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Saturday, 27 February 2010

Hudderstoon v Leeds Utd 27th Feb 2010

The nerves were jangling on Selby station. Huddersfield's recent run and Leeds let's say indifferent form of late had left the Leeds faithful battered. The general view was that a point would be a good return for the short trip to the home of the Puppy dogs. As ever I was trying to put a positive spin on our chances pointing out that Udders have yet to beat a top six team this year. Despite that confidence of returning back with 3 points was decidedly scarce as the train trundled towards Harold Wilson's home town.

Once at the ground more conversations with the loyal and faithful suggested I was in a minority of one in thinking we could get anything out of the game. The usual harsh yardstick that Leeds fans tend to use were battering Aidey White, Lowry and McSheffrey behind the away stand as pies were munched and cups of hot tea were downed in readiness for the game. I was beginning to realise what a condemned man feels like on his way to the gallows.

Aidey White failed a fitness test so the unpopular McSheffrey started on the left with the rest of the team as expected. There was a surprise on the bench with the cult hero Kandol making a welcome return. The pre match dignitaries were presented in the centre circle before turning to the Leeds hordes and giving a Leeds salute. That went down well!

The first 10 minutes was played at a frenetic pace in front of a very passionate derby crowd. The ball was pinging about in the air like a demented helicopter. Becchio rose to meet a sweet cross but his header went sailing into the crowd. Then Udders took the lead after a hopeful shot from Pilkington took a wicked deflection and ballooned over Casper into the Leeds net. The Leeds doom & gloomers had that "told you so" look. A guy behind me was pleading with Lord Larry to bring Aidey White on for McSheffrey until a fellow fan pointed out to the knobhead that he was injured and not on the bench. Buoyed by the goal the home side started to play the better football. Apart from a jinking run and superb shot from Snoddy Leeds were definitely on the back foot and looking 2nd best to their near neighbours. The referee Mr Friend was doing us no favours with a string of strange decisions. Udders should have gone two up just on half time when thankfully Rhodes blazed into the grateful Leeds fans with the goal wide open. The home team went off to a standing ovation at HT whist the Leeds fans feared the worst.
Once again the ball wasn't sticking going forward and possession was yielded far too easily when we did have the ball. McSheffrey was having a shocker.

The 2nd half started with this fan full of apprehension and fearing the worst. But as usual with Leeds nothing is what it seems and they came out firing and started to grind their way back into the match. After Casper had smothered an early Town effort Beckford went close twice within a few minutes as he first headed over a lovely cross from Doyle and then nearly got his boot on the end of near post cross from the much abused McSheffrey. Suddenly we were back in the game and the suspect Town centre backs were panicking. The equaliser came on 60 minutes as the redoubtable Howson battled in midfield to win the ball and then surged past two defenders before releasing Super Snoddy out wide.....................Howson continued his run and when Snoddy whipped in his cross he met it perfectly to plan the ball past a static Smithies in the Town goal. Gooooooooooooooooal! There's nothing like celebrating an unexpected goal and the away hordes rejoiced with vigour.

Confidence surged through Leeds veins as they took control of the game. It was Town who were looking groggy now. From another Leeds attack the jittery Trottman conceded a corner and when Becchio launched himself at the ball there was only one place the ball was the net 2:1..........................and we were in dreamland. "Nan Na Na Na Na Leeds are going up" chanted the mighty whites fans prematurely.

This was fast becoming an enthralling game full of tension, grit and no little skill as both teams battered each other for the West Yorkshire bragging rights and precious league points. Town pushed forward leaving themselves open at the back. Beckford raced onto a long ball and beat Smithies to it.............the ball bounced free..................just hit the bastard the goalieless net yawned in front of him................but in trying to be to precise he allowed a town defender to clear his lines. This was brilliant.

At the other end Leeds were defending desperately and when a header bounced back off the post I thought it just might be our day. McSheffrey gave way for Johnson as Leeds tried to shore up their creaking defence. But after surviving a number of corners the rearguard action was breached as a cross was swung over from the right for the unmarked Roberts to drill home the equaliser. Bedlam on three sides of the stadium and gutted silence in the 4th.

The last 5 minutes and 5 minutes of added time were nip and tuck and either team could have sneaked a winner. Kandol came on for a cameo but the referee brought the game to an end with the scores tied at 2.2. A fair result I suppose and one I would have settled for before the game.
Leeds battling qualities had restrained Town's confident flowing football in another superbly entertaining West Yorkshire I didn't think I'd be saying that at Half time.

The result leaves us 5 points adrift of the Canaries with a game in hand but more importantly 4 in front of 3rd with a game in hand. So not a bad afternoons work...............but Lord Grayson still has some work to do on the slightly mis-firing Leeds machine if we are going to limp over the promotion line without the "pleasure" of the play offs. Please don't do that to me.
Brentford at home next Saturday should be an ideal opportunity to bank another 3 promotion points but why do I think it won't be quite as easy as that? That's because we are Leeds...........but were worth it!
Roll on Saturday.
Can't wait.

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