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Saturday, 25 November 2017

Barnsley v Leeds Utd 26th Nov 2017.

Barnsley away is a fixture that in recent years has usually ended in humiliation for the mighty whites. For reasons embedded deep in South Yorkshire folk lore whenever Leeds come to town the Reds suddenly take on an invincibility usually associated with teams like Barcelona no matter how shite they've been in the run up to the game. Ordinary players who struggle in the championship become world beaters as Dickie Bird goes all misty eyed and blubbers on about the halcyon days of Barnsley Football Club. It's all a bit nauseous to the average Leeds fan including yours truly but this year this annual public flogging has taken on a new angle...........my youngest daughter has a new boyfriend and all his family are rabid Reds fans. As it happens we're meeting them for the first time tomorrow. Fantastic! So if ever there was a time for Leeds to bury the Oakwell curse it is today. Forget the pressure TC is under if we lose I shall be eating my tea through gritted teeth at tomorrows family gathering if we take another beating.

Mrs MOT was on board for this game, her first away game. After Wednesday's devouring by Wolves team selection once again was high on the debating agenda in the Metrodome before the game. Who would come in for Vieira? Would Berardi survive after his worst performance in a Leeds shirt? Anybody want a turn in goals? Yes there was plenty of gallows humour alive and kicking amongst the 5,000 travelling army before the lunchtime kick off. After queueing for an eternity to get a drink we digested the team. Wiedwald replaced Lonergan in goal and Ekuban came in from Roofe up front. O'Kane stepped up for the suspended Vieira as expected. Let the fun begin.

Any worries about the Barnsley curse started to melt away in the first two minutes of the game as a rampant Leeds forced three corners in succession. It was TC's men who were snapping at the heels of their opponents as they pressurised the hesitant home team. On 10 minutes Alioski sent a half cleared corner searing over the bar with volley that had the raucous away fans purring. Soon after Ayling surged into the box and tumbled to the ground with Barnes tangled round his legs. No penalty given but both players received yellow cards for the following heated debate with their handbags. Leeds were on top and it was no surprise when Saiz broke the deadlock on 23 minutes. The hard working Ekuban won the ball back and released Alioski who fed the effervescent Saiz. The Spaniard drilled a shot from the edge of the box through the goalie into the net. 1.0 Leeds and carnage in the away end.

Barnsley were rattled by the goal. Phillips dragged his shot wide after more good build up work and then Saiz weaved more magic to create space for a shot that flew over the bar. This was definitely not the standard visit to Oakwell. Barnsley were the team like a rabbit in the headlights this time and not the men from West Yorkshire.  The sun was dazzling Wiedwald who didn't have a cap on......that is until a Leeds fan threw him one which the German goalie thankfully accepted. The Leeds defence looked solid, Ekuban was leading the line with energy, pace and no little skill whilst Alioski and Saiz were weaving mind boggling spells in midfield. The sun was shining on Leeds and all was well with the world. Just as the first 45 minutes were up Leeds doubled their lead. Ayling recovered the ball from some scrappy Barnsley defending before Alioski pinched the ball off him and hit a superb curling shot beyond the Barnsley keeper and into the net. 2.0 Leeds and the away end was bouncing.

The Urinal Philosophers seemed to have had a mental block about Wednesday's performance at Wolves at which we were going to get relegated and TC didn't know his arse from his elbow. Today they were drooling over Saiz, Ekuban and Alioski. A week's a remarkably long time in football! Barnsley were poor in the first half. Could Leeds now kill the game off and spare is any squeaky bum time in the 2nd period?

Leeds started the 2nd half on the front foot. Saiz teased his way towards the box only for Gardner to bring him down with a tackle worthy of any Sunday League defender "dealing" with the only opposition player with any skill. Barnsley nearly paid the price though as Hernandez's free kick took a deflection and left the goalie stranded but just crept the wrong side of the post. The game wasn't a classic by any stretch of the imagination but Leeds were well in control. Shaughnessy surprisingly replaced the injured O'Kane in midfield on the hour. Ekuban nearly got a third as he ran intelligently onto a delightful pass from Hernandez but his chip only found the side netting after dummying the keeper.

With O'Kane departed the game opened up a bit and Barnsley pushed forward looking for a way back into the derby. Wiedwald was holding firm though and Leeds looked dangerous on the break. Alioski tried another flying volley on 78 minutes but the ball speared into the adoring fans behind the goal. Roofe replaced the exhausted Ekuban who got a thunderous ovation from the travelling army. A mighty impressive performance from the young forward full of running and pace.

Grot came on for Alioski just before time as Leeds saw the game out comfortably to secure an all too rare win at Oakwell. Saiz and Alioski were outstanding in what was a relatively low key derby. Ekuban was a handful all afternoon for the Barnsley defence whilst the Leeds back 5 were pleased to keep a clean sheet. TC's changes worked against a poor Barnsley side bit we can only beat what's put in front of us. Villa on Friday night will be a much tougher test though but 6 points out of 9 for the week ain't that bad. Saiz was an absolute magician today. Now did I mention about the family gathering tomorrow? Bring it on but I'll try not to gloat!

Can't wait.

MOT

7 comments:

George Rutherford said...

Thanks Andrew
Don't forget to put your Leeds too on tomorrow and if it's cold your Leeds hat and scarf lol

Kath Hinchcliffe said...

My son-in-law is also a Barnskey fan. Tomorrow when we meet for breakfast, I have bragging rights; he ain't gonna like it๐Ÿ˜œ.

Great report.

Enjoy your tea.....

Ryan Albee said...

Love the handbag debate line! Still waiting for a 'gone pear-shaped' though, unless that has gone out of fashion on the old side of the pond over there. Keep it up, your columns are great and something I look forward to after every game, win, lose, or draw.

Andy P said...

Thanks Andrew. No sugar required in your tea, sweet enough...

Andrew Butterwick said...

Thanks for the comments George, Ryan, Kath and Andy.
BTW there's plenty of scope for a "it's all gone pear shaped" comment with Leeds United. Keep an eye out for it going forward.
MOT

leeds watcher since 65 said...

Great review as always and good to see a win but can i say that we let them off in the second half, not ruthless enough going forward and defensively we gave the ball away far to easily better teams would have punished us however a win is a win i just feel we sometimes overplay in and around our area. Gloat today for all it's worth MOT

Andrew Butterwick said...

Leeds watcher,
You're correct about not being ruthless enough. We don't close games out as we should. yesterday we should have dominated possession in the 2nd half and got at least 2 more goals. It will come though. Keep the faith.
MOT

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