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Saturday, 25 February 2017

Leeds Utd v Sheff Wed. 25th Feb 2017

Saturday morning dawned with yet another mouth watering Yorkshire derby awaiting 35,000 fans at Elland Road. With both Yorkshire giants sat nicely in the play off positions as we enter the very squeaky bum time of the season the scene couldn't be set any better. This is what being a real football fan is all about. The pre match pathological fear that you might lose to your neighbours coupled with the contagious optimism that we will send them home with their tails firmly planted between their legs and move another 3 points nearer promotion. What's not to like?

The wet blustery weather in LS11tried to dampen the spirits of both players and fans alike but after a session of the Pigeon Detectives in the Pavilion I took my seat in the boiling Elland Road cauldron. Monk had made two changes to his team to match up to the in form Wednesday side. Bridcutt and Doukara came in for Vieira and Dallas. The atmosphere was crackling as the game got underway. Leeds started well and within a minute Hernadez had released Wood on the edge of the box but he screwed his shot wide. At the other end Sasso went close with a header as both teams duelled for the early advantage. Jansson clattered into Forestieri leaving the theatrical Wednesday star rolling on the floor but the ref quite rightly played on. 20 minutes flew by with both teams prodding and poking at the opposition's defence looking for a chink of weakness. On 24 minutes the prodding and poking from Leeds suddenly paid dividends. The hard working Doukara shovelled the ball out to the tenacious Berardi on the left. The make shift left back cut back inside and drilled an exquisite cross into the Wednesday box where Wood calmly controlled the ball and tapped it past Westwood into the visitors goal with almost arrogant contempt. 1.0 Leeds and Elland Road erupted in a cavalcade of joy. Mint!

Leeds gorged themselves on the confidence the goal brought. Bridcutt and O'Kane were strutting their stuff in midfield.......the defence was rock solid and out wide Leeds carried a threat. Wednesday were not taking the setback lying down though as their expensively assembled forward line battled to get the Owls back in the game. Bartley, Jansson, Berardi and Ayling were in super mean mood though while behind them Green was the epitomy of cool defiance. The game headed to half time with Leeds still in front and really should have added to their single goal lead as the frustrating Sacko twice spurned good chances to play Wood in having left his man for dead. HT 1.0 Leeds.

The urinal philosophers were up beat and cautious all rolled into one. "Wood is f****** awesome" beamed one fan......... "we need to close them down quicker" worried another........"Why do we always get shit ref's" asked another with some justification. The half time entertainment consisted of the now grown up famous kid who was pictured crying at Bolton when Leeds got relegated taking the dizzy penalties. Just a poignant reminder of how long the Premier League has been without the mighty whites.

The wind was now in favour of Wednesday and they surged forward looking desperately for an equaliser. Leeds were fortifying the kop end to repel the South Yorks invaders. Tackles were won, Headers were propelled away with venom. Wednesday were now enjoying the majority of the possession but Green was still yet to be really tested in the Leeds goal. The crowd were shoulder to shoulder with the players as they belligerently dug in to protect their slender lead. Everything was going well until Doukara gave away a needless penalty as he grappled Hutchinson in the box when he was facing away from the goal. FFS what a sloppy penalty to give. Up stepped Jordan Rhodes in front of a sea of snarling, baying Leeds fans on the kop........he shoots low to Green's left but the 37 year old keeper swooped like a Harrier Hawk to tip the ball onto the post and away. Absolute bedlam all around as the home fans celebrated the expensive forward's miss and Green's brilliant save. "Leeds are going up" tumbled from the massed ranks in the stands. This just might be Leeds day?

Wednesday weren't finished though. A Rhodes header and then one from Loovens looped over the bar as the corner count mounted for the Owls. Jansson and Bartley were magnificent though and when they were breached the pocket battleship Mr Berardi was on hand with a goal saving tackle. 70 minutes gone and Leeds still in front one nil but 33,000 bums in the stadium were squeaking like an old neglected wheelbarrow wheel. This was a cracking game. The ref didn't do himself any favours with his inconsistent approach to the game no more so than when O'Kane was felled by a heavy tackle in the Wednesday box but waved play on. Roofe was on for Sacko followed by Vieira replacing O'Kane as we entered the final 10 minutes. It was torture watching the clock tick away as Wednesday piled forward looking for the equaliser.

The last 5 minutes were excruciating but every time Wednesday battered on the Leeds defensive door they were firmly repelled by Monk's warriors. This was high octane stuff but gradually the fight drained out of the Owls as Leeds managed the 4 minutes added time in style. FT 1.0 and the stadium erupted. Fantastic. If this is the tension level with still 12 games to go what are the play off's going to be like? None of the Leeds fans noticed the cold wet weather as they streamed out of the ground pumped full of adrenaline and beaming from ear to ear. Awesome.

There wasn't a man of the match for me as this was a belligerent, determined team performance of the highest degree where it would be churlish to pick one individual out for special praise. The defence dealt admirably with the talented and lively Owls attack. The midfield seemed to always have a foot in where needed and when we did attack sprung the Owls defence whilst up front Wood just bullied the Wednesday defenders for the whole of the 90 minutes. On this form it's an absolute pleasure to be at Elland Road in front of a full house. Nothing else beats it.

So onto Birmingham on Friday night as the promotion juggernaut gathers speed. What a job Monk has done with his relative sparse resources. Another 3 points on Friday night please?

Can't wait.



Leeds watcher since 65 said...

The benefit of watching live means you do not have to listen to the totally biased punditry of Don Goodman,nearly everything for us was grudgingly ok whereas against us was spot on as in Euan Okanes penalty appeal. I never thought I would say this but I actually like listening to Gary Neville because he tries to be as neutral as he can something good old Don could learn from.Good read as always

Unknown said...

Didnt see much of game Keith. Sounds like both teams blocked each other out. One laspse of Weds defence let you in for your goal and a brilliant save by green from pen i think earned you a win. Just hoping as a weds fan we can stay on course for a playoff place. Good game as always. Well played leeds.

Unknown said...

Good game Keith. Better for you as 3 points went your way. Always gonna be a tight game. I lasped of defence mistake and great save by green for pen got you three points. Thanks for your blog and my interview with you. Good luck for remainder of season.

Andrew Butterwick said...

Thanks Leeds Watcher.

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