Sunday, 14 December 2008
Leeds united v Colchester United Dec 13th 2008
With a biting wind whistling around Selby station and leaden skies delivering a constant rain the weather was remarkably in tune with the current mood at Elland Road. Fortunately for the Happy Chocker and I the train was on time and we gladly jumped on board the inviting warmth of the packed carriage. Our pre match thoughts were quite understandably tainted with worries about keeping a clean sheet again..................but against a struggling team such as Colchester even that seemed possible in that wonderful hiatus of the build up to a match...........how deluded we were!
After hurrying into the members bar and ordering the first Curry of the day to keep the cold at bay we met Welly, Wakey Warriors and the Neighbours for a nervous discussion about the prospects for the afternoon. On stage was Peter Lorimer who introduced Frazer Richardson to ironic cheers from his less than generous fans. Injury was keeping him on the side lines but he assured the fans present that the team were up for the task and had been working on their defensive patterns all week on the training ground...................mmmmm!
So onto the match and the weather worsened with the rain even heavier and as our seats are not protected by the ER roof we were in for a good soaking. Snoddy started up front with Becchio with Christie and Enoch on the bench and Delph returning to the midfield. Right from the off Leeds were distinctly nervous and jittery on the ball contributing to a scrappy opening period and when Colchester did attack the Leeds defence looked as usual very shaky.
So when Snoddy scored a well taken goal to put Leeds in front there was more of a sigh of relief around the ground rather than a cheer. But Leeds' play was again laboured and lacking in direction, with the exception of the talented Delph buzzing around midfield like a demented Bee.
The inevitable equalizer came before half time from, yes you guessed it, a corner. The marking was all but non existent allowing the ecstatic U's player to score in front of the Kop. The fact that the ref had mistakenly given a corner in the first place didn't do anything to lift the gloom.
The mutterings amongst the fans at Half time were more of resignation to our fate rather than belligerence and belief in our team.
Gary Mac sent the team out early from what I assume was a HT bollocking......but to no avail as before long we were staring down the barrel of a 4th defeat on the bounce as Colchester pinched the winner with a curling free kick into the top corner of Lucas' net. The few fans who had bothered to travel from Essex were in a pre Xmas wonderland as they celebrated their unlikely success........................whilst the Leeds fans were left wet cold and utterly disconsolate from another uninspiring and inept performance.
I just don't know where it's all gone wrong within a matter of weeks we have gone from being a team that were compared to Arsenal due to their crisp passing game to one that is fast becoming the laughing stock of English football. Add to that the fact that the defence is getting worse as each week goes by. Yesterday I lost count of the number of times that opposing players were left unmarked at set pieces...............the very set pieces that Frazer had assured the fans in the members bars they had been practicing all week. Well if that's the best they can do I'm afraid all bets are off with regards promotion and we can look forward to a season of mid table mediocrity at best.
The pressure on Gary Mac is now immense and Capt Birdseye needs to decide before the transfer deadline if changes are needed. One thing for sure is that games against MK Dons, Leicester and Stockport over the next two weeks don't offer any hope of points on this form and if that is the case then changes at the top are inevitable.
So the Happy Chocker and I consoled ourselves with a 2nd curry of the day and a few pints in Leeds as a way of trying to numb some of the pain................but even that couldn't erase the images of a Leeds team bereft of ideas floundering on the Elland Road turf against a decidedly average 3rd Division team.........it's the stuff of nightmares.