Google analytics

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Burton Albion v Leeds United. 22nd April 2017

Even though the hugely disappointing defeat to Wolves was just a week ago my optimism bank had been healthily replenished ready for the intriguing trip to Burton Albion. 3 games to go and if we win all three we're in the play offs, Fulham are at Huddersfield today and the Wendies on the last day. In between they have a tough local derby at Brentford. A win at Burton will act as a springboard for the final promotion push..............all seemed very positive on my Planet Leeds as the train trundled along heading for the Brewing capital of the East Midlands. Still I was in need of another can of Dutch courage just to cement my positive mood. Don't you just love being a Leeds fan?

Burton's ground was neat and tidy but very small. It certainly seemed a bit bizarre that in such a tiny arena Leeds were bidding to strengthen their bid to get promoted back to the glitz and glory of the Premier League. Garry Monk made three changes to his team as he tried to arrest the alarming drop in form that has seen Leeds stumble out of the play off positions albeit on goal difference. Without over doing the football cliche this was definitely a must win game. In came Vieira, Doukara and Taylor. Bridcutt was injured. With the ground bathed in sunshine we were under way.

Leeds started brightly with lots of possession and looking to attack the Brewers early. Hernandez got a shot away but it rose frustratingly into the stand behind the goal. Leeds had their fair share of corners and looked dangerous from them. News filtered through that Huddersfield had taken the lead against Fulham as Leeds kept up the pressure on the Brewers defence. Now if we could just get an early goal to settle the nerves? Then as if by magic we did. Jansson won a header from another corner, Bartley flicked it back into the path of Chris Wood who finished in style. I'd forgotten  how manic terracing can be when a goal is scored as the 1,600 travelling fans celebrated a vital goal for the whites..............but wait a minute the ref's blown for a foul and disallowed the goal. Bollox! We were too far away to see exactly what had gone on but like all football fans on the planet we knew the ref had made a big mistake. Worse still Fulham were now in front at Huddersfield.

The disallowed goal took the wind out of Leeds' sails as the home team enjoyed some pressure on the whites goal without really testing Rob Green. Worryingly it was the home team though who now getting the upper edge as they scrapped for vital points to avoid relegation. This wasn't going to the script as the away fans became more, more and more nervous. Fulham were now cruising at Huddersfield. On the half hour Ayling so nearly redirected a header from a corner into the net but it just went the wrong side of the side netting. Leeds were stuttering instead of purring. Bartley's distribution had suddenly left him and Wood was looking isolated up front, not for the first time this season. The game stumbled to half time then right on half time Leeds fans hopes were raised by the final attack of the half but Phillips half volley from the edge of the box sizzled over the bar. HT 0.0.

The urinal philosophers were despondent. With results elsewhere not exactly going our way we desperately needed to get into this game and quickly. "We're gonna fuck it up I just know it" one fan moaned whilst another was muttering "This is so Leeds United and against Burton fucking Albion" It was difficult not to sympathise with their views. After all the hard work and improvements this season we suddenly had just 45 minutes to rescue our play off hopes and to do so we needed to move up a couple of gears. At least they were firing towards the away fans this half.

Leeds did up the tempo at the start of the half as they went in search of that all important first goal. It was all still a bit nervy though. On the hour Sacko replaced the misfiring Doukara. Could his pace worry the Brewers? Within a minute Leeds should have gone ahead as a sweeping move down the left saw Charlie Taylor swing a lovely ball into the box where Hernandez's headed for goal but saw his effort go agonisingly wide. "He should have buried that" I screamed with optimism quickly draining from my body. Wood then got on the end of a Sacko cross. Get innnnnnnnnn! I screamed as his header from 8 yards nestled straight into the goalie's hands and the linesman's flag was up! A goal was coming though surely? Another corner to Leeds. Another perfect cross from Hernandez and all of a sudden Jansson had lost his man and was thundering towards the ball. He glanced his header goalwards with the goalie stationery.............but the ball missed the top corner by inches. That sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach just sank another inch. Worse was to come though.

A minute after Jansson's miss disaster arrived in the shape of Marvin Sordell. Leeds gave the ball away cheaply in midfield, Burton shifted the ball to Sordell on the edge of the box who turned with ease and hit a superb shot into the bottom corner of Green's net. Leeds play off dream seemed light years away as the home fans celebrated. 2 minutes later more slack defending allowed Kightly to double the lead and surely effectively end Leeds season there and then. The pit of my stomach was now in turmoil. 15 minutes to get at least two goals looked a nigh on impossible task for Leeds.

Leeds have never given up this season and to their credit they didn't now. More pressure on the Burton goal saw Bartley pull one back from a Wood headed assist which set up a frenetic last 10 minutes. Roofe then so nearly bundled a scrambled cross into the net after good build up play but somehow Burton got the ball away. Both Fulham and Wednesday were winning and realistically our play off chances now relied on rescuing a point in the 5 minutes added time. Despite a last assault on the jittery Burton defence Leeds couldn't equalise. FT 2.1 Burton. I stood lent on the crash barrier behind the goal absolutely gutted. We've punched above our weight this season but to blow an 8 point advantage over Fulham in this way is hard to take. Mathmatically we could still make it if Fulham, Wednesday or even Huddersfield have a disastrous final few games but we would still need to beat Norwich then Wigan and on this form that is unlikely.

The walk back to the station in the sunshine gave us time to reflect. Our usually rock solid defence looked vulnerable today. Although we didn't have the rub of the green with some decisions and bounce of the ball today I was never really convinced they could pull it off......and this against a team fighting against relegation. Finishing 15th was never as stressful as this was it? The long train journey home restored some if Wednesday lose at Ipswich and Fulham at Brentford..........Nah it's not going happen I'm afraid. Let's be happy with our season ticket refund and build for next year.

A full house for the visit of Norwich up next. Let's at least finish in style.

Can't wait.



Leeds watcher since 65 said...

Very much enjoyed reading your piece if enjoy is the right word.I watched from the home terrace on halfway having had to aquire my ticket through other means. I was surrounded by a sea of yellow home shirts so I looked a little out of place in my Blue polo shirt but I attempted not to look to conspicuous,that started off well until our goal was disallowed my scowling amongst the euphoria of the locals was telling, having seen it back I feel it was a fair goal,unfortunately for me I was stood next to a right gobby git who howled and moaned whenever we were even slightly physical but totally ignored his own teams misdemeanours. I managed to make it to half time without launching a verbal assault on said gobby.The locals were happy that the Brewers were still level while I felt uneasy that Fulham were romping away at Huddersfield and we looked one dimensional to compound it a couple of locals were very vocal in noticing and while it's fine for me to think it it irks when opposition fans say it out loud. The second half took a similar tone to the first I.e Leeds doing all the threatening but not quite convincing and the longer it went on the more my feeling of dread intensified, by now Wednesday were in front so we desperately needed a goal and then we did actually three in very quick time, the yellow shirted brigade were ecstatic I wasn't, by now they must have worked me out, I had a disagreement with gobby about Chris Wood closing down their goalkeeper another with someone who said we were a bunch of losers and bit my tongue when another commented on how far we had fallen. I didn't enjoy the result and certainly didn't enjoy having to keep my allegiance under wraps but I did see the game and watching Leeds is a religion although not now as often as has been the case in the past. Realistically I think we have missed out this season, I hope we keep GM and his team and in my opinion we need an option other than Chris Wood for our goals, not to undermine his efforts one bit he has had a fantastic season but he cannot do it on his own

Andrew Butterwick said...

Sounds like a very frustrating afternoon from your position. Nothing wrong with the Wood charge down or the goal. It just wasn't to be yesterday.

Site Counter