with a small crowd is that it's easy getting a quick getaway...........small comfort though.  So in the car the inquest began.  Why were there no substitutions until the last 10 minutes?  When Enoch came on he certainly livened up the attack and could easily have snatched the winner.  Why do we seem to have lost the ability to implement an effective final ball or shot after such good approach work?  Why is supporting your favourite team so painful? Why couldn't we have a penalty shoot out and avoid another long midweek trip fro the replay?  I suppose those questions will remain unanswered until the next game, Derby in the Carling Cup on Tuesday.
Finally..........what do you do on a Saturday when there's no match?

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