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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Leeds Utd v Derby County 31st Oct 2017

There were plenty of ghouls, werewolves and zombies littering the streets as I made the dash to Elland Road for the evening clash with Derby County. With Leeds still sat in the play off positions despite their poor run of form the doubters amongst the Leeds United family were starting to surface. Would tonight be another horror show or would Leeds rediscover the form that took them to the summit of the table just a few short weeks ago? With both Cooper and Phillips missing TC was forced to make some changes in personnel but would he tinker with the formation? Was it the players off form or the formation that was the key factor in our defeat to the Blades? I thought the former as I drank in the pre match atmosphere.

28,000 fans inside Elland Road held an impeccable minute's silence after the always very poignant rendition of the Last Post on the last home game before Remembrance Sunday. For the second home game running we were reminded that there are a lot more important things in life than a game of football. TC had changed his team from Friday's defeat, Dallas started at left back with Vieira and O'Kane in midfield. Roofe and Alioski out wide with Saiz tucking in behind Lasogga up top.

Leeds fired out of the box like a gang of eager Trick or Treaters as they harried the visitors out of possession in the opening exchanges. 2nd balls were won and firm challenges were flying in from the Leeds team...........everything that was missing last Friday was here in abundance tonight and on 7 minutes it paid handsome dividends. Vieira stole the ball from Ledley like a skilful pickpocket before releasing Saiz, the Spaniard drove at the retreating defence and slipped the perfect ball to Lasogga who clinically hit the ball first time past Carson in the Derby goal. 1.0 Leeds and Elland Road was bouncing. "You should have gone trick or treating" the South Stand taunted the travelling Derby fans. Mmmmm a bit early for that I thought.

Derby were clearly rattled and Leeds took full advantage as they dominated possession and pushed forward looking for a second goal. Lasogga looked brighter than of late but to be fair that wouldn't be difficult after a string of under par performances, O'Kane and Vieira were bossing midfield and Saiz was buzzing around like an annoying bluebottle. Derby's expensive array of talent were made to look second best and should have been two down when Roofe danced to the bye line before clipping a lovely ball to the back post where Wisdom grappled Alioski to the ground inside the 6 yard box to prevent him scoring. Somehow the ref deemed that not a foul and therefore not a penalty! The mysteries of what goes on in a ref's head continues to puzzle me. Half time came with Leeds still the one goal to the good and trooped off to a good ovation.

The Urinal Philosophers were generally pleased "That's miles better than Friday" one fan announced only to be shot down by his mate who reminded him that "It's only 45 minutes though let's see if they can manage 90 minutes like that" to compliment the overly cautious mood a final fan complained "Lasogga might have scored but he's still shite and lazy" There's always enlightened and frank views from our Urinal Philosophers who have honed their pathological mistrust of Leeds' ability to satisfy their fans over the last decade of perpetual disappointment...............and some people still think that we go to football to be entertained! As if!

The second half got under way with Leeds continuing to dominate and cause Derby problems. Roofe ran at his defender and then curled a shot high and wide over the bar as Leeds looked for the all important 2nd goal. Derby had changed their approach though. They were now playing much higher up the pitch and gradually started to get more than their fair share of the possession pushing Leeds back on the defensive. On the hour came the changing point of the game. Leeds attacked the Derby defence and the Spanish magician, Saiz, pinged a teasing ball into the Derby box where Lasogga met the ball first with an outstretched boot Goooooooooooooooaaaaaal I screamed like a demented Zombie as the ball flew inches over the bar. Should have been 2.0 but in fact it was the cue for Derby to get more of a grip of the game.

Martin spun away from his man and got a shot away that Lonergan saved. Minutes later a Winnall's shot was blocked on the edge of the box. Confidence seemed to be draining from Leeds players as fast as Derby were increasing theirs. I had an all too familiar feeling of the pit of my stomach filling with foreboding. It didn't take long for my concern to be confirmed. On 72 minutes the hugely frustrating Roofe tried to set up a Leeds attack in the Derby half but gave the ball away far too easily. Craig Forsythe sprinted down the exposed left channel with Winnall ominously heading for the box. There were 3 defenders tracking him though so surely he wouldn't score would he? Oh Bollox he did! How an earth did he do that? Sloppy, sloppy defending and yet another goal coming from a break down our right flank. 1.1 and Leeds were crumbling under the Derby pressure after dominating the first hour.

The Rams smelt blood and went in search of what at one time seemed an unlikely win. Leeds did counter attack and Alioski nearly got to a cross with his head but sadly didn't. The soft underbelly of Leeds mental resolve was there for all to see. Shoulders were dropping nobody was organising or chivvying their colleagues to up their game. This was fast turning into a Nightmare on Elland Road. Sacko, on as a sub, committed a typical attackers tackle on Tom Lawrence as he sped into the box. The ref pointed to the spot and Winnall converted with ease. 2.1 to Derby and game over. Leeds did mount an anaemic attempt at a last hurrah to salvage a point in which Lasogga so nearly did rescue a point but in truth it all looked a bit too desperate and hopeful rather than purposeful attacks.

The ref's whistle was met with boos from the frustrated home fans. Definitely snatching defeat from the jaws of victory this one. From the hour mark they collapsed like a giant Jenga being hit by a clumsy Puppy. A poor, poor finish to the game and more worryingly a continuation of the string of defeats for Leeds. Amazingly we are still in the top 6 but God knows how. Lasogga disappointed again and although Jansson had a better game the defending for the Derby equaliser undid all the good work that had gone before. It was woeful. What's more frustrating is the way the whole team seems to go into their shell just when we need a few leaders on the pitch to rally the team.

The trip to Brentford is now a daunting one. Another defeat will heap the pressure on TC. Maybe we should have gone trick or treating tonight? Roll on Saturday.

Can't wait.



Leeds watcher since 65 said...

Thanks for the review Andrew I listened on Radio Leeds and watched the major incidents on Sky as they happened, to say I was disappointed would be a big understatement for the first time this season I felt a mixture of anger and frustration at the way the game changed as you described. You watch the games do you think we can turn this around or is something more serious going on. MOT

Andrew Butterwick said...

I think there is an issue regarding turning round a game when the opposition score. We seem to crumble too easily and there doesn't appear to be any urgency or fight to get back in the game. It's still early days yet so we amy see a change as the season goes on? I hope so.

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