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Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Carlisle Utd v Leeds Utd April 13th 2010

The Happy Chocker, Quiet One and the Neighbours piled into the car ready for the dash to Cumbria and the latest instalment of the League One promotion drama. With Swindon slipping up the previous night there was an air of opportunity in the air as I gunned the car up the A1 and across the A66 towards Sheep county. The bright Spring sunshine bathed the roof of England as we descended into the rugged features of Wordsworth country.
Talk in the car was reasonably optimistic. Beckford definitely wouldn't start after The Max & Becchio show on Saturday and if we could just play to our ability who knows we could just go on a final unbeaten run? So lot's of sensible debate building that inner pre match optimism as we parked in a pub car park. Then Luke, lubricated by a couple of bottles, confidently predicted a 6.0 win...................and I thought I had white spectacles! A nervy 1.0 was my prediction.
Inside the ground we were back at the scene of our JPT loss and the after match pitch invasion by the celebrating home fans. Presumably this was the reason for the massive Police presence then? I think there were more Police than home fans. The 2500 travelling hordes were in good voice as Leeds started on the front foot. Mr Beckford was rightly warming the bench leaving the new found partnership of Becchio and Mad Max the chance to terrorise the home defence. This they did with aplomb despite the bobbly "end of season" pitch. Max's little legs were going twenty to the dozen as he chased every lost cause, every channel he could run and every tackle he could make. This fired up the Leeds fans as his enthusiasm spread around the team like wild fire. Mr Beckford watched on with interest.
Leeds totally dominated the first 10 minutes and chances began to flow. Leeds fan Harte, playing at the centre of the home defence, tried an impossible back header which Max, who else, latched onto and fired a shot that produced a desperate save. The following corner was in the net courtesy of our super striker, Naylor, but the ref blew for a foul on the home goalie. Things were looking promising and that warm glow you get when Leeds are playing well and looking like scoring began to return. We didn't have to wait for long for a goal as the inconsistent Howson found himself free of his marker 25 yards out but as he was about to pull the trigger he was fouled from behind. Perfect position for a free kick. Free kicks have not been our strong suit this season. I suggested to HC that we needed Ian Harte on emergency loan for 90 seconds?
But we didn't need him! Snoddy for once got a kick on target but the goalie flung himself to his right and caught the ball. What happened next could have been filmed by Quentin Tarrantino as the goalie dropped the ball in what seemed like super slow motion and our goal scoring Argentinian reacted first to stab the ball home.....................get in! Back to 2nd in the League according to the live table on Sky Score centre. Leeds were still a blink free zone.
Leeds continued to boss the game................Becchio somehow shinned a cross tamely by the post, Mad Max seemed to create a chance everytime he touched the ball as the majority of the game was played out at the far end from the away fans.
As the game drifted to half time the single goal lead suddenly looked vulnerable as Carlisle decided they did want to play after all and picked up the pace. Higgs had looked comfortable all the game and surely the defence couldn't be breached..............could it? Well this is Leeds and we don't do easy so when they were given a free kick in a dangerous position just before half time I feared the worse. Up stepped the pedestrian Harte to whip in the perfect cross and the unmarked Keogh planted a firm header into the net. Que Sera Sera!
Disappointment at the equaliser dampened the HT talk but with both Norwich and Millwall losing elsewhere things were looking bright............if only we could lift our game again?
And did they lift their game? Leeds came out for the 2nd half firing on all cylinders and blasted the Cumbrians with a 2 goal salvo within 5 minutes of the restart. First Max, who was fizzing like an Alka Seltzer to calm Leeds' recent upset form, won a ball he had no right to 30 yards out and spread the ball wide to the un marked Bromby..................the full back delivered a very deliberate cross back into the danger area for our little Ivorian to leap like a Gazelle and head the ball into the Carlisle net.......................Get innnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn! Max celebrated as if he just won the World Cup in front of the delirious whites fans.
More was to come as Max released Becchio with a sweet ball and Lucianno kept his cool to slot the ball past the helpless goalie...................3.1 game over. Well it's never over with Leeds but you know what I mean?
The rest of the half went to plan apart from a couple of frights that Mr Higgs dealt with confidently. The new ditty comparing Becchio to Berbatov was given a full and robust airing by the ecstatic Leeds fans. Beckford and Grella came on for a 5 minute cameo, thankfully the attempted boo's were soon drowned out by songs about that goal at the Theatre of Shite.
News that Millwall had rescued a desperate point and Udders had scored 2 in stoppage time to beat 10 man Walsall couldn't wipe the smile off my face. We are back in second spot and our destiny is now back in our hands.
Quite why 500 policemen were paraded in front of the away fans at the end and we were held back like a pack of animals was beyond me. All we wanted to do was get home so the pre planned show of force by the Cumbria Constabulary was a massive overkill but quite amusing as one of their officers attempted to vault a barrier in front of the Leeds fans and collapsed in a heap on the ground. The cheers that followed will be haunting him as he goes about his work this morning!
Goes without saying that Mad Max was MOM. 2500 Leeds fans of both genders fell in love with the little man last night as he dazzled all and sundry with his high tempo style of play typified by his fantastic headed goal. We have a new hero at ER.
Gillingham away next. On this form we should continue our winning form, but experience dictates it will never be as simple as that. We could be 4 points clear of the pack come 5pm Saturday.........................or we could be back in 4th! Still very tight at the top. Keep the seat belt fastened. Exciting times ahead. 4 games to go now.
Can't wait.
2Leeds United423180

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