Saturday, 1 October 2016
Leeds Utd v Barnsley. 1st Oct 2016
Planet Leeds was rocked this week by the scandalous suggestion that the Leeds United owner might be caught up in dodgy dealings regarding 3rd party player ownership. Outrageous. I mean it’s not like we’ve ever wondered why some recent signings have ever got through the doors at Thorp Arch never mind got to wear the famous white shirt is it? Anyway thankfully the “bung gate” focus was more on our visitors from South Yorkshire after their coach, Tommy Wright, was filmed receiving a £5,000 bung in a brown paper envelope from some Daily Telegraph reporters disguised as potential agents wanting to do a transfer deal with the gullible, greedy Barnsley man. Whatever happened to the beautiful people’s game?
So after unsuccessfully offering the steward on the turnstile a 20% share in my bet on Leeds to win 3.1 to get in I turned to the matter in hand……….could Monk’s men give the buoyant Barnsley team a good thrashing and send them back to the depths of South Yorkshire with their tails between their legs? It wasn’t going to be easy though as The Reds have surprised the Championship with their refreshing and successful approach to bridging the gap from League 1. Would superman Jansson be fit to return? Could the lean, mean scoring machine, Wood, continue his renaissance? Would the queues in the Fan Village be any shorter? We were about to find out in the white heat of another Yorkshire derby. Love it!
Monk had kept the same team for the 2nd game running which was met with unilateral approval by the Leeds fans in a crowd of 27,000 inside Elland Road. The Old stadium was bouncing as the game got underway with a healthy contingent from South Yorkshire adding to the atmosphere. The opening exchanges were typically feisty but with both teams trying to play the ball on the floor. Jansson was dominant at the back for Leeds while the Barnsley centre half, Roberts, was giving Wood a difficult time at the other end. Wood is a changed player though and he stuck to his task manfully. The game was as tight as a Camel’s arse in a sandstorm as both teams looked to gain the upper hand. The half hour mark passed with the game in a frenetic stalemate.
Just when it looked like the first half would be goalless Captain Bartley decided he’d liven things up. Charlie Taylor did well down the left and won a corner. The diminutive Hernandez curled a lovely ball into the box where Bartley met it with his knee and bundled it into the net. 1.0 Leeds and it was game on. The goal lifted both the crowd and the home team. Minutes later Hernandez thundered a stinging shot too near the Barnsley goalie followed shortly by Wood screwing a header wide from another Charlie Taylor cross as Leeds finished the half on top.
The urinal philosophers were happy and smiling which is becoming a bit of a theme for the Gents half time debate of late. Phillips and Jansson were getting plenty of praise but the general view was “let’s kill them off with a second” The good times are gradually returning to the Theatre of Hope.
Leeds came steaming out of the blocks in the 2nd period and upped the tempo significantly. If the first half was tight the second was beginning to open up. Hernandez wriggled into the box and hit a left foot shot just wide. Hammill dared to try a shot on the Leeds goal but he was immediately smothered by the steely home defence. The pressure applied by Leeds paid dividends in the 54th minute when Leeds broke down a Barnsley move and quickly swept forward releasing Hernandez in the box for the cool Spaniard to lift the ball past the oncoming goalie to put Leeds two up. Elland Road erupted like it hasn’t done for a very long time.
Leeds were playing with supreme confidence and chances started to flow. Wood missed two efforts to kill the game whilst at the back Jansson responded to the “Magic hat” song with a tackle then a Cruyff turn before splitting the Barnsley defence with a superb pass. The man is an absolute God! Leeds were now cruising to a well deserved victory on the back of a mean, steely back four and a midfield masterminded by O’Kane and well supported by Phillips. Then with 20 minutes to go Leeds let Barnsley see a chink of light in the game as Taylor put through his own net from a teasing Barnsley cross. 2.1 Leeds and a potential period of squeaky bumitus began!
Barnsley came alive and went for the Leeds jugular as they poured forward looking for the equaliser. This left them short at the back and Antonsson, on for Sacko, so nearly got a third but his shot was saved low down to the right. It was the Leeds defence who now had their backs to the wall but although the last ten minutes were tense there is now a confidence amongst the fans as Bartley and Jansson cleared everything that was thrown at them. The roof came off the stand as the ref brought the game to an end for a 2.1 Leeds victory against a good Barnsley side.
This was another battling team performance from Leeds who mixed steely, Yorkshire grit with a pleasing attacking style that the hard to please home fans warmed to. Phillips gets better every game and Jansson was awesome again at the heart of the Leeds defence. Smiles and laughter were in the air as I headed for the car. The good times are coming back to LS11 as Monk has got his team playing an attractive brand of football based on a rock solid defence……….something we have yearned for for the last decade. Delicious. Derby away next…………should be a walk in the park on this form!