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Saturday, 18 September 2010

Donny v Leeds Sept 17th 2010

Friday night Football isn't exactly welcomed by traditional fans like yours truly.  Friday nights are for watching Corrie and then drifting down to the pub not dashing across Yorkshire to some faceless retail park and the strangely named Keepmoat Stadium to watch the latest episode of Leeds' Yorkshire trilogy.  But needs must and I joined another sell out away following in the North stand to apprehensively cheer on the mighty whites.
Much discussion on the way regarding who would start.  The sensible money seemed to be on Somma and McCormack starting up front which they did but Lord Larry somewhat surprisingly axed his Capt Naylor in favour of Alex Bruce. Aidey White replaced Bessone at left back and Hughes moved to right back.  All of sudden we had a completely different back four.

Steve Bruce and his trophy wife passed by the Leeds fans queuing to get in.  You would think that given he was clearly there to watch his son playing for the mighty whites he would get an easy ride......................errrr no he got just as much dogs abuse as when he turned out for the Salford Yanks.  Suppose he's used to it by now?

The atmosphere on the concourse and in the ground before the game was surprisingly up beat after the mauling we got on Tuesday as the alcohol fired up the troops and instilled pre match belief into the Leeds faithful.  All of a sudden I was quite positive about our chances.

My positiveness soon evaporated as Donny flew at Leeds from the first whistle and within a couple of minutes only a superb last ditch tackle by the dependable Hughes prevented a certain goal as erstwhile Leeds target Billy Sharp flicked the ball goalwards. The first five minutes was like the Alamo in the Leeds penalty area as the new defence repelled numerous corners and an energetic home side intent on hitting Leeds early.  The difference with tonight and Tuesday was that this time Leeds were throwing bodies in front of the ball and playing with a gritty determination so badly missing against Barnsley.  Leeds drew breath and started to counter attack with confidence.  Aidey White hurtled down the left only to finish with a poor cross.  Mad Max tested ex Leeds favourite, Sullivan, in the home goal with a stinging shot.  Maybe this wasn't going to be too bad after all?  The ref seemed intent on giving every decision to the team playing in rugby shirts.  Maybe he is a closet Manure fan and took exception to the Leeds fans singing that lovely ditty about the 3rd of Jan and a certain team going out of the cup? What ever the reason he certainly wasn't helping the Leeds cause with his strange interpretation of the rules.

Davide Somma had deservedly started and again showed glimpses of real class none more so as when he rattled the bar after leaving the Donny defence for dead.  Things were definitely looking good. But we were reminded of the need for a goal as first Shiels screwed a chance wide before curling a shot just wide of Higgs' upright............Phew!  Just as I was thinking we were under the cosh Somma found himself one on one with Sullivan but failed to convert what was a good chance.  Half time 0.0.

The first  half had been frenetic and frantic.  Everything you'd expect from a Yorkshire Derby.  The 2nd half got under way with a period of scrappy play but it was Leeds who were slowly gaining the upper hand.  McCormack seemed to brighten up after a quiet first period as he tested the home defence with telling runs and neat footwork.  Gradel was fizzing about irritating both full backs and David Somma was finding good space.  His finishing wasn't the best though as he wasted a golden chance in front of the adoring Leeds hordes.
McCormack left the fray after 65 mins to be replaced by Snoddy.  Snoddy soon began to show that he's got just that bit of extra class than most players on the pitch as he jinked down the flank and got in a dangerous ball that was scrambled away by the home defence. The momentum was with Leeds and when Bradders fired a powerful shot goalwards on 75 minutes Sullivan could only parry it into the path of Somma.............1.0 cue pandemonium amongst the Leeds fans until the linesmans flag brought an abrupt stop to the celebrations.  How could he be offside when Sullivan pushed the ball out to him and he hadn't interfered with the shot? The conspiracy theory regarding the officials cranked up another notch soon to followed by more free kicks to theteam in the rugby shirts.  The final insult was when neither the linesman or the little Napoleon ref saw a blatant shove on Somma as he was about to head a teasing cross into the goal.  Cheating Bastards!

A tense final 5 minutes yielded no goals so we had to settle for a point.  A point most of us would have taken before the game but it was somehow pleasing that we streamed out of the ground disappointed we weren't taking all three points back to ER.  Bruce played himself into the centre half spot for the near future I think and he was well supported by both full backs and an eager midfield.  At times Somma looked a class apart.  With a bit more game time I think we've got a real diamond in the making with the South African.  McCormack was quiet in the first half but came better in the 2nd.  A decent partnership started tonight that will make life difficult for Becchio and Paynter.

In the end a pleasing night for me.  We've now played enough teams in this league to realise that we can do more than hold our own with the current crop of players and a half decent ref.  The Barnsley performance has now been officially downgraded from a disaster to a blip.  Ex Leeds hero Gary Speed was watching in the stands tonight. He got a great reception from the Leeds fans but must have been worried in what he saw as his Blunts team are up next for Leeds. One loss and one draw so far in the Yorkshire trilogy.  Hopefully we get our win against Mr Speed's charges next Saturday at a packed Elland Road?  One thing for sure.......
Can't wait.


Anonymous said...

Great reading an! Almost felt like I was there. Coming over the the Sheffield gae.
Rune, Leeds United Supporters Club of Scandinavia

Andrew Butterwick said...

Cheers Rune,
have a great trip to see use blunt the blades! keep spreading the word.

Peter Nugent said...

Hi MOT, great report. I watched the game on TV and saw it much the same as you. Apart from the early stages, we looked very solid and everyone defended as a unit. Was impressed by Max's defensive work too!!

I thought Bruce was outstanding and to be fair to Collins, he headed everything away and looked solid. The real surprise for me was Somma, who, despite missing a few chances, looked very good and always found great positions. If he gets a run, he could score quite a few.

I think with either Becchio or Paynter holding the ball up for him, Somma will thrive.

By the middle of the second half Leeds were by far the better side and on the evidence of the games so far they should do well in this division. They look like they have strength in depth too. Fingers crossed.

Cheers mate.

ebm_gww said...

Superbly written again! keep up the good work! cant wait til next saturday! MOT

Andrew Butterwick said...

You make a good point about Mad Max and his tracking back. Didn't go unnoticed by the fans near me. Somma is a star in the making.
onwards and upwards.

Thanks for the comments. Keep spreading the word.

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