Google analytics

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Burton Albion v Leeds Utd. Boxing Day 2017.

Traditionally Boxing Day has never been a fruitful fixture for Leeds Utd with last year's 4:1 demolition of Preston proving the exception to the rule.  This year we go to Burton who have suddenly had a good run of form that has lifted them out of the bottom three just in time for the visit of Leeds. With memories of last season's awful 2:1 reverse at the Pirelli Stadium still fresh in my mind I was a tad apprehensive as I pointed the car south for the latest away day following the mighty whites.

The excesses of Christmas day gradually faded away as my mind focused on the forthcoming game.  Would Saiz be fit again? Who would start up front? Do I hold the scarf stretched above my head or twirl it around my head when singing MOT?  All burning questions as I had a hair of the Christmas dog waiting for kick off at The Beech Hotel, Burton. News over the weekend that Sheff Wed and Boro had both sacked their manager after their game on Saturday provided much amusement amongst the away contingement.  The word Karma was trending deep in the bowels of the away end at Burton. Delicious.

The team news confirmed Saiz was still injured so the only change was O'Kane in for Phillips.  The game got underway in bright sunshine but a chilly wind reminding fans we were still in the depth of winter. Leeds wasted no time in attacking Burton as they exploited each of the flanks to put early pressure on the Brewers.  Hernandez finished a sweeping move by slotting Alioski through but Bywater in the home goals just got to the ball before the Leeds man with me screaming for him to make a challenge for the ball rather than jump over the goalie.  Roofe was next to try his luck but screwed his shot wide followed by an Alioski volley from the edge of the box that he should of converted.  When minutes later the impressive Cibicki got to the bye line and pulled the ball back for Hernandez a goal was surely on the cards but the Spaniard didn't quite connect and the ball rolled agonisingly wide. This was as good a start as we've seen all season and only twenty minutes gone.

The domination by Leeds suggested that we might even improve on the 5.0 thrashing we handed out at Elland Road to Burton but on the half hour the cursed Boxing Day Leeds demons struck with a vengeance. Burton got a soft free kick out wide and moved the ball towards the Leeds box. Akins found himself in space at the back post and hit a low shot cum cross which Naylor slid into the Leeds net at the opposite back post.  1.0 Burton. Unbelievable!  To say it was against the run of play was an understatement. The Brewers so nearly then went two up as they counter attacked from a Leeds corner but thankfully Allen chose the wrong option and saw his shot drift wide.  HT and it was somehow 1.0 to Burton after incessant Leeds pressure.  It's a funny old game at times.

The Urinal Philosophers were still suffering the after effects of Xmas day but still managed some pertinent points "how have we not scored in that half" one fan enquired whilst another thought " Alioski should be subbed after missing that volley" a bit harsh even for the most unforgiving Urinal Philosopher!  Meanwhile back on the terracing the numerous stewards were engaging in an interesting debate with any fans who were stood in the gangway to get them to stand within the marked terracing.  The fact that four stewards were stood in the middle of the gangway causing more of an obstruction than any fan seemed to be lost in that cerebal discussion!

Leeds needed to get back into the game quick in the 2nd half but it was the home side who nearly doubled their lead as Sordell turned exquisitely and fired past the post from inside the box. When Naylor got a shot away minutes later the nerves started to jangle in the away end and the positive backing of the first half started to turn against the men in white. Naylor then received a yellow for an over the top tackle on Vieira.  The stoppage gave time for Leeds to recharge their batteries and they began to make inroads into the home defence again. On the hour Roofe was dragged down 25 yards out from goal after a foul by Flanagan.  As Hernandez lined the free kick up the now familiar routine of the Leeds players lining up in front of the goalie was interrupted by the home Goalie pulling down the O'Kane's shorts as he stood in front of him! Bizarre.  He probably thought he was still playing some kind of weird after dinner Xmas game or in a West End Farce?  Whatever it was it earned him a yellow card.  Worse still for him Hernandez curled the prefect free kick into the Burton net to equalise for Leeds and send the away end into nuclear meltdown with bodies flying all over on the terracing.  1.1.

The goal rocked the home side and just three minutes later Vieira won the ball in midfield and played a slide rule pass through to Roofe who drove towards the goal and coolly placed the ball past Brian Rix, ask your Dad, in the Burton goal.  An explosion of flying bodies greeted the 2nd goal in the away end as Leeds looked to secure their 4th win on the bounce. Brilliant. Burton now pushed forward leaving gaps at the back.  Alioski should have done better with another volley from a bouncing ball as the whites looked to kill the game.  Lasogga replaced Cibicki with 15 minutes to go quickly followed by Phillips on for the limping Vieira.

The game became more frantic as Nigel Clough's men looked for an unlikely equaliser.  Roofe so nearly killed the game off but his shot was just blocked and deflected wide.  Leeds then saw the game out despite an almighty scramble in the Leeds box after the final "Hail Mary" ball from Burton. Full Time Burton 1:2 Leeds and a 4th win on the bounce to consolidate their top six position. Leeds dominated possession and should have won by more than the one goal.  Hernandez was probably my Man of the match for a clever display of creative football.  Again Jansson and Cooper were solid at the back.  Cibicki improves with every game for me and is looking like a real bargain find.

With Birmingham and Forest up next 2017 should end with a bang for Leeds? The last time we came from behind to win a game was at Norwich last season.  TC seems to have the good ship Leeds United steaming in the right direction at the moment and long may it continue.  Still a long way to go this season though but the future does seem to have a bright tinge to it at the moment on Planet Leeds. Roll on 2018.

Can't wait.


1 comment:

Leeds watcher since 65 said...

Great review, be happier with Saiz back but who for is an interesting conundrum, not wishing to get ahead of ourselves but only 5 points to second place. As for Monk, be very careful what you wish for, MOT

Site Counter