Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Leeds Utd v Accrington Stanley JPT Dec 15th 2009
After dashing back and too across the broad acres of Yorkshire all day I arrived in Leeds just in time for the kick off against David Lloyd's team from Accrington. Were we really playing Accrington Stanley?
Some of their fans were confused as I found 4 of them looking for the non existent cash turnstiles. I pointed them in the direction of the massive queue for tickets.................clearly they weren't the only ones who had come with a pocket full of cash and no ticket.
Lord Grayson had made a number of changes to his team as we played our 6th game in just under 3 weeks. Tres and Grella started up front and Jesus returned to the mid field for a rare start (just in time for Christmas) Ephraim was out wide with the returning Snoddy on the other flank. David Martin was between the sticks and Naylor started as Capt.
Armed with a scorching hot Pukka Pie I settled in my seat for the start. It was Bumble's Stanley who started the better and had two good chances in the first two minutes. The impressive travelling support found their voice as the experienced jittery Leeds fans had flash nightmares of Bury, Hereford & Histon! But Leeds soon pulled themselves together and Ephraim scored the opener after a wickedly lucky deflection wrong footed the Stanley goalie. Maybe tonight was going to an easier night than the Kettering game? As the half wore on flowing football was at a premium as both teams tried to play open football but all too often it all ended in a missed pass or the ball going skywards. Kandol didn't get into the game much in the opening 20 minutes but he nearly got a second when he forced a good save from the visiting goalie. The freezing night air was chilling the bones..........what we needed was some goals to warm us up but half time arrived with just the solitary goal. Apart from the goal there was little excitement and the evening was made even more of a chore as somebody in the vicinity of my seat had clearly eaten a rotten cat for tea!
Leeds attacked the kop in the 2nd half and started with a bit more vim and vigour and their efforts were rewarded on 50 minutes when Ephraim escaped his lunging marker and picked out an unmarked Kilkenny at the back post to score a killer 2nd goal. Start the car Bumble!
With the 2nd goal the Leeds crowd came to life and I expected the mighty whites to cruise on and win the game easily. If the truths known Stanley should have scored at least once and if the finishing had been steadier in front of goal the final score would have been 5:4 to Leeds.
Gradel and Vokes came on for Grella and Tres for the last 20 minutes. Kandol was not a happy bunny as he went off.
Mad Max nearly scored with his first touch as he followed through onto a hopeful pass and he was soon testing the goalie with a rasping drive after beating two men. "Sign him up" sang the kop rather optimistically. As Stanley pushed on looking for an equaliser they became exposed at the back and better finishing by Leeds would have avoided the usual nervous last 5 minutes.........especially when Martin juggled with a cross before dropping at the feet of a Stanley striker who thankfully missed.
In the end we got our win and passage through to meet Carlisle in the two legged Semi final. It wasn't a stellar performance but it was another clean sheet, possibly because the awesome Kissy was sent on for the last 10 minutes. Wembley is in site now as long as we can negotiate our way past the Cumbrians from Carlisle............................seem to think we've been here before?
Southampton on Saturday will be a big test for Leeds. They are on the crest of a wave after a successful run of games has put them in spitting distance of the play off places. Our last two league games have ended in draws and I wouldn't be surprised to see another on Saturday. I for one will be sunning myself in Egypt and Jordan over the Xmas hols so the normal postings will return in time for our visit to the Salford Yanks in the new year. It would be nice if we've harvested another 9 points for the promotion pot while I'm away?
Merry Xmas & a Happy New Year to all blog readers and Leeds fans.