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Saturday, 14 October 2017

Leeds Utd v Reading. 14th Oct 2017.

With the exciting International break neatly filed in the "Cures for insomnia" folder I boarded the train with Mrs MOT for the short journey to Leeds along with an army of Little Mix fans with their Mums heading for the afternoon gig in Leeds. Ironically Jaap Stam's Royals were the visitors to Elland Road tasked with infusing some exciting football entertainment to the sold out Elland Road crowd. Statisticians who marvel at the % possession figures of a team were salivating themselves into a frenzied coma at the prospect! Meanwhile I was worrying about more down to earth issues. Could Leeds take advantage of Cardiff and Bristol City's slip ups last night? Would the home comforts of a packed Elland Road inspire a victory? Had Leeds learnt from their capitulation at the Hillsborough horror show? We were about to find out.

The main talking point with TC's selection was Lonergan replacing the vulnerable Wiedwald in goals a decision welcomed by the majority of fans. The old stadium was bathed in sunshine as the game got underway with the obligatory songs welcoming Jap Staam back to Elland Road! The opening exchanges were scrappy to say the least. On 12 minutes Lasogga should have done better with a header from the back post with Roofe unmarked in the six yard box but the big German striker's header nestled safely in the Reading keeper's hands.

Leeds were doing nothing to convince their critical fans that they had solved the lack of bite and winning the second balls in midfield as the game meandered along in disjointed mediocrity. Leeds were playing slowly out from the back. Reading were sitting back and letting them just as Millwall, Cardiff and Sheffield Weds did. Once again Leeds were finding it difficult to create any real chances whereas Reading were finding joy on both flanks. This wasn't looking good. On 40 minutes Lonergan pulled off a superb save down to his right to keep the scores level. Half time couldn't come quick enough. 0.0 and there weren't many in the 33,000 crowd impressed with what they'd seen least of all the Urinal Philosophers. "That was rubbish" one fan moaned while another asked a pertinent question "What the f*** has happened to Jansson?" Finally one frustrated fan declared " I wish I'd gone to see Little Mix instead" It was that bad. Even Mrs MOT was pointing out the failings of Pontus and the fact we don't win any tackles in midfield anymore.

The 2nd half started pretty much the same as the first and when Jansson strode forward from the back only to try a ridiculous shot from 40 yards that sailed into the kop my head sunk into my hands for the 99th time since kick off. The referee was having as bad a game as Leeds with some weird decisions that riled the already frustrated home crowd. All in all this had the all too familiar feeling of home matches going badly wrong that I thought we had finally got rid of with the new regime? But I was wrong this was as bad as any Ken Bates or Cellino inspired team I'm afraid.

With just over an hour played there were two significant substitutions. Mo Barrow came on for Reading, yes that Mo Barrow who looked clueless during his time at Leeds, and then Sacko replaced Roofe for Leeds. Both changes lifted the tempo of the game. Sacko had a couple of long runs that gave an smidgen of hope to the home fans whilst Barrow pulled a shot wide with his first touch. Both teams realised the game was there for the taking and pushed forward looking for a winner. O'Kane drove forward purposely from midfield but shot horribly wide. Hernandez pulled a shot wide as the game stuttered into life. At the other end Barrow found space and fired a vicious shot at the Leeds goal but once again Lonergan pulled off another superb save.

With 12 minutes left Grot replaced the disappointing Lasogga as Leeds tried to get up a head of steam. Jansson should have done better from 10 yards after Hernandez pulled a ball back from the bye line. It was going to be one of those days. Minutes later Saiz had a tame header saved. With 5 minutes left Leeds watched in horror as Barrow slipped home a simple chance after some woeful non-defending from Leeds. The ex Leeds man was booked for over-celebrating. 1.0 Reading and the home stands started to empty.

Leeds weren't finished though. Phillips hit a volley from outside the box that seared over the bar and then in the 91st minute Leeds were handed a life line as the Ref awarded the most dubious of penalties after Saiz went down in the box. Up stepped Hernandez and hit a weak shot that the Reading goalie easily saved. Speechless! More fans heading for the exits. The game finished 1.0 to Reading. Another poor showing from Leeds and their 4th defeat out of the last 5 games. Jansson was poor today but then again other than Lonergan everybody was off colour. We're lacking any sort of steel in midfield and we are bullied off too many 2nd balls. Not good. Surely Vieira would add value to this team? Also whilst I love Berardi we need to play a left footed left back to give the team balance going forward.

The journey home was interesting to say the least as the train guard announced "this train will be delayed as there is a suspicious package on the platform at Selby station, the Bomb squad are on their way" Stunning! Just a perfect end to a perfect day! The bomb squad did their job and we eventually got home. The suspicious package turned out to be an old sleeping bag in the end. Unfortunately this will be another weekend ruined by Leeds United. It's not the first and won't be the last but just when you think we've got a team to challenge for the top six we start playing like we've never played together before. Nobody does Leeds United like Leeds United though. Bristol City away next week. Should I bother going? Course I should..........bring it on!

Can't wait.



Leeds watcher since 65 said...

Thanks for your honest assessment I had heard the game was pretty rubbish, I know this is Leeds but I had hoped for better things, I shall be at BC next weekend expecting better MOT.

Anonymous said...

Do you think Pontus is trying to go through a whole season without picking up a yellow card.Maybe he's on a bonus for each game.

Andrew Butterwick said...

He's certainly changed in the last 4 or 5 games.

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