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Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Bristol Rovers v Leeds United Oct 27th 2009

After the sobering defeat in South London on Saturday our rather battered group of fans negotiated all sorts of difficulties to make the 200 mile trip to the home of the Pirates of Bristol. The Happy Chocker had recovered from flu, Quiet One was able to come due to the school hols and Beefy & Norton negotiated fair and foul excuses not be at work in the afternoon to make up a very full car. Initial predictions from our merry band were positive even Mr grumpy Beefy predicting a Beckford hat trick!
The run down to the west country went without incident until we were 5 miles from the stadium...........then we spent a frustrating 90 minutes first queuing then attempting to find a space to leave the car in the vicinity of the Memorial Ground. So for the first time in living memory we missed the kick off. I was not a happy bunny!
We only missed the first 5 minutes though so we were just catching our breath when Jermaine lost his marker intelligently as Doyle slotted a perfect ball through for our star striker to coolly find the net via the left hand post. Simples. Mr Beckford was not such a lazy bastard tonight then? Wonder if his many critics in the Leeds masses were celebrating as much as we were? Of course the answer's yes.
He was soon back on the attack as he rounded the keeper at a wide angle in similar fashion to the one at Millwall.............this time he steadied himself and tried to find Snoddy in the middle to no avail. Things were looking good.
Bristol, on the back of 3 straight defeats, looked a side devoid of confidence but initially Leeds failed to take full advantage of their weak opponents by their willingness to play mostly inaccurate long balls for Vokes and Beckford to chase down. Not pretty to watch. When we did get the ball on the floor we looked a class above but in the first 45 minutes that was fleetingly rare. Frustration was creeping into the ever critical demanding whites fans as we failed to add to the early opener. Add to this some very shaky goalkeeping from our friend Casper and the nerves were starting to jangle. They became a veritable earthquake when the great Dane flapped at a shot from 30 yards only to see it rebound down from the crossbar far too near the line for comfort! Was it going to be one of those nights?
Leeds finished the half on a high as first a Snoddy free kick and then Beckford went near to doubling their advantage.
HT reflection was focused on Casper and his first half antics. We still had a clean sheet though and recognising that Bristol looked one of the poorer teams we have so far met things looked good for the 2nd half.
At half time there was a moving tribute to an injured war veteran to promote the worthy cause , "Help for Heroes" that was well received by all sides of the packed stadium.
Not sure what Leeds had in their HT cuppa but it certainly worked. They flew out of the traps playing the ball on the floor and ripping Bristol to shreds. "See look what happens when we play it on the floor" a wise sage remarked behind me " We look like a proper team" How right he was. Leeds had metamorphosed from their first half Wimbledon type football into a Brazil like outfit in a matter of minutes, as the ball zipped from one side of the pitch to another. Snoddy was running riot, Howson and Doyle were bossing midfield and Becks and Vokes were looking unplayable up front.
Now those of you who were following my tweets will know that I had an inspired piece of crystal ball gazing starting with correctly observing that a "goal was coming" only for Sammy Vokes to finish off a terrific move involving Becks and Snoddy a minute later. Cue hysteria in the away stand as Sammy enjoyed his first goal for Leeds right in front of the vociferous hordes. Leeds were now on a roll and chances started to flow as pleasingly Leeds went for the exposed jugular of the West country side. So it wasn't to difficult to predict the next goal coming, via twitter, and sure enough Lazy Beckford got free again on the end of a Howson pass and expertly curled a beauty into the corner of the net less than a minute later. Spooky.........well it is nearly Halloween!
Leeds didn't take their foot of the gas (te he) as they battered a now demoralised home side with wave after wave of attacks. The long journey was a distant memory as we drank in the champagne football coming from the West Yorks side.
Beckford departed to a standing ovation and not only from the Leeds fans. Kandol was joined by Max Gradel and Kilkenny for the final 10 minutes. The substitutions hardly disrupted the classy flow of football from the mighty whites and again I got a feeling another goal was on it's way? "Tres to finish it off with a 4th" went the tweet and sure enough the gangling Leeds substitute obliged as he flicked in a cross after more good work from Gradel. Magic!
Leeds finished the game playing ole football in front of their delighted fans. 4:0 is a good response to the first defeat of the season me thinks. The players milked the applause from the fans at the end. Sam Vokes seemed to be over doing the acknowledgements until I noticed he was directing has thanks to an attractive woman to my left. "You must be Sam's girl" a gruff Leeds fan correctly enquired. Forward lot the Leeds fans!
Getting out of Bristol was as much fun as getting in. They must hold the record for the most sets of traffic lights in a city as every 20 yards we seemed to stop to wait for the green light. I rang radio Leeds to dispense some of my excitement while we crawled through the outskirts of Bristol. Stitch thought the long ball game in the first half was a tactic to tire Bristol out. Don't know about that but it certainly tired me out continuously shouting "keep hold of the ball"
I'd like to say the journey home went in a flash as I relived the stellar performance from Leeds but truth is arriving home at 2am isn't that much fun no matter how good a game it is! I just hope Saturdays visitors, Yeovil, were watching as it will have reminded them of the thumping they got at ER last year. Roll on Saturday.
Cant wait.

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