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Saturday, 11 February 2017

Leeds Utd v Cardiff City. 11th Feb 17

There was a chill wind blowing down Elland Road as we parked the car and headed for the stadium. If the miserable weather was dampening the mood the team news arrived like a nuclear bomb to shatter any pre match confidence. Pontus wasn't in the squad due to illness! Still we should have too much power for an average Cardiff side shouldn't we? Even with the jinx of a returning manager and player in Mr Warnock and Sol Bamba. Would Colin inspire his team to work their socks off? Would Bamba have one of his worldie games against his former colleagues? Could we bounce back after last week's derby defeat? We were about to find out.

Monk handed a first team start to Pedraza in place of Doukara, Cooper replaced Mr Brickhead. Over 31,000 were packed inside Elland Road as the game got under way. Leeds took control of the game from the off with the Welsh side content to sit deep and deny Leeds any space behind their defence. Pablo Hernandez was at the forefront of most of the early Leeds moves as they attacked the South Stand. Leeds were enjoying nearly all of the possession as Warnock's men dug in to try and thwart the home side. Clear chances were at a premium though and it was Cardiff who had the best chance of the first half hour as Halford headed straight at Green from a corner.

Leeds continued to have the lion's share of the possession with Pedraza getting a couple of mazy runs at the Cardiff defence together with the illusive Hernandez look dangerous when he had the ball. As half time approached it all began to unravel though. First Ayling was penalised for taking a throw 6 inches from the wrong spot which infuriated both the crowd and the Leeds players then Bridcutt's continued verbal assault on the ref earned him a yellow card. Half Time. 0:0. Leeds had dominated but hadn't really tested McGregor in the Cardiff goal. Leeds needed a goal to settle the nerves. The Urinal philosophers were subdued by both the cold and the frustrating 45 minutes they had just witnessed. "We need somebody to support Wood" one fan complained whilst another moaned "The ref's having a mare" Mmmm A few nerves about but if we up the tempo in the 2nd half we should be ok I mused. Looking at the HT scores elsewhere we needed to as Huddersfield, Brighton and Norwich were all in front.

Leeds started the half with a bang. Quick one touch football orchestrated by Hernandez saw a fizzing shot from Dallas balloon away for a corner. Cooper met the corner having lost his marker but headed high and wide. "He should have buried that" I moaned to nobody in particular. Leeds were about to regret that miss though.  Minutes later Cardiff got another free kick in what should have been a harmless position. 40 yards out just in from the right touchline. Noone hit the cross deep into the Leeds box.........instead of the ball routinely headed out, as we've come to expect this season, Morrison was given the freedom of Leeds to head a simple goal past Green and stun the large home crowd. What a soft, soft goal! 1.0 Cardiff. Where was Pontus when you needed him?

I wish I could report that this was the kick up the backside Leeds needed and they responded with wave after wave of incisive attacks but they didn't. They were stuttering in attack and when they did get round the back of the Cardiff defence there was only Wood in the box with his two Cardiff security guards smothering him. Where were the midfielders bursting a lung to get in the box? Where was the determination and guile to open up the firmly parked double decker bus? Sadly lacking I'm afraid. As Leeds pushed forward they looked more and more vulnerable at the back. With 20 minutes left Leeds self destructed in a fashion I thought Garry Monk had consigned to the dustbin. First Vieira  lost the ball softly in midfield to allow Gunnarson to stride away past some powder puff tackles before he laid the ball back for Zohore on the six yard line to tap in the 2nd and killer goal. Bollox! 2.0 Cardiff. There was still time left for Leeds but they were now a disjointed rabble not sure whether to play the ball on the floor or pump it long to prise open the Welsh defence.

As if the afternoon couldn't get any worse for Leeds Bridcutt picked a 2nd yellow with 4 minutes to go. A horrible end to an ultimately miserable afternoon. The game finished 2.0 to Cardiff. Fair play to Warnock's team they implemented his game plan to a tee and deserved the 3 points. Leeds were poor in the 2nd half after a bright first 45 minutes. Two awful mistakes cost them the game but more worryingly is the recent indifferent form. We're still in the play offs, something beyond my wildest dreams earlier in the season, but we need to steady the ship against Bristol and Ipswich in the next two games.

Interesting times ahead on Planet Leeds me thinks?

Can't wait.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Having been a Leeds supporter since 1962 I have witnessed the serious promotion campaigns in that time, 1964, 1990 and now this season. In both 1964 and 1990 Leeds signed a proven goalscorer and season to push the campaign home, Alan Peacock in 1964 and Lee Chapman in 1990.

The current team is too reliant on Chris Wood, It is too e hoped the current blip is just that a blip but in recent years we have repeatedly seen Leeds fade in the 2nd half of the season.

Even should we make the play-offs history shows us Leeds do not do play-offs.

The recent transfer window was definitely a missed opportunity to sign what the team is currently lacking to support Chris Wood upfront.


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