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Monday, 21 April 2014

Forest humble toothless Leeds.

Elland Road was grey and wet as the Happy Chocker, Quiet One and yours truly parked the car and made our way down the well trodden route to the Theatre of Hope for the televised clash with Forest. After back to back wins, albeit against two poor teams, and two clean sheets there was a spark of optimism in the air as we debated our chances against a Forest team still with an outside chance of making the play offs. The optimism did take a bit of dip when we saw the team sheet though. Hunt in for Smith????? "Smith must have have broken his leg" I surmised but then I saw he was on the bench. Bizarre! Austin was also in the starting eleven in place of Zaliukas who was injured so BM had reverted to a back four and a diamond midfield. "Well he must know what he's doing" I commented to HC with my tongue nearly protruding through my cheek.

Only 20,000 fans had turned out for tea time kick off as the game kicked off in steady drizzle. Within a minute the Leeds defence opened up wider than Moses parted the Red Sea as Derbyshire waltzed through the gaping hole to calmly slot home the easiest of opening goals. 1.0 Forest before most fans had settled in their seats. This didn't bode well. Minutes later a Osborn header tested Butland with a decent header as Forest once again carved through the disorganised home team with ease. This was going to be a painful 90 minutes. Tonge gave the home fans a flicker of hope as he latched onto a good pass from Austin but his shot screwed horribly wide but on 16 minutes a catalogue of errors saw Derbyshire round Butland to snatch his 2nd goal of the evening. 2.0 Forest and for the umpteenth time this season Leeds' lack of quality and organisation in the team had been cruelly exposed. Brian McD's "lucky" track suit wasn't going to work this time.

Forest now sat back and conceded possession almost challenging Leeds to break them down a task that looked highly unlikely despite the vast majority of the ball the home team had. Problem was Michael Brown became by default the playmaker in the middle of the diamond as no other player seemed capable or willing to beat an opponent with the ball. Leeds only really tested Forest's back up goalie, De Vries, with a Ross Mac free kick that missed by inches on 40 minutes. Hunt ran about a lot again whilst Wootton playing at wing back looked like a fish out of water. My Granny could have played better than him and she's been buried in Cottingley cemetery for over 20 years! Half time 2.0 to Forest.

As you would expect after a half of excruciating frustration the Urinal philosophers were on top form. "Why the f*** has he changed the formation again" one steaming fan shouted. "Why, why, why does he persevere with Hunt" another incredulous fan moaned. "we're f****** shite simple as. The sooner the summer comes the better" a weary fan bemoaned. Not for the first time this season I didn't hear a smidgen of positivity whilst emptying the remnants of the pre match refreshments.

Brian McD changed the formation again at half time leaving three at the back and pushing Warnock and Austin on as wing backs. At least this did put a bit of pressure on the Forest back four but they coped easily with the predictable balls into the box as Leeds still failed to try and go past a man in red. Hunt did win a free kick on the edge of the box though and the resulting free kick brought a great save from De Vries in the Forest goal. Somehow he injured himself in making the save. Smith replaced Hunt on the hour. He made an immediate impact on the Forest centre backs as he was dragged to the ground on the edge of the box going for another high ball into the box. Incredibly the referee didn't see anything wrong in a Forest hand grabbing his shirt as he was airborne and sending him clattering to the ground.

Forest were content to let Leeds have the ball as the game entered the last twenty minutes knowing, as we did, that they weren't going to create anything other than balls into the box. The match careered to an inevitable conclusion with Mowatt and Pugh replacing Tonge and Warnock. Fans were streaming out of Elland Road long before the finish though. There was no way we were going to pull back the two goal deficit although Smith did force a superb save from the substitute Forest keeper in added time. The game finished 2.0 to Forest putting them right back in the play off picture.

This game just confirmed what most fans have known all season. The squad is sadly lacking in quality, creativity and guile. We are just lucky there are far worse teams in the championship than us. Brian McD's reaction after the match highlighted the need to bring in some pace and quality to the squad. But hasn't he already tried to do that with Kebe and Stewart? That hasn't worked and looking at the other signings he's made Wootton, Murphy, Zaliukas and Hunt it's hardly surprising that there are very few fans who think he should be given Cellino's transfer war chest in the summer. This was our 21st defeat of a very disappointing season which has included some of the worst performances I've seen from a Leeds team..........and I went to places such as Histon, Hereford and witnessed total capitulation at home against Forest, Preston, Blackpool, Watford et al. The time is up for Brian I'm afraid. New blood is needed as soon as the Derby game is finished in my humble opinion.

Just two games to go now starting with Birmingham who are in free fall. I wonder what team will turn up at St Andrews? Which ever it is we should beat a team who haven't won at home since October shouldn't we?

Can't wait.


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