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Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Leeds Utd v Birmingham City. 12th Sept 2017.

Expectations were sky high after Saturday's demolition of Burton as I crawled through the traffic heading for Elland Road for the clash with Harry Redknapp's Birmingham side. The storm clouds might have been gathering ominously in the West Yorkshire sky but nothing could dampen the infectious optimism of the home fans as another near sell out crowd flocked to see TC's vibrant team. Could Leeds repeat their dominance against the expensively assembled Midlands outfit? Would Lasogga play or be at his girlfriend's side at the Maternity hospital? Could Leeds keep another clean sheet? We were about to find out.

Thankfully Lasogga's girlfriend's water's were intact so he was on the pitch ready for the kick off. Alioski replaced Roofe and Berardi and Vieira both returned to the bench at the expense of Shaughnessy and Klich. The atmosphere inside Elland Road was white hot as the game got under way. Leeds started more hesitantly than the weekend with more passes going astray in the first 10 minutes than did in the whole of the Burton game. Jansson was the main culprit as Leeds tried to build some momentum. Birmingham's poor start to the season disguises the quality they have in their team with Boga and Jota showing early glimpses of their illusive ability. Birmingham certainly didn't set up to park the bus giving Leeds plenty of opportunity to counter attack at speed. Inevitably Saiz was at the fulcrum of most of these moves and on 10 minutes was dragged down 25 yards out as he skipped away from a blue shirted defender. Phillips put the free kick in the South stand though.

Leeds were sailing close to the wind as Gallagher and Morrison went close for Birmingham but Leeds gradually started to get some joy going forward. Saiz, Hernandez and then Alioski all created chances to send nervous shivers down the spine of the Brum defence and crank up the volume of the home fans urging their team forward for the first goal. On 17 minutes Elland Road exploded. With rain pouring down O'Kane hit an exquisite volleyed pass beyond the Brum back four. The big German, Lasogga, bundled his way in front of the defender and then hit a shot that nearly killed Stockdale in the visitor's goal.........the ball cannoned into the air where Saiz arrived majestically to beat the desperate defenders to guide the ball into the net. 1.0 Leeds and a deafening roar cascaded around the ground. Delicious!

Minutes later Lasogga just couldn't reach an inviting cross as his header sailed high and wide. Were we going to witness another goal fest I started to wonder? Leeds looked dangerous on the attack but were still giving up possession too easily and Birmingham didn't need any invitation to attack. Thankfully the Leeds back four were rock solid with Jansson and Cooper like two giant beligerent barricades across Wiedwald's goal. As the game drifted into added time the hugely impressive Ayling came to Leeds rescue as Colin beat Wiedwald to a through ball and headed over the goalie.....he was starting to celebrate the equaliser when the pony tailed full back sprung from nowhere like a double jointed contortionist to hook the ball off the line! Phew. There was still time for Lasogga to get another shot away before the ref blew for half time. 1.0 Leeds.

The Urinal Philosophers were on the frustrated side of happy. "We're not as slick as Saturday" one fan grumbled whilst another thought 'Luke Ayling is f****** unreal" Mmmm we hadn't clicked as well as Saturday but we were still in front. What do they say about good teams winning when they're not playing well? There was no let up with the rain as the second half resumed. Birmingham were enjoying the better share of possession as they closed down the Leeds team at every opportunity and were starting to make in roads into the rock like defence. Wiedwald even had to make some saves something he's not had to do all season. Bums started to squeak amongst the home fans. On the hour Roofe replaced Alioski as TC tried to test Birmingham with some fresh legs. The fluidity we have become used to in recent weeks still wasn't there though as I feared our proud record of clean sheets was about to come to an end. This fear grew as Cooper limped off and Ayling switched to centre back with Berardi making a welcome return.

Saiz lifted the crowd on 77 minutes with a sweet drive that Stockdale pushed round the post. It was Birmingham who were looking the most likely though as they attacked the gritty Yorkshire defence. Dallas replaced Hernandez as TC tried to shore up his dogged side. Pontus headed what seemed to be the 175th ball out of the box and Leeds looked to break. Lasogga won the ball in midfield and shovelled the ball out wide for Dallas.............would he go for the corner to waste time? Nope he drove at the tiring Brum full back cut inside and hit a superb shot past Stockdale to double the lead and kill the game. The roof came off Elland Road in relief but once again that little bit of class had made the difference. Fabulous. Anita nearly made it 3.0 deep into added time as the game ended 2.0 to Leeds with the crowd singing "We are top of the league" Now it's a long, long time since we've sung that!

In truth Birmingham probably deserved a point but Leeds dug in and won ugly with two quality goals and tonnes of bloody mindedness in defence. 6 clean sheets on the bounce is a remarkable turn around from last year to leave us unbeaten and sitting proudly on top of the championship although we've not played 10 games yet! The defence was outstanding tonight but all of the team battled well when things weren't going their way. Is it a sign of a Champion team? I do think so even at this early stage of the season.

Another intriguing test awaits us on Saturday at The New Den with our friends from South Bermondsey. Should be a decent game? Another clean sheet and another 3 goals me thinks?

Can't wait!



Leeds watcher since 65 said...

Listened in on the Internet certainly different to the Burton game but we won which was all important. On a different tact no mention of the happy chocker and the quiet one recently any news?

Leeds watcher since 65 said...

Good win though not as fluid as Burton although that would take some doing. Have not heard much about the happy chocker or the quiet one recently any news

Unknown said...

Very good report again andrew it's very strange were looking down the league and not up 😀😀👍

Andrew Butterwick said...

George/Leeds watcher,
thanks for the comments and yes it's a strange season altogether. Happy Chocker and the Quiet One are alive and kicking. Quiet One is now not so quiet and goes with his mates in The South Stand. Happy Chocker finished at the Pit and is now working at Wincanton Transport on shifts. he doesn't always get the games now.

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