Monday, 19 October 2009
Leeds United v Norwich City Oct 19th 2009
Monday night Football might be a tradition in the good old US of A but it's not in Yorkshire. It's a horrible night to play a game but if Leeds are playing then I'll be there along with thousands of other diehards...............and so it was I was trudging down Elland Road when I'd usually be settling down to catch up on the latest goings on in Emmerdale. After meeting up with the Happy Chocker, Twizzler, big Steve & George in the bar we were all surprised to find that we had two new players in the squad.............Vokes and Max Gradel from Leicester. Once we'd established that Max was the speedy winger that gave us a torrid time at the Walkers stadium last year my mood brightened. Tonight was a key match with the chance to regain the top spot in the league going begging hopes were high. No Kissy though? More to the point nobody seemed to know why? So Bromby and Nayls started at the back and with Snoddy making a welcome return along with Higgs all was well with the world.
Norwich started as they meant to go on playing an expansive attacking game much to the pleasure of their large Monday night following. Their mixture of a crisp passing game and even crisper physical tackling game rattled Leeds early on. But it was Leeds who struck first when Bradders soared like an Exocet at the far post to plant a firm header in the Canaries net. The away fans weren't singing now.
Although Leeds were in front it was the away team who began to dominate with Hoolahan dominating the midfield play and Holt causing Leeds problems up front. Higgs' return from injury didn't last long as he pulled his dodgy thigh keeping out a scrambled shot, that looked to cross the line, and had to be replaced by Casper. Mmmmmm.
As the half wore on Norwich's neat football began to pay dividends and it was no surprise when they equalised after dithering Casper allowed a deep cross to enter his six yard area only for Holt to beat Nayls to the ball and slide the ball past a spread-eagled Casper. Bummer.
HT couldn't come quick enough for Larry to try and sort out the midfield and defensive duties. Hughsey was been absolutely murdered down the flank.
The mood was not good at half time as HC consoled himself in some Curry & Chips. The 2nd half carried on where the first half finished with Norwich dominating but their liking for attack minded football did leave them exposed at the back which Jermaine managed to exploit on a number of occasions. Problem was he was either missing the target or bringing saves from the Canaries keeper. It was one of those frustrating Beckford nights.
As the game entered the final third it was only Leeds' undoubted fighting qualities that was keeping them in the game as they blocked shots and defended corners seemingly continuously. Surely we couldn't hang on? Something had to be done and sure enough our leader Mr Grayson came up with a master plan as he withdrew a tiring Vokes and Snoddy replacing them with Tres and Max Gradel. The effect was electric as from their first touches they seemed to breathe life into the Leeds effort. Gradel was twisting and turning and chasing anything that moves and when he got the ball he released Beckford with his first two touches. The crowd sensed that we were onto a winner with Mr Gradel and the atmosphere lifted a couple of notches. Kandol was using his height and strength to good effect with the muscular Norwich defence and the pendulum began to swing ever so slightly to Leeds. Casper still had to bring off a good double save but chances were starting to flow again on the Norwich goal and when Max escaped his marker and slid the ball invitingly into the path of Becks everyone thought he'd scored until the ball crept agonisingly passed the post.
Leeds were now pumping up a head of steam reminiscent of MK & Walsall away. We couldn't possibly sneak a winner could we? Well yes we damn well could. A poor goal kick from the otherwise excellent Norwich goalie fell at the feet of Jermaine who was 40 yards from goal. As he bore down on the keeper the kop gave an almighty suck as Becks coolly slotted the ball past the embarrassed keeper. get innnnnnnnnnnnnnnn! The whole stadium went absolutely berserk me included as we were treated to yet another late late show. At that moment there is definitely no better feeling in the whole world. There was no time for Norwich to reply and the whistle was greeted with great relief and a rousing chorus of MOT. Norwich will feel rightly aggrieved but they underestimated Leeds' fighting never say die spirit to their cost.
And Beckford was Beckford. Frustrates the hell out of you all evening and then still has the nous to notch a last minute winner. Fantastic. Maybe Monday night football is a good idea after all?
So with Leeds perched proudly on top of the league and still a game in hand we head for Bermondsey on Saturday for our battle with Millwall in good heart. Bit worried by the way our midfield was over run tonight but in Grayson we trust and I'm sure he'll have an answer.
Roll on Saturday. Can't wait.