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Sunday, 6 May 2018

Leeds Utd v QPR 6th May 2018

Elland Road was bathed in glorious sunshine against the bluest of blue sky's as I parked my car for the last time this season.  Yet another Groundhog season for Leeds who at one time promised so much, not least of which when we beat today's visitors at Loftus Road, but in the end delivered a reheated version of many of the disappointing campaigns from the last decade and beyond.  The only surprising thing is that the loyal and emotionally battered fanbase continue to turn up in amazing numbers.

The need for change throughout the club has never been as pressing with a squad sadly lacking in quality, leadership and sheer bloody mindedness coached by a Head coach lacking in experience and success at championship level overseen by Owners who's overall plan for the future is baffling at best.  It's difficult to see where the improvements will come from I'm afraid.  Still supporting Leeds United is easy and hugely rewarding...................said nobody ever!

Today I was joined by an old school friend and his son from the deep south, Surrey in fact.  We reminisced about Clarke's goal at Wembley, the magnificent 7 against Southampton and lots of other joys of following the mighty whites in those halcyon days in a different century.  Misty eyed we took our seats in readiness for today's pauper's feast at the same ground Bremner, Giles, Lorimer et al strode in their pomp.  PH had rung the changes for the last game.  Ayling made a welcome return at right back, Ekuban started up front with Alioski and Roofe out wide.  Phillips, Vieira and Forshaw formed the midfield triangle.  Tom Pearce kept his place at left back with Cooper and Jansson at centre backs.  16 year old Ryan Edmondson was on the bench.

The pitch looked in perfect condition as ever as the game got underway with just over 30,000 inside the sun bathed Elland Road.  The opening salvos were typical of an end of season game with nothing at stake but Leeds did look to have a bit more spark in them than in recent outings even though it was against a QPR team who looked desperate to get the game finished and away on their holidays.  Just before the half hour Ayling made a barnstorming run before unleashing a shot that tested the QPR goalie.  This was shortly followed by a goalmouth scramble ignited by an Ekuban shot on target that was blocked before QPR conceded a corner.  From the corner Roofe finished spectacularly as he hooked in a loose ball home from close range to open the scoring for Leeds.  1.0 Leeds and all of a sudden life was just a little bit better on Planet Leeds.

Leeds continued to have the better of the game and could have gone into the half time break with more than the one goal advantage as first Roofe and then young Pearce rifled in shots that had the QPR goalie pulling off decent saves.  Pearce's shot especially had the Elland Road faithful purring.  Alioski also nearly added a second but saw his header just drop inches past the post.  Half time 1.0 Leeds.  The urinal philosophers were already on the beach.  Leeds season finished a long time ago and it seemed nobody could be arsed complaining about anything.  The combination of the lovely sunshine and a reasonable first half display from Leeds had pacified the notoriously critical philosophers.

Pennington replaced Jansson as the 2nd half got under way.  For a big strapping lad the Swede doesn't half pick up his fair share of injuries of one sort or another?  Any fans who were late back from their half time refreshments missed the 2nd goal.  Under pressure the QPR goalie made a complete hash of his clearance and passed it straight to Phillips 35 yard out.  Mr Pineapple head coolly controlled the ball advanced to the the edge of the box before despatching his shot clinically past the forlorn keeper. 2.0 Leeds and all was well with the world.  QPR didn't seem to have the heart to fight back as Leeds took control of the game.

Leeds were playing some nice football at times with Ayling making a huge difference to the Leeds right flank and young Tom Pearce looking dangerous every time he went forward on the left.  Vieira was in good nick in the middle ably supported by Forshaw and Phillips looked more comfortable in a more advanced position.  Ekuban was again struggling to make any impact up front though.  Bailey Peacock Farrell was sat in a deck chair lathered in factor 30.  On 72 minutes Alioski was so unlucky as met a superb Roofe cross only to see yet another good save from the goalie deny him a goal.  Shortly after Roofe left the field to a well deserved ovation to be replaced by 16 year old Ryan Edmondson.  Now this lad is a big lad and I mean a big lad especially for just 16 years old and he immediately secured a rousing ovation himself as he obliterated the QPR full back in a tackle that would have made Norman Hunter proud.  He received a dubious yellow card for his troubles as the QPR player played dead on the turf just long enough for the ref to book him before jumping up and walking away.

Minutes later Edmondson nearly brought the house down as he found space in the box to hammer a cross goal wards only to see a deflection from a desperate defender's leg prevent a debut goal.  On this evidence he has a bright future.  There was just time for a Leeds breakaway by Alioski to be stopped by a foul on the edge of the box.  Alioski then despatched the free kick into the Kop before the ref brought the curtain down on the game and Leeds season.  FT 2.0 Leeds.

I'm glad we finished with a decent performance albeit against a poor QPR team.  Our final position of 13th tells it's own story though.  There are some useful building blocks in the squad already but the need to add quality and experience is there for everyone to see.  Ayling was my man of the match today with good showings from Roofe, Forshaw and Vieira.  An interesting summer ahead for Leeds and as ever we will be looking to try and find a formula that will make Leeds competitive in the championship once again something we haven't really seen other than our first year after relegation from the Premier League which was a long time ago.

Thanks for reading my musings on Leeds United this year and hopefully I'll do it all again next season.  In the meantime fingers crossed for some positive signs of progression over the summer?

Can't wait.



Leeds watcher since 65 said...

Thanks Andrew, with you totally for a better showing next time out albeit not holding any breath

Andy P said...

Thanks Andrew for your musings this year have enjoyed them all. The early season optimism was fantastic, when it is as all going so well and unfortunately we all know how it feels as a Leeds fan when things never go as expected and wins turn to losses, but your humour and great commentary keeps going. Thanks again an MOT.

Andrew Butterwick said...

Thanks for your comments. Here's hoping for a better season next time never know dafter things have happened!

Ed said...

Please return with the urinal philosophers in tow. My fav match day observations/reviews.

Unknown said...

Thanks again from across the pond, Andrew. Always a weekend highlight for me. Your columns, not necessarily the team performance. Toodles until September.

Andrew Butterwick said...

Thanks Ryan. Glad you enjoy my ramblings.

Anonymous said...

So enjoyed your musings which almost always reflect my own thoughts. Keep up the good work.
Mike Newhouse

jane bug said...

Enjoy your retirement Andrew. For every comment left here, there are a thousand more, sad to see you stop.
Your reports were always informative, intelligent and funny. My mum used to print out your musings to read to my late Dad in his last years. Thanks for everything - and describing all those dark cold miserable 0:0 draws that the rest of us couldn't be bothered to go to. All the best to you and yours, Jane.

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