- Wycombe Wanderers & Cowdenbeath
- N = Newcastle, S = Plymouth, E = Norwich City, W = Plymouth
Saturday, 14 March 2009
Leeds United v Swindon Town Mar 14th 2009
Brother Chris was again on driving duty for today's game against the strugglers from Swindon. The Happy Chocker and the Quiet One made up a full car and we were soon testing each other with more trivia questions, which are the only two teams in England and Scotland whose names contain the letters A,B,C,D & E? Which teams are the most Northerly, Southerly, Westerly and Easterly in England (answers at the bottom). The bright weather disguised the fact that there was a strong wind blowing and as we disembarked in the ER car park we felt the worst of it as it whipped up off Elland Road. As we walked behind the South Stand HC was alert enough to spot two members of The Kaiser Chiefs coming the other way as they hurried to their seats. We resisted the urge to request an impromptu song and instead made our way to the our usual haunt, The Members bar.....................something was not quite right though as a long queue snaked away from the entrance with a flurry of stewards at the front holding everyone back. We endured the queue for a while but when it became apparent that the guys in the orange jackets had received some refresher training from Dr Goebels and the chances of us getting into the bar were slimmer than Ashley Cole getting an understanding welcome from Cheryl we adjourned to the bar in the Kop. Dotted around the ground were people shaking their cash tins in support of The Samaritans...........there is a delicious irony in the fact that watching the mighty whites can sometimes seem as if it's driving you to suicide and the fact that those worthy volunteers chose a match day at ER to try and raise some funds seemed strangely appropriate. As it happened we were just in time to see on the TV screens the Scousers notch their final 2 goals against Manure for a surprise 4:1 win at the Theatre of Corporate Hospitality..............giving most fans a chance to open their vocal chords before the kick off.It was then that I made the first mistake of the day and laid a bet on a 4:0 Leeds win with Mr Howson appearing on the score sheet.
As expected the team was left as it was from Tuesday with the new loan star Liam Dickinson on the bench with Grella. Now the Happy Chocker was convinced that our new Dicko was of a deep charcoal colour, as I must admit I was, so it was a shock to see the new No 27 warming up with a skin colour two shades whiter than Michael Jackson!
The match started and from the off it was clear that the horrible swirling wind was going to play a major part in the game. Leeds played with it at their backs as they attacked the South Stand in the first half. Whilst Leeds had the better of the opening exchanges they never seemed to gel everything together as passes went annoyingly astray at the vital moment. Eventually though we carved out a golden chance which Fabian drilled just too high and just wide of the beaten goalie................sort of summed up the opening period.
With the ball swirling around and in danger of getting air sickness there were a number of tasty tackles flying in from both sides and both Snoddy and Beckford picked up yellow cards from the archetypal short arsed pedantic referee, no he didn't have a good game. As the half came to an end Leeds left the field on top on points but worryingly not by goals.
At half time a group paraded their banner round the ground in support of The Chief, Lucas Radebe, and as you'd expect got a very generous reception from all parts of the stadium.
As Leeds kicked off the final period it was soon apparent how stiff the wind had been at their backs as Casper's kicks, never the best on a good day, were ballooning up in the air and almost coming back on themselves. The game was scrappy with very little good football and Swindon were battling with more confidence as the game progressed. HC was getting apprehensive and not just because the beloved stewards were trying their best to antagonise everybody.....no he uttered the fatal words "it's got 0:0 written all over it".....................No we're on a 6 game winning streak at ER...............we can't let a poor relegation haunted team upset the apple cart can we?...............well as HC reminded me we've got a degree in that scenario so maybe we can.
Leeds pushed on with lots of hustle and bustle and on the times we got the ball on the floor we did look likely to score but with my watch racing round at twice it's normal speed I was beginning to fear the worst.
We had kept the Swindon goalie busy throughout without really extending him with Beckford, Howson and Kilkenny continually looking to test him.
With 15 minutes left Larry played his substitution card and brought on Grella, Dickinson & Johnson for Killa, Parker and Becchio to add extra spice for the final assault on the Robins goal.
Grella's first two touches were with Swindon players and left them with dangerous free kicks but the defence stood firm as it had done for most of the afternoon with the exception of a couple of heart stopping moments when decisive indecision spread amongst Casper and his colleagues. To be fair Swindons main threat had been their long throws, a la Stoke City, all afternoon and I can't remember Casper having a proper save to make.
As the game drew to a close the most unlikely result 0:0 suddenly looked as if it was going to defy all logic.......................but the mercurial Mr Beckford had still got his main part to play. Snoddy controlled a loose ball on the right and lobbed the ball intelligently back to the back post where Jermaine rose to nod in a welcome goal......................cue ecstatic celebrations borne out of relief all around the ground.
So we'd done the hard job now all we had to do was hold out for the last 2 minutes and another 3 points would be deposited in the promotion vault......................but this is Leeds and nothing is ever easy.....................as Swindon pushed for an equaliser they left themselves exposed at the back and when Dicko broke free with the ball on the right he looked up and picked out JB with a perfect through ball.............only problem was that our super striker had drifted offside, for the millionth time this season, and as the ref blew Beckford's petulant streak came to the fore as he punched the ball away. As soon as he'd done it I knew with Mr Pedantic reffing a 2nd yellow was coming his way and the inevitable red card. So he misses our next game at Crewe and having scored 29 goals from 30 starts this season his absence will be sorely missed.
The final whistle sounded and a hard fought victory was ours but at a price. Results elsewhere mean we have certainly solidified our position in the play offs and still left an outside chance of making the 2nd auto spot as our unbeaten run now numbers 6 with 7 straight wins at home. The general feeling after the game was one of slightly tarnished delight thanks to Mr B's petulance and also one of relief because we were starting to think that all we would get for our efforts would be a single point and not the three that we deserved. If we can keep grinding out 3 points when we are not fully on song then the final run in could be very sweet indeed.
Snoddy, Howson, Killa, Naylor and Rui all performed well today with Dougie again looking assured at RB. It wasn't a match that will stay long in the memory though and Larry will have to work on getting a bit more composure into our play ready for the tricky trip to Crewe next week..........and also get JB back on the anger management course. His goals are so valuable to the team which makes it even more galling when the red mist descends on him..........he's a fool to himself. Still it could be worse he could be playing against us and then we really would have to worry!
Answers to Trivia: