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Saturday, 10 November 2012

Apocalypse now. Shambolic 9 man Leeds hit for 6 by the Hornets.

Expectations were lower than normal as we trod the well worn route to the Theatre of Depression for this clash with Gianfranco Zola's Watford.  As usual the Happy Chocker and the Quiet One accompanied me on the train journey from Selby to Leeds.  Leeds' recent form was a major concern and even though we were playing a team with a similar record we were not optimistic.  News of the team came through as we demolished our Meat & Potato pie and peas in the members bar.  Little did we know that was going to be the highlight of the afternoon.  Warnock had kept his promise to shake things up and have a gun ho approach.  Paul Green slotted into a back three with White and Byram filling the wing back roles.  Norris, Austin & Tonge were the midfield three with Diouf and Varney up front.  Lees and Becchio were on the bench.  One way or another this was going to be a different Leeds team to the one that has "performed" in recent weeks in a match that was critical to the ambition and direction Leeds will take for the rest of the season.  This was Leeds' watershed game.

The game started well enough with Green impressing in his centre back role and Austin cruising about in mid field causing havoc.  Zola's Italian influence was there for all to see in the Watford side with the strong Udinese connection right across his starting eleven.  Leeds had the first clear cut chance as a sweet ball from Austin split the Watford defence and released Byram in the box.  His cross was met by Norris but his goal bound shot deflected wide for a corner.  This was better.  Gone were the long hopeful balls replaced by a more passing based game.  Watford were finding lot's of space down the flanks though as Leeds struggled to  come to terms with the new formation.

With 20 minutes gone things were looking slightly more positive for Leeds.  Varney was having some joy with his pacey runs and Diouf was finding space to cause ripples of discontent in the away defence.  Then just when it looked like the new gun ho approach would work we were behind.  A swift counter attack by Watford found Leeds short at the back.  Paul Green was left appealing for offside while Vydra broke past him and slotted an easy goal past Kenny in the Leeds goal. 0.1 Watford.  A stunned silence from the Leeds fans whilst the few who had travelled from Hertfordshire danced with delight.  Nerves and foreboding swept around Elland Road as the stuttering home side looked for the equaliser.  Chances from free kicks were spurned.  Chances from corners were spurned.  Nothing new there then.  The game inched to half time with Leeds struggling to assert any authority over an average Watford team.  Then disaster struck.  Pearce challenged Vydra late, the Italian flew into the air and did a pirouette before landing prostrate on the turf.  The referee had no hesitation in reaching for a straight red.  Bollox!  Now we're in trouble.  The half time whistle blew soon after.  1.0 down and down to ten men.  It would be an interesting team talk in the Leeds dressing room.  We had played a bit better but the inadequacies of Neil Warnock's squad were exposed for all to see.  Lack of quality on the field and a weak bench.  Young Dawson had made the subs bench.  A lot of good reports have followed his progress through the Leeds academy but I didn't expect him to look like a Year 8 fresh out of school?  Warnock removed Green and sent on Lees to bolster the defence.  Strange when Green had been in the top one of performers in the first half.

Warnock swung the axe at half time.  Diouf and White got the hook with Hall and Brown replacing them.  Mmmm interesting changes.  I can't believe Mr Diouf was a happy bunny.  This was do or die for Leeds. The 2nd half started with Watford on the attack.  A desperate tackle by Austin forced a corner but left him writhing in agony.  What would turn out to be a double fracture saw him stretchered off the pitch to a rousing ovation.  With all the subs used we were now well and truly up against it.  "The next goal is crucial" I suggested to HC and not just for this game but the season.

What happened next will go down as another entry into the Leeds United Hall of Shame.  Although the 9 men battled they were conceding far too much space.  Abdi got the 2nd quickly followed by Yeates adding the third.  3.0 to Watford was enough for HC as he disappeared out of the ground heading for home with 15 minutes still to go.  Leeds did put up some resistance or more to the point Varney did as he chased down the Watford defenders and won the ball before being dragged down for a penalty.  Tonge tucked it away. 3.1.  Could we stage a dramatic comeback whilst HC was on his way home?  Hopes rose as the 9 men dug in but  once Vydra scored the 4th in the 82nd minute it was game over.  Watford scored another two in added time but I had already left the Theatre of Depression.  I expected this would be a watershed for Leeds' season but not the Apocalypse.

By the time I found HC in Leeds station I was seething.  Leeds United football club is in meltdown.  The shambolic takeover saga off the pitch is now matched by even more shambolic performances on the pitch.  Attendances are dropping faster than whore's knickers (19,000 today), fans are calling for Warnock's head and the club is now just an embarrassing laughing stock.  We are now in relegation form and definitely looking over our shoulders at the bottom three.  When we dropped into the third tier the club shop sold T shirts with the ironic slogan "Where's Yeovil" on.  If the rot is not stopped quickly we could be restocking with "Where's Fleetwood" or "Where's Stevenage"  Ambitions of getting to the Premier League?  More chance of Graham Norton marrying Tulisa.

Next week we've got high flying Millwall away. That really will be like going into the Lion's Den armed with a Pea shooter.  Will Warnock still be in charge?  Will Ken Bates still be in charge?  Will we start with yet another formation?  A lot of fans keep saying it can't get any worse.  I think it will.  I don't know how but I think it will.

Not so much can't wait but fear for the worst.


Leeds 1 v 6 Watford 10/11/2012 by sparkyman2

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have my sympaty for just being there and actually watch this debacle. Even just hearing on the radio made me feel frustrated.


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