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Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Leeds Utd v Wolves 19th April 2016.

Something strange happened on the way to the game tonight. After enough negative news oozing out of Elland Road to last a life time over the last few weeks we finally had something really positive to get excited about with the announcement of the new season tickets prices. Prices frozen and money back discounts if we don't reach the play offs. Did I hear that correctly? I turned the radio up so as not to be mistaken. "50% money back if Leeds don't reach the play offs if 15000 season tickets are sold" confirmed Popey as I parked the car. Unbelievable! "Might have a few fans wavering if we're 7th at this time next year" I commented to the Happy Chocker.

A cloudless sunny sky greeted us as we joined the 17,000 die hards inside Elland Road chattering about the season ticket shock and Steve Evans' latest team selection. In came Erwin, Coyle and Bamba and out went Antenucci, Dallas and Bellusci from Saturday's team as Leeds went in search of a 3rd win on the bounce against another mid table side, Wolves. Josh Warrington, fresh from his boxing triumph on Saturday, was sat a couple of seats away almost anonymous to the majority of the crowd. Either that or Leeds folk don't like to make too much of a fuss!

Wolves started the game on the front foot with Saville having the first chance of the match on 5 minutes but pulled his shot wide from the edge of the box. Wood countered at the other end and fizzed a shot onto the post with the Wolves goalie well beaten. Once again there was an end of season feel about the game which struggled to pick up any real tempo early on. Wolves were having some joy attacking on the flanks though and gave Leeds a scare on the quarter hour when Henry somehow failed to convert a pin point cross from Sigurdasun from just 6 yards out. Wood was looking lively up front for Leeds as he continued has strong run of recent form. The imperious Cook slid him in with a lovely pass and the big striker tested the Wolves goalie with low shot. On 20 minutes he saw a 25 yard free kick fly inches past the Wolves goal. Meanwhile the South Stand were amusing themselves at the expense of a Jimmy Savile lookalike amongst the Wolves fans with some amusing little ditties.

After their bright start Wolves started to go into their shell as the game headed for half time. Wood looked dangerous up front and Cook was at his imperious best in mid field which was good and bad for Leeds. Good for this game but bad for Cook's future with Leeds as Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe sat drooling in the stands as he watched the Championship young player of the year showing just why he got that well deserved accolade. Erwin, having his first start for Leeds, struggled early on but found space and got a good shot away just before the half time whistle. HT 0-0. All in all a bit of a tepid first 45 minutes but could Leeds turn on the style in the 2nd period as they did on Saturday?

By now the Leeds Warrior had been recognised by a few more fans and he was holding a mini photo session. Leeds could do with a bit more more fight in their game if they were going to spark the game to life. As on Saturday Evans half time pep talk appeared to have an affect as Leeds immediately picked up the initiative. Murphy was fouled 30 yards out in the inside left channel. Taylor whipped in a dangerous free kick but nobody got on the end of it. On 57 minutes Dallas replaced Coyle and all of a sudden Leeds looked a different side. The Northern Ireland international looked threatening and illusive and not only that he chased every ball down. It wasn't long before the Dallas affect was instrumental in Leeds taking the lead.

Wood broke from half way and laid a lovely ball off to Dallas who's deflected shot went for a corner. Diagouraga's shot was blocked from the corner but Dallas shovelled the ball to his big captain Bamba on the edge of the box. It was the sort of ball that you wouldn't expect a certain Mr Messi to control but right before my eyes  Bamba somehow controlled the ball and then shaped to shoot! As the ball dropped to the floor the centre half hit the most delightful half volley you are ever likely to see. More to the point it was actually flying straight towards the top corner of the goal at the speed of sound. The goalie never had a chance as the net bulged under the incredible pressure of the shot. Bamba took off like a demented schoolboy in celebration and Leeds were 1.0 up. Wow! The goal fired Leeds up and they were now all over Wolves like a rash playing silky football and ripping the Midlanders apart. 4 minutes later Diagouraga doubled the Leeds lead after a Cook inspired move culminated with a cool finish from the tall, black midfielder. 2.0 Leeds and the 2nd goal in a week for the ex Brentford man.

Leeds were now looking good but just to remind fans that they don't really do that "closing a game out" thing Wolves got a goal back on 77 minutes. Botaka had replaced Erwin a couple of minutes earlier and he was bizarrely instrumental in the build up to the visitors goal. Leeds were on the attack and forced the Wolves defence to pass back to the goalie. Botaka pounced like Panther and forced the goalie into an error as he nearly dispossessed him. Problem was the desperate clearance kick proved a perfect pass to set the Wolves attack going.............a couple of passes later and Saville, no not that one, put the ball in Silvestri's bottom corner. 2.1.

Leeds hit straight back with Wood setting Botaka up only to see the sub's lovely curling shot come back off the bar. Minutes later Cooper headed wide from a corner as Leeds threatened to finish in style. In the end it was Wolves who came nearest to scoring as a breakaway saw Silvestri pull off a superb save to deny Mason. If they had of equalised it would have been rough justice on an impressive Leeds side. Final score 2.1 Leeds. Cook was awesome and my man of the match by a mile. Erwin did better in the 2nd half but Dallas and Botaka both had a huge impact when they came on against tiring legs. Cooper was again very solid at the back. This game will be remembered for Bamba's supersonic strike though. If it had missed the goal it would have decapitated somebody in the kop!

So three wins in three for Steve Evans men as we look forward to the clash with Hull on Saturday. This was an impressive display especially in the 2nd half. If we could just play like that for a full 90 minutes..............
The pressure is off Leeds now and they are playing better for it. It would be nice to spoil the Codheads promotion push in the East Riding at the weekend me thinks?

Can't wait.


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