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Saturday, 18 December 2010

Leeds Utd v QPR Dec 18th 2010

Whilst snow appeared to be covering the rest of the country the weather in West Yorkshire, although bitterly cold, was thankfully relatively free of the white stuff. So once the dusting of snow had been cleared from the Elland Road pitch the game was never in doubt.  Good job because today was the day that my extended family were venturing to the Theatre of Hope for our annual "Xmas let's do something together trip"  the day did not get off to a good start.  Having co-ordinated a rendezvous at Selby station to catch the usual train to Leeds we were devastated to find that all Leeds trains had been cancelled.  Don't they know there's a match on?  So after hastily rearranging the travel arrangements we were on our way by car.  Pre match drinks in the Capt's Lounge gave us time to catch our breath and consider the game.  Mrs MOT was soon placing a bet on the game.  Mmmm she seems to be enjoying the matchday experience a little too much!  News that Andy O'Brien was still injured was not a surprise, a disappointment, but not a surprise.  Predictions reflected Leeds' recent good form.  Only the cautious Mrs MOT predicting anything other than a Leeds win. My optimistic 2.1 suggestion would have had HC questioning my sanity just 9 games ago after our horrendous loss to Cardiff.  Now he himself was confident of a 3.2 win.  Happy times!

Just short of 30,000 fans had braved the wintry conditions to see this top of the table clash.  Ex Leeds favourites Derry and Hulse were in the starting line up for the visitors. The match kicked off with many questions hanging in the air........Are Leeds real contenders this year?......................Will Collins & Bruce repel the league leaders attackers.....................Does Paddy Kenny still take drugs?...................will the Salford Yanks fan in our midst be converted?  We were about to find out.

Leeds were out of the traps quickly with Mad Max and Snoddy catching the eye early on with their now familiar raids down the flanks.  Snoddy must be attracting unwanted glances in his direction from other clubs as the transfer window approaches? After 10 minutes Alex Bruce limped off and was replaced by Bromby.  This must be our 4th or 5th choice central defenders pairing I grumbled to HC.  The chances of keeping a clean sheet were about as good as Ian Holloway's chances of been elected the next President of FIFA.  My slightly negative mood was soon swept away as Leeds attacked with purpose down the right flank.  The ball was swung into the box and there was Lucianno leaping like a salmon and flicking his head to steer the ball goalwards................only a fingertip save by Paddy Kenny stopped Leeds taking the lead.  The atmosphere cranked up a notch.

QPR looked dangerous on the break with the sulky Taarabt trying his best to winkle open the solid Leeds defence.  But with Leeds this mood they are in are nobody's pushovers and the entire back four oozed a commitment and resolve that is growing as each week goes by.  In front of them Bradders was putting last weeks poor show out of his mind as he started to dominate the QPR middle two with his tenacious tackling and headers. We were looking good.  My assembled family were enthralled in the action including the "tainted one"

Leeds don't seem to be able to play in anything but an open game.  I suspect Mr Warnock had figured this out as his team broke quickly and decisively through the gaps left by the attacking home players each time Leeds lost the ball.  A goal was on the cards.  But at which end?  Thankfully it was at the kop end when it came.  Snoddy once again tormented his full back before cutting back and delivering a a long ball to the back post where who else but Capt Fantastic, Jonny Howson leapt high to nod the ball back into the danger area..............Mad Max pounced on it like a black Panther and rifled the ball home past the despairing Kenny. 1.0 Leeds.  Leeds at times were playing some exquisite football as Killa, Howson, Snoddy and Mad Max fizzed the ball around with confidence and in doing so unlocking the visiting defence.  At the other end Bromby had slotted into the back four like he'd never been away.  All the fears that the defence would capitulate were slowly being eradicated as Leeds started to get the upper hand playing a style of Football that was very pleasing on the eye.  How an earth did we lose to Preston and Barnsley when we can play like this? The home crowd were lapping up the entertainment and soon the rhythmic sounds of WACCOE was ringing round the stadium accompanied by thousands of scarfs twirling above. Fantastic!

When the HT whistle blew the only real issue was that we were only one goal up.  I eagerly headed for the gents to hear the Urinal philosophers.  I can honestly say it is the first time I have heard every single comment be positive in the Gents debate.  We must be playing well?  I did hear however a classic oneliner though "It's that cold I need a pair of tweezers to hold mine"  I was still chuckling when I got back to my seat.

The 2nd half continued in the same style of the first.  Leeds neat approach play sprinkled with confident one/twos from players at the top of their game.  Bradders, Mad Max, Snoddy, Howson were all on fire.  In fact there wasn't one player that even the most negative of our "doom and gloom" fans could pick fault with.  That's not to say QPR weren't a threat.  They aren't top of the league for nothing and they always looked dangerous on attack but there always seemed to be a Leeds leg/bum/head or body thrown at anything heading goalwards.  Kapser had a couple of easy shots to deal with and a couple of teasing crosses but Leeds were looking the most comfortable at the back we have for a long time.

We needed a 2nd goal to settle any slight nerves.  Becchio nearly got one as he lunged at a cross after yet another dazzling move but it was left to Mad Max to claim the all important 2nd.  A QPR attack broke down and the ball was shovelled out to Max.  Looking up he saw wide open spaces between him and the goal..........he homed in on the penalty area.............jinked one way, stopped his defender, then pushed the ball to his left and beat Kenny at his near post. Get innnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn! 2.0 Leeds and coasting.

Even at 2.0 up it has been known for Leeds to put their long suffering fans through the wringer as they try and hang on.  Not this time.  QPR's heads were down.  Taarabt was prowling the wing like a spoilt child who'd just had his favourite toy taken off him whilst Leeds went into overdrive.  Kilkenny hit a stinging drive just wide then the peerless Howson fashioned a shot from the edge of the box that had Kenny desperately tippng the ball away.  Leeds were so much in control they decided to reprise the famous "keep ball" against Southampton all those years ago as Rangers were left chasing shadows as the ball moved effortlessly all round the pitch via a white shirt every time.  Unbelievable Jeff!

Mad Max had left the field to be replaced by Sam.  Leeds played out the game with confidence and the final whistle signalled a 9th successive unbeaten game for the mighty whites.  Not only that we were in 2nd place in the league.  The good times are definitely back at Elland Road. Walking back to the car the main topic of conversation was "when is the next game" from my assembled family.  I somehow think they have got the bug! Even the "tainted one" was impressed with the game and the atmosphere, comparing this experience favourably as opposed to the morgue like surroundings at the TOS.  Result!

This was a class performance.  Snoddy, Max, Bradders, Howson and Bromby were my stand out players but the whole team should get the man of the match after a magnificent all round effort.  Lord Larry has got his troops  working like a well oiled machine.  On this form it's difficult to see them doing anything other than keep moving up the table.  Can't believe I'm saying that but it's true.  Look out the Premier League Lord Larry's army is on the march.

The post match curry at Akbars went down a treat as we feasted on the memories of a superb performance and some excellent Indian food. The day was about to get a whole lot better though as news of the signing of Mr Becchio's contract reached us.  Carlsberg don't do perfect Saturdays but if they did.............

 I was reminded today that I hadn't mentioned the seatbelt of late and that is remiss of me.  We are now entering the rarefied atmosphere of the automatic promotion spots.  Oxygen masks  and seatbelts required from here I'm afraid.  Let's enjoy the ride though! By god we deserve it.  Up next is a trip to the Crisp packet on Boxing day to hunt the Foxes down.  On this form dare I say it should be easy?  One thing for sure.....
Can't wait.

Leeds 2 v 0 QPR 18/12/10


Rambo.Lufc Loud'n'Proud said...

Enjoyed reading ur blog.....
Great win....
WOOF ;-))

Andrew Butterwick said...

Thanks Rambo!

ebm_gww said...

Fantastic Blog again! Leeds Leeds Leeds! me and my Dad love reading it! from two proud Leeds fans from Carlisle

Andrew Butterwick said...

thanks for the comments. Glad you like my musings. keep spreading the word.

nelson said...

Reading your blog for the first time great stuff thanks,
Look forward to reading your next one.

Andrew Butterwick said...

Welcome aboard. Glad you like my missives.

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