Monday, 10 August 2009
Darlo v Leeds
No matter how much I try I don't think I will ever get used to watching Football on a Monday night. Monday nights should be for recovering from the first working day of the week and watching Norris, Blanche and Rita on Corrie not hurtling 70 miles into the northern wastes of Durham to watch the mighty whites.
But at the bequest of Sky our Carling Cup 1st round tester against the Quakers of Darlington had been re-scheduled for the un-natural Monday evening and that meant that the Happy Chocker, Quiet One and myself were gunning up the A1 along with Beefy (No not the cricketer) to join the rest of the 2000 Leeds fans at the Darlo Arena.
Darlo with the experienced duo of Colin Todd and Dean Windass at the helm are trying to put behind them last seasons financial problems and cobble together a team that will compete in League 2. It's a not a job I envy.
A quick pre match drink in the Darlo sports bar mingling with the home fans and then we were in the impressive arena. Problem was in the cavernous 25k capacity stadium Darlos sparse home crowds are lost and it's not difficult to hear individual comments echoing in the empty spaces. It goes without saying that the 2000 whites were as vocal as ever but it takes more than one set of fans to stimulate an atmosphere and sadly the match was played at what felt like a training match tempo.
Larry's selection had been hit by a training injury to Beckford, he's definitely not being sold Mr Grayson informed Radio Leeds after the match, and the absence on international duty of Krisnorbo and Rui. So there were five changes from Saturdays team with Grella and Big Enoch leading the line, Lubo and Hunts at the back and Hughes filling in at left back. Mmmmmm....... I bet Mr Sheehan is onto his agent this morning looking for another a club if he doesn't get a start in front of Hughesey!
I think the highlight of the first half was the fact that both Beefy and the HC got a zillion texts to say their mates had seen them on the telly as the Leeds fans amused themselves with a chorus of "we all love Leeds" Even the Present Mrs Marching on Together rang to say my ugly mug was caught on Sky. A classic it wasn't. I just wondered what the summarisers on Sky were going to talk about at HT because as far as I could see too many passes went astray and although Leeds were the better of the two teams the entertainment value was way down the richtor scale. Mike Grella was enjoying his opportunity with some intelligent running and skills without quite delivering the decisive final shot.
Leeds started the 2nd half with a spring in their step, or more likely a stern HT talk from Larry, what ever the reason Howson was soon striding through the home defence before shooting weakly and then Johnson nearly broke the crossbar with a shot after excellent work from Grella. A goal was on the cards and sure enough Grella and Snoddy combined to give Big Enoch a chance and his outstretched size 15 boot did the rest much to the delight of the large contingent of away fans. Nice one Enoch.
Leeds continued to try and play football but all too often they seemed to need one too many passes and moves broke down. I wish they would be more direct at times. As they didn't find a 2nd goal we entered the last 10 minutes with just the single goal lead...........Head in hands time as first Darlo had a goal chalked off for offside and then in the final embers of the match they missed a golden opportunity to equalise when a corner was headed wide when it was easier to score. Maybe their centre half felt like us and didn't fancy extra time and penalties?
The ref blew the final whistle and a half hearted chorus of Wemberlee drifted into the night air and we were on our way back down the A1.
Grella had a good game and certainly showed some good touches and intelligent running but I'm still not convinced. Snoddy didn't seem at his best.......don't know why and Enoch caused the defence plenty of problems. At the back Lubo never won a ball against the Vin Diesel lookalike, Thorpe, hunts was anonimous and Higgs was solid in goal.
This game won't last long in the memory bank though but it is another step on the road to Wembley and it was a 2nd win of the season. Roll on Wycombe.