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Saturday, 24 April 2010

Leeds Utd v MK Dons 24th April 2010


Balmy sunshine greeted the eclectic mix of fans on Selby station. Sunderland fans waiting for a train to the KC, a loan Barnsley fan and the usual bunch of Leeds die hards all anticipating a successful afternoon of footy watching. After last week's capitulation in Kent there was caution in the air though despite the fact that we were playing a depleted MK Dons side whose season has imploded like a nuclear bomb.

First stop when we got to ER was to see Billy's statue resplendent in his new coat of paint. Was it me or had the artist turned his skin colour the same as Mad Max's? Plenty of fellow fans were admiring the handy work though. A decent sized crowd was gathering inside the Theatre of Hope anticipating a much needed win to keep the pressure on the Wall. Lord Grayson had wielded the axe after last weeks showing and there were starts for Watt, Johnson & Parker at the expense of Bromby, Howson and Doyle. Beckford remained on the bench.

With the finishing line in sight and our destiny still in our hands the mood in the kop was positive as the game kicked off. Gone was the edginess that accompanied recent home games replaced by an almost carnival atmosphere anticipating a Leeds win. Leeds started well and soon had MK on the back foot as Becchio and Gradel looked to take advantage of a distinctly out of sorts Dons defence. The Happy Chocker is an observant fan. So when he nudged me just after 10 minutes and pointed out that Watt hadn't touched the ball I was about to spring to the youngster's defence when the Arsenal loanee did it himself. He pounced on an errant MK player and stripped him of possession in midfield before releasing Becchio with a perfectly weighted pass that begged him to score................which he did with ease. 1.0 Leeds and Watt had touched the ball now. Maybe Leeds can do easy?

Nope they can't as a solitary MK attack resulted in a free kick. The resultant cross found the lumbering full back un marked in the box FFS and he converted for the equaliser. Mmmm!
Leeds were looking good though and they poured forward looking for the next goal. Mad Max chased down a long ball and dispossessed the keeper but couldn't score. Johnson tried a free kick from 40 yards and blasted it into the south stand but it was only a matter of time before we would score?

Kilkenny was having one of his better games and when he won the ball and shovelled it out to Mad Max he gleefully smacked the ball into the back of the net. 2.1 Leeds. This was turning into a stroll in the sunshine for Leeds. MK did knock the ball about with confidence from time to time and with fresh memories of cock ups against worse teams than MK my nerves were still on edge.
Watt was getting into the game more though and his loping gait fooled the Dons' Doumbe as they went for a 50-50 ball and he sent the young Arsenal loanee sprawling. Straight red. This just gets better and better. Then a mix up with the MK goalie let Max in again and as he pushed the ball past the big black keeper he was taken off at the knees. No penalty? Clearly the ref bottled what was a stonewall penalty. Half time 2.1 up against 10 men. Magic!

Pre match predictions of 3.1, 4.1 and 5.0 were discussed excitedly during the break as the Yorkshire Regiment were paraded in front of the crowd. Their volley of shots seemed to be aimed in Capt Birdseye's direction but he still reappeared for the 2nd half.

What we needed was Leeds to start on the front foot in the 2nd half as they attacked the kop and the away goalie was soon in action plucking crosses from the air and trying to marshall his lethargic troops. Although we still hadn't got that all important 3rd goal the crowd was still right behind the team. Ben Parker went down in a crumpled heap on the hour as he appeared to twist his knee. Shame for the lad as he had had a good game and after all the time out he now seems to have picked up another bad injury. Howson replaced him sending Bradders to left back. Johnson had made an impression in the centre of mid field justifying Lord Larry's surprising decision to play him in front of Doyle. Sanchez Watt was also rewarding Larry's faith and he nearly scored just after the hour as he latched onto a ball in the box and fizzed a low shot that our friend in the goals did well to keep out. The MK defence was beginning to resemble King Canute trying to repel the tide though as Leeds turned the screw a little more. Headers were missed and chances started to pass by. Now what you really need in this situation is a 28 goal striker on the bench just itching to get on and prove a point. Jermaine Beckford.............. come on down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He had been on the pitch just two minutes when he was felled by a haymaker from the Dons centre half. Clearly their plan to stop him was obvious. The ref, bless him, missed it though. But JB got up and dusted himself down. He'd got some goals to get. Leeds were now all over MK and when Bradders whipped in a wicked cross on 80 minutes there was only one person on the pitch who was going to get on the end of it...................Mr Beckford with a stunning finish. Game over. Jermaine was the darling of the Elland Road crowd once more. No more fans spitting abuse at him and no petulant response from our talisman..............normal order had now resumed.

But one wasn't enough for JB. He was trying to out Max Max as he scampered all over the pitch with the benefit of fresh legs. 4 minutes later he got behind the defence and latched onto a through ball only to be hauled down by the unlucky defender. Penalty and another red card. I think god does want Leeds to go up? Beckford dispatched the penalty under the body of the diving goalie. When it's your day it's your day!

He should have had his hat trick minutes later as he rose majestically only to head wide when it was easier to score. The 5th goal didn't come but so nearly did as Leeds toyed with the Franchise team who by now were down to 8 men as another straight red was given after Collins was left fuming from a lunging tackle.

A happy crowd streamed out of ER. With Millwall conceding a late goal our goal difference is now the same and with Charlton and Swindon only drawing our 1 point lead in 2nd spot was strengthened by the afternoons scores.

The defence still looks a bit shaky for me but the changes in mid field worked well and the competition for places up front is working a treat. Things are looking good for Leeds. Didn't need the seat belt on today and we still haven't blinked when it mattered. Neither did the Wall though so we travel to the Valley next week looking for a win that could take us up...............................or more likely into the last game still in pole position. Still very very tight at the top. Looking forward to seeing Mad Max and Watt having a go at Capt Chaos Richardson next week. Millwall at Tranmere next week. Wonder if Andy "Pieman" Robinson could do us a favour?
Good result today. Just what we needed after last week. Just two games left of this season......please!

Keep the seat belts fastened. No blinking next week. Another couple of Beckford specials would do nicely at the Valley.
Can't wait.
MOT

3 comments:

Sarah said...

My nerves are shot! I dont know how much more of this I can take!!!
I would start with Becks on the bench next week, though, and bring him on when needed. Watt sounded good though, but the Defense.... well I dont know what can be done about that. I miss Paddy and his head band! LOL

Great Blog! MOT

Marching on Together said...

Sarah,
You're not the only one who misses Paddy, the defence is miles more effective when the bandaged one is in the team.
Thanks for the comments
MOT

Anonymous said...

jim says finally simon has seen sense i think the midfield has been a bigger problem than the defence Doyle and Howson too lightweight Killa gives ball away and Snoddy thinks hes a centrel midfielder all of a sudden we had more bite yesterday in there and i think this will take pressure off defence although set piecies and Naylors stand offish approach are a problem.

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