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Saturday, 13 January 2018

Ipswich Town v Leeds Utd. 13th Jan 2018.

A week after the woeful performance at lowly Newport County and over 3,500 Leeds fans are heading to Portman Road, a place where Leeds have won only once in their last ten visits.  Add the sobering news that Saiz is suspended, Ayling is out for the season and the new left back De Bock has not travelled with the team and you begin to get an inkling to the DNA of your average Leeds fan.  It's a potent mixture of bloody mindedness, blind loyalty, unswerving passion and that addictive belief that no matter how bad we played last week this week would somehow be different especially with the assistance of a few pre match refreshments.  We might have given a very good impression of a team falling apart this week but the Leeds away family was once again on the road and once again hoping for a decent performance.

The journey to Ipswich was a bit more eventful than usual as Virgin Trains kindly cancelled my train from Doncaster to Peterborough and then the following train refused to let me on with a Virgin ticket unless I paid full fare.  After a short and unsuccessful discussion with the train guard I thanked him for his understanding and returned to the car park to continue the journey by road.  Thankfully I arrived in Ipswich in time for kick off and to dissect TC's latest team selection.  Anita was at left back with Berardi moving to the right.  Phillips and O'Kane were in midfield with Roofe up front.  Cibicki, Hernandez and Alioski completed the line up with Wiedwald returning in goal.

The game got underway with the vociferous away support belting out the Leeds United songbook into the murky Suffolk sky.  Leeds started very much on the front foot with Hernandez, Alioski and Cibicki all seeing half chances saved or blocked in the first 20 minutes.  There was real purpose in the Leeds play in sharp contrast to last week's performance in South Wales.  Jansson and Cooper were solid at the back and Leeds midfield were causing the home side problems with their attacking intent. All was going well for Leeds but then on 30 minutes came the first blow of the afternoon.  Cibicki went off with a hamstring problem to be replaced by Sacko.  Mmmm this could be kill or cure for Sacko I mused.

Leeds were soon back on the attack and Hernandez slid a perfect ball through to Roofe but the Leeds striker couldn't convert the golden chance as the Ipswich captain blocked his shot after Roofe tried to turn inside rather than hitting the shot first time.  Leeds would regret that miss just minutes later.  O'Kane chased a ball to the bye line and clashed with Knudson off the pitch.  The ref had no hesitation in giving the Leeds midfielder a straight red.  Bollox! Down to ten men and just 37 minutes gone.  This was now going to be a big ask of the Leeds team. Ipswich now grasped their opportunity and with McGoldrick pulling the strings the Tractor Boys started to put pressure on Wiedwald's goal as the game neared half time.  Celina rattled the Leeds post before Ipswich hit it again direct from a corner as Leeds tried to compose themselves.  Half Time 0:0.

The Urinal Philosophers had the referee in their sights during the HT gents debate.  "Why do we always get shit refs?" enquired one fan mirroring comments by many fans across the country during the half time break. "We should have scored before he got sent off" moaned another disgruntled fan whilst someone else thought "We need to nail McGoldrick or he'll run the show in the 2nd half" TC clearly had to reorganise the team for the 2nd half and he did just that. Shaughnessy came on for Alioski as Leeds strung two banks of four in front of Ipswich leaving Roofe to plough a lone farrow up front.

The new formation seemed to steady the Leeds ship and shortly after the restart Phillips fired in a dangerous shot that the keeper just held onto.  At the other end Connolly found space and fired in a testing shot that Wiedwald flapped out to Garner who should have scored but thankfully pulled his shot wide.  Sacko was seeing plenty of the ball on the right flank and got a couple of shots away but he never quite seems to co-ordinate his legs, arms and brain in the right order so he might bamboozle the defender but then choose the wrong sequence for his next pass or shot.  It's such a shame because he has all the right tools but struggles to use them effectively.

As the clock ticked towards 70 minutes Leeds were still in the game albeit with a number of tired legs and bruised bodies.  Then just when I was contemplating the thought of a backs to the wall performance yielding dividends for Leeds disaster struck. Phillips lost his man, Celina, in midfield and the Ipswich man took full advantage as he drove forward and hit a superb 25 yarder beyond Wiedwald and into the net.  1.0 Ipswich. Garner nearly added a second minutes later but suddenly Leeds got a second wind and attacked the home side with new found energy dredged from the bottom of their bloodymindedness bottle.  Sacko got his co-ordination in perfect sync for once as he thundered forward onto a lovely pass and fired a superb ball into the box where Roofe connected but was foiled by a brilliant block by an Ipswich defender.  The away support lifted the decibel levels as Leeds looked for an unlikely equaliser.

Lasogga came on for Anita as Leeds went to 3 at the back. Leeds pushed forward in style.  Hernandez  fired a pin point ball to Roofe in the box............he clipped the ball to the far post where Cooper stuck out his foot only to see the ball go inches over the top.  This was better.  Next Hernandez cut inside and hit a stinging shot inches over the bar.  Leeds were giving it a good go if nothing else.  4 minutes added time and Ipswich were hanging on. Jansson strode forward from the back......he fed the ball through to Lasogga who turned and thumped a shot goal wards but the Ipswich goal palmed it away to safety and the game was over.  1.0 Ipswich.

In the end it was a battling performance from Leeds.  Chances were missed but the loss of O'Kane to a stupid red card was the turning point.  A game that was there for the taking turned into a fight for survival that ultimately failed.  The defence looked strong today and even Anita looked the part.  The injuries and suspensions do expose the thinness of the squad though.  If we are to continue to flirt with a top six place that needs addressing in this transfer window.  Fantastic support from the Leeds fans again.  It would be nice to see us do better than last year's 7th position though.  At this moment in time we will need to pick up some form running into the daunting run of games in February if that's going to happen though.  It's never dull on Planet Leeds is it?  Bring on Millwall next week!

Can't wait.


1 comment:

Leeds watcher since 65 said...

Thanks for your report as always it virtually mirrored radio Leeds, from my point of view bringing Sacko on feels like we are going down to 10 men and as for the indiscipline of the Saiz and Okane well let's just say it is irksome. I now hope more than believe in the play offs but as usual I could be wrong. MOT

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