Wednesday, 18 February 2009
Hereford United v Leeds United Feb 17th 2009
Welly created a bit more room in the car when he pulled out at the last minute from our midweek trek to Hereford......he must of known something we didn't either that or she was very nice!So that left the Happy Chocker and the Quiet One with HC's brother kindly driving 0n the 360 mile round trip. Nervous apprehension filled the car as we tried to work what team Larry would play with Dougie and Beckford out through suspension and Hughes and Frazer still injured. Full backs were conspicuous by their absence, especially right backs.After much pondering and some checking on Billy No Show by text we pulled into a hotel near Hereford for a comfort stop. The Quiet Ones eyes were as wide as saucers as we realised that the guys scurrying out of the reception and onto a team bus were no other than our heroes from Leeds. Even better they were more than happy to have their photos taken with our motley crew. Trundle and Robbo were the last out.............presumably polishing off one of Pukka's finest before the forthcoming exertions!Buoyed by our good fortune at the toilet stop we finished our journey on a high before finding the accommodating Huntsman pub in Hereford to finish off our pre match preparations. Not surprisingly there were a good number of fellow whites fans frequenting the hostelry and quenching their pre match nerves in a similar manner. Nerves? Against lowly Hereford? Well yes and I couldn't help reflecting how bad things have got following Leeds..........Pre match nerves are normal but having experienced them at places such as the San Siro, Anfield & Barcelona it seem surreal to be now worrying over a game taking place the poor excuse for a Football ground that is Edgar Street "Stadium"
Once inside the ground, despite the over officious turnstyle operators, we took in the team news. Dickinson, playing his last game before returning to Stoke, filled in at Right Back with Ben Parker reprising his left back role. More worrying was the continuation of Becchio and Trundle up front.
The game kicked off in front of Hereford's biggest gate of the season boosted by 2000 loyal whites fans. Leeds started well and it wasn't long before those pre match worries started to subside as they slowly turned the screw on their relegation threatened hosts. Their on loan goalie hadn't been really tested though before Robbo was pulled down in the area to give Leeds a penalty. Lee Trundle stepped up to take the spot kick.........the crowd held it's collective breath and of course the goalie flung himself to his right and saved a less than convincing attempt. It was going to be one of THOSE nights!
It wasn't long before we should have had a 2nd penalty as a clear handball was amazingly waved away by the ref who was no more than 10 yards away.................our cries of abuse at the man in black were still ringing in his ears as Hereford broke away and Myrie Williams put an innocuous shot in the corner of Caspers goal............it almost looked as if the shot was in slow motion ffs. it definitely was going to be one of THOSE nights.
At 1:0 down we still had the better of the game up to half time but time and again moves broke down before anyone got a shot in on the big goalie. So as the HT whistle went I mooched off for a burger fearing the worst.
The 2nd half was a scrappy affair with Leeds play becoming more disjointed and desperate the longer the game went on and when Hereford scored a 2nd (with their 2nd shot on goal) through Brandy, who is on loan from Scumchester, the grumblings of discontent in the away end became a torrent. Of course there was still time to pull back the 2 goals but for that we would have to at least try some shots on goal.............but the longer the game continued the worse the attempts got. Robbo for instance firing high and wide on more than one occasion.
Larry tried his subs with Grella and Prutton coming on to try and shake things up. I couldn't understand the logic in removing Snoddy though who I thought was causing some trouble? Grella struggled with a poor first touch and looked in need of a number of conditioning games in the reserves before he is ready for the first team.
The final act of embarrassment was Becchio conspiring to miss a sitter when he was left unmarked 8 yards out with only the goalie to beat...........even then he didn't hit the target!
This was the worst Leeds performance of the season and more disconcerting was the way too many heads went down after the 2nd Hereford goal. We have too many players who's reputations are far better than what they are producing on the pitch and that is at the centre of the problem we currently have.
At the final whistle there were harsh words and boos from the travelling fans, revolt is in the air Mr Bates. Carl Dickinson braved the volleys of abuse to come over and thank all the fans as he left for Stoke. He will be missed as he has given nothing more than 110% in every game he's played and has tightened up our creaky defence.
Back in the car I vented my spleen to Andy Ritchie on Radio Leeds before the signal on my mobile died. It's a long way home when you've lost and never more so when you've lost a game that we could have won with more commitment and composure..........that' what sticks in the throat. One good thing about the long journey was that the Happy Chocker had calmed down a bit from his "that's it I aren't going on f****** Saturday to watch that shower of sh***" post match outburst and decided that he would go...........you can't not go can you when you have this much fun?