By Keith Ingham
After a less than impressive performance up in Teeside the money fairy brought more joy to the Theatre of Hope with the signing of Sunderland's Connor Wickham, on loan until the end of the 2013/14 season. The highly sought after striker, who was being chased by a multitude of clubs, chose Leeds after a successful previous loan spell at 'Wendy's, where during that period he scored a fine goal in the forgettable, for Leeds supporters, 6-0 reverse at Hillsborough. Throughout the game he gave Lees and Zalukias a dinner time to forget and the later has yet to wear a first team shirt after it.
More than one voice has been raised on two of Brian's latest loan signings, with Jimmy Kebe and Cameron Stewart failing to justifying the managers faith in them giving the team width we so desperately needed. Following those two came Jack Butland, who already after one game has in my opinion cemented himself between the goalposts after his immaculate first team debut at Middlesborough. I digress, back to Wickham the striker who commanded a eight million signing fee when he joined Sunderland from Ipswich, has all the attributes of a first class striker, speed and good in the air must be just what Ross McCormack was dreaming of. Ross has had a hard time of it lately not getting the service to add to his impressive goal tally. He did better with Matt Smith alongside of him but Wickham, no offence to the young striker is a class above him and indeed the youngster Smith will learn much from the striker, even though they are about the same age. It is a real coupe for Leeds and the influence of the prospective owner Cellino is there for all to see, as I cannot believe that both the signings of current England under 21's has been funded by the current owners GFH.
Now on the books we have Ross McCormack, Connor Wickham, Noel Hunt, Matt Smith, Dominic Poleon and indeed El Hadji Diouf. If these mentioned cannot boost our goals for ratio I for one will 'bare my bottom in the club shop window!'. I cannot see a better set of strikers in the Championship on paper, but unfortunately it's played on grass and three of the players mentioned above have failed to really impress this Leeds fan when they've crossed the white line this season. I feel for Poleon as I don't think he has been given a real chance of a prolonged run any striker needs. Myself I see his future as a winger if he can just cut out the 'fancy' stuff and when in a good position lift up his head to see what is around him. He's young so maybe his chance may come in future years.
It is hoped that sooner than later all documents needed will be ratified by the Football League and who knows more may follow these two latest signings. A place in the top six is still a long ask but to be honest if we can at least be there or thereabouts it may not seem such a disappointing season for the faithful. Welcome to Leeds United Mr Connor Wickham, the family await with baited breath your first goals in the colours of our beloved club.
On On On.
By Keith Ingham
It was forty years ago today that after the tremendous run of twenty nine games came to an end at 'The Potteries' home of Stoke City. The 3-2 defeat by them. The result was a surprise as Leeds had marched to the top of the league in a run that contained nineteen wins and ten draws.
The amazing side that Don Revie had carefully hand picked included in goal David Harvey, regular full backs of Paul Reaney and Trevor Cherry. The centre back pairing of Gordon McQueen and Norman Hunter with Roy Ellam and evergreen Paul Madeley filling in whenever they were needed. Frank Gray vied with Cherry for the left back position. On the wings were Peter Lorimer and Eddie Gray with a midfield of Billy (my favourite ever Leeds player) and Johnny Giles completing the midfield. Michael Bates and Terry Yorath deserve a mention as they always gave one hundered percent when injuries meant a place was available. If memory serves me right Nigel Davey was also amongst the squad but used sparingly.
The front two were two of the best strikers in the game at the time, Mick Jones, a workhorse that scored important goals and led the line so impressively. The other part of the duo was Allan Clarke, a player who arrived from Leicester City and with his 'one armed' salute became a favourite in the Theatre of Hope. 'Clarkie' could score the tap ins, occasional one from out of the box but most were in and around the eighteen yard area where his trademark predatory instincts were to earn him a international call ups aplenty with England. Peter Lorimer may be the clubs top scorer but Allan, Allan Clarke had everything you could want in a striker. Joe Jordan was also a mainstay in the side when either Clarke or Jones were unavailable. The toothless striker who came from the Scottish league side St Mirren again if memory serves me correct.
The team won the title that year and is still revered in the memory of most Leeds fans around that era. They are particularly close to my heart as it was this team I saw for the first time at Elland Road.
In a time that is less than memorable it's good to look back on the day that the record was broken all those years ago. By the way I still hate Stoke City!
On On On
By Mark Rasdall
In my last post I queried whether Brian McDermott's tenure at Leeds United was coming to an end. Like many LUFC fans I still really hope that he is the one to galvanise owners, fans and players and re-build our great club that we have been so passionately following for so many years. Brian is still there - perhaps it is because of the takeover not happening yet?
Today, after a ten day break which had given the team chance to 'recover' and with the promise of quick, attacking football on the 'front foot' and with 'lots of crosses into the box' more than three thousand faithful Leeds United fans went to the edge of the Tees with a true goal fest in mind. In the event the team were ponderous, at best pedestrian and always predictable - perhaps it is because of the takeover not happening yet?
Jack Butland was and is a fantastic prospect but, in true Leeds United style, we will let him return to the Midlands because we won't be prepared to pay for a player that Roy might yet take to the World Cup in Brazil in the summer - perhaps it is because of the takeover not happening yet?
Pearce and Murphy played their hearts out. Murphy may not yet be displaying the ingenuity we hoped of him but he tries so hard as does Ross McCormack. The problem is that, starved of any kind of service, McCormack comes so deep that his threat is diminished because of it - perhaps it is because of the takeover not happening yet?
Brian McDermott tells us that the side are now playing in the formation he favours. Surely that does not mean though that he cannot see when it is not working? Noel Hunt is also trying really hard and I absolutely applaud that, but what chance did he have against giant defenders such as Woodgate and Friend (and make no mistake, If there is one Championship fixture Jonathan Woodgate will be up for every season it is this one)? Perhaps it is because of the takeover not happening yet?
Brian may once have seen that our wingers had 'pace to burn' but none of us have yet. Maybe they are still unfit or just frightened to play for Leeds United? Maybe they need more time and good pre-seasons behind them? Or maybe, as with Peltier at Leicester, Reading and Palace and Hull have all bitten Brian's hand off in offloading players that they could see would not be good enough to play for their teams? Or, perhaps it is because of the takeover not happening yet?
Austin was truly woeful today and he is a player who either seems to be on it or absolutely off his game. Why can Brian not see this and make changes? Why does he not see when energy levels have fallen and introduce fresh legs? Smith got eight minutes today and yet made a real impact. OK it was like watching Stoke City play but it was the only period in the match when we really looked like scoring. Maybe we really just don't have the quality players we need or perhaps it is because of the takeover not happening yet?
Brian was impressed with us producing a clean sheet today against a team that have less chance of scoring than a one-legged hooker. Maybe we should watch the clothes in the washing machine go round instead then? At least we'd have more movement and see different shapes at play. Or perhaps it is because of the takeover not happening yet?
You see the takeover I am talking about is not the club takeover that a belligerent and unsupportive Football League may still block. It is the one that Brian and his coaching team should have completed by now. Yes he inherited the pension fund pressure of Neil Warnock but we had no shots on target today (remember Hull and Barnsley away last season?). Yes he had to turn things around to avoid relegation at the end of last season and professed his faith in the amazing aerial ability of Luke Varney who then refused to play for him. Yes, his hands have been tied in terms of who to bring into the club but he has brought players in that he either sticks to like glue or simply lets them slide off of the bench and into obscurity.
Brian has to take over the minds of players and convince them that they are good enough to play for Leeds United because whereas too many were lazy under Warnock too many now look frightened under McDermott: frightened to take players on; to try something different; to actually make penetrating passes; to take risks. Maybe Brian needs someone at the club to convince him that he is really good enough and tactically astute enough to manage a club like Leeds United? It hasn't been easy and we loyal fans may not be easy to live with but football is not about an easy life unless you are Wayne Rooney.
Brown for Austin and Poleon for Kebe might have been wise replacements in the second half today but they never came. We used to hammer Warnock for his lack of technical nous and being behind the times. I still think Brian is on the way up and has much to learn himself. Everyone needs time to do that. I think he should blood younger players in our remaining games now that the Play-Offs are well and truly beyond us and if he really believes in 'taking the handbrake off' then convince the players - not us - that he really means it.
Perhaps it is because of the club takeover not happening yet that it is still too early to judge Brian but I hope we see a lot more evidence of his own tactical and motivational makeover if not takeover before the end of this season.
By Andrew Butterwick
Money seems to have dominated the football headlines this week. First Man City discovered that investing hundreds of millions of pounds into your team doesn't guarantee success at the highest level as Barcalona strolled into town and passed them to death at Eastlands. 24 hours later another of the Premier League's cash rich elite, Arsenal, suffered defeat in the same competition as Bayern Munich unleashed a footballing masterclass at The Emirates as if to emphasise the point. I wonder if the Arsenal board of directors felt uncomfortable as the noisy away support celebrated given that Bayern had subsidised their fans trip by paying 50% of what they saw as extortionate ticket prices? On the subject of ticket prices there were plenty of jaws dropping on Planet Leeds when the details of the Burnley tickets were unveiled......£32 for what is by far the worst and most derelict away stand in the championship even taking into account Yeovil's homely terracing. Finally we got confirmation that football in this country has lost all touch with reality as the Salford Yanks proudly announced they had secured Mr Potato Head's services for another 5 years at the cost of an unbelievable, eye watering £300k a week! Words fail me.
Of course back at Leeds money, or lack of it, continues to eat away at the fabric of our club. The takeover saga rumbles on in the background without any conclusion in sight. Meetings come and go and photos of daughters, sons and lovers in Leeds shirts abound but the club are still in a financial Bermuda triangle of their own making. Intrigue is never far away in LS11 though and news that we had secured England international keeper, Jack Butland, on loan until the end of the season fed the raging rumour mill. Is Kenny's injury worse than we thought or does BM want a keeper that is more commanding on crosses? Or possibly a bit of both?
In between the intrigue and takeover dealings thankfully an oasis of football broke out and as usual the Happy Chocker, Quiet One and yours truly were heading North to the Riverside for the game against the Smoggies. "We usually beat Boro" I suggested optimistically as we hurtled up the A19 to Teeside for the lunchtime kick off. The bright sunshine on Teeside disguised a keen, stiff breeze as we dumped the car near the ground and strode towards the Riverside stadium. Brian McD had rung the changes from our last outing at Brighton. Butland replaced Kenny in goal with Pelts coming in for the injured Byram. Wootton got a rare start in the back four in place of Lees whilst Hunt started alongside Ross Mac up front. Kebe and Stewart were on the flanks for what Brian McD intended as an "all out attacking" performance. The first ten minutes suggested otherwise as Boro, who had failed to score in their last five outings, took control in blustery conditions.
Kamara thundered a header high wide and handsome from an early corner as Leeds had to dig in to repel the Smoggie's enterprising start. For all their early possession our new goalie wasn't called into much action as the game progressed through the half. "I've seen better Sunday League games" HC commented. Nobody disagreed. Ross Mac had a shot blocked in a rare Leeds attack as the televised game stuttered and spluttered but never really sprung into life. Hunt looked to be pushed as he tried to connect with a lovely Stewart cross whilst at the other end Butland saved brilliantly from a fierce Butterfield shot. Half time arrived with the game goalless as most fans headed for the toilet or the bar just for a change of scenery and a warm up. Not sure of what the TV pundits made of the first 45 minutes but the fiercely critical away fans weren't impressed. "Two shite teams" one terrace pundit summed up the first half whilst another thought " what happened to the all out attack?" It's safe to say that most Leeds fans were extremely underwhelmed with the first half performance. Still it could only get better couldn't it?
Leeds kicked off the 2nd half and soon Leeds sniffed at half a chance as Kebe headed tamely wide after good work by Peltier. Minutes later Ross Mac wriggled into some space on the left before dinking a lovely ball onto Hunt's head in the box. Bizarrely Hunt tried to head it back to his captain in some sort of unlikely one two. Groans and moans rung out from the Leeds fans as my hands cradled my head for 76th time in the game. Frustration was the theme for the day. Chances were starting to flow at the other end but Butland was in impressive form as he calmly dealt with whatever Boro could muster along with a neat mis-kick from Warnock.
Odomah and Tomlin came off the Boro bench with around 20 minutes to go to give the home side some impetus as both sides finally realised the game was there for the taking. Danny Graham blazed a good chance over the bar for Boro whilst Ross Mac saw his stinging shot go wide. With just 12 minutes left Odomah was released by a superb Tomlin ball but Butland saved the day with another impressive save. Smith replaced Hunt for a late cameo and caused problems in the Boro defence. Leeds huffed and puffed for the last ten minutes but failed to test Shay Given in the home goal as the game ended a disappointing 0.0.
Overall a poor game that burst into life late on but it was too little too late to impress most fans. Boro's run of games without a goal continued whilst Leeds once again looked disjointed and at times lacking in confidence. Kebe had a frustrating afternoon as he always seemed to pick the wrong ball after beating his man. Ross Mac was marshalled well by Leeds old boy Woodgate and while Hunt works very hard he just doesn't look like he will ever score a goal. Wooton and Pearce looked solid in defence. Butland was head and shoulders above the rest of the team in a very impressive debut. Difficult to see Kenny regaining his place on this form.
A point didn't really suit either team in the end but realistically Leeds look like a team who are fading fast. With trips to QPR and the rampant Burnley to look forward to in the coming weeks it's difficult to see anything other than a rather uninspiring end to a forgettable season. Still there's always the takeover to look forward to?
By Keith Ingham
The arrival of England's Jack Butland got me thinking of the people who have stood between the goalposts since I started watching the Mighty Whites in and out of the Theatre of Hope. Firstly may I apologise to anyone I miss.
The first goalkeeper I must mention is Gary Sprake, a little before my time of actually attending games but definitely worth a mention. I've heard his performance when Leeds won the league at Anfield in 1969 was incredible, as he and the rest of the defence thwarted attack after red attack to help claim the teams first League title. He had his horrors too aka The FA Cup final in 1970, when he seemed to dive over Houseman's incoming shot at Wembley and even had a nickname 'Careless Hands'. He was replaced in the replay by the first keeper I saw live, David Harvey who kept goal for Leeds during the triumphant 70's, long hair and so I'm told a very reserved man but what a keeper, even before I saw him at Elland Road in 1974 I marvelled at his reactions during the 1972 FA Cup Final versus Arsenal. He was a giant in my eyes and probably one of my favourite 'goalie's'. If ever he was injured Dave Stewart, not the rock star but a another quiet man off the field but a good keeper when called upon. He played in Paris in the European Cup final when Harvey was coming to the end of this Leeds career and if memory serves me right was injured for the said showpiece.
The Eighties when Leeds slipped out of Division 1 and into the second tier of English football a young man claimed the number one jersey, his name John Lukic, as with Sprake you could marvel at him one minute and sink to the Elland Road steps the other. Tall and lanky with incredible reflexes. He left to join Arsenal and was part of their title winning side. David Seaman was also within the squad during that time but never cemented a place in the first team and inexplicably became the man to replace Lukic at Arsenal and became a title winner with them and a very talented England goalkeeper to boot. Mervyn Day saw us through the middle eighties, talented if frustrating akin to Lukic. I remember one game in particular versus Barnsley when one of his howlers cost us the game, we lost 2-1 and my annoyance was clear to see as I verbally abused some Bradford City fans on the way home after they had been abusive about the defeat.
Lukic returned in 1990 and was part of the resolute defence that claimed the last League Championship in 1992, he returned a better goalkeeper than the one that left. The next man to follow Day was as been said the greatest keeper ever at Leeds. Nigel Martin kept goal in the late nineties to the season of 2003. Voted by many in the Polls and magazines as number one of all time. He really was brilliant, I've just watched him in some games and the way he marshalled his defence was unbelievable. Not the biggest of keepers but agile and you always felt safe as he bellowed at his defenders in front of him. Still involved with LUST and still loves Leeds. A gentleman on and off the field.
During the noughties (2000 +) another keeper came to the fore, who can forget the heroics of the young eighteen year old who thwarted the mighty Barcelona until the very last minute when Rivaldo beat him via a post. He also had a goal in him, the last minute equaliser versus Swindon sent him and the crowd wild. Good in the air and a great shot stopper, sold on to pay for Ridsdale's dream that became a bloody nightmare. Ex Don Neil Sullivan replaced him and although not mentioned in the same breath as Martyn and Robbo he certainly was a good, efficient keeper although himself and the rest of the team let the fans down in Cardiff when Watford steamrollered Leeds in the Playoff Final in a ignominious defeat. Casper Ankergren joined as his number two but soon got the first teams gloves off Sully, the Denmark shot stopper did enough in his years to claim the plaudits, a member of the victorious Leeds team that beat the scum in that never to be forgotten game at old farmyard in January 2010, he also was there when Leeds claimed Promotion that same season. A very solid keeper is the worthy assessment of the man.
Which brings me nicely to the man currently at the rear of the defence, Paddy Kenny has his critics but he has saved the team on more than one occasion. Leaner this season than when he first came with uncle Colin and who can forget his save in the dying embers of the first game of the 2013/14 season, flinging himself backwards to claw away a certain Brighton goal. His kicking can upset more than a few fans but one of Colin's better acquisitions. The latest hopefully pulling on the number 30 shirt is Jack Butland, he saved Barnsley from a battering just before Christmas. An England international, debut versus Italy and a highly rated goalkeeper by most who follow the game. Loaned to us by that nice Mr Hughes at Stoke City as he finds himself third in line for the Premiership side. It would be a major coup if after his loan stay Brian McDermott could find the funds to buy him. I rate him and he could become England's first choice in the years to come. Welcome aboard Mr Butland.
There you have it not a detailed list but goalkeepers past, present and hopefully future who have stood between the white goalposts of Leeds United.
On On On
By Mark Rasdall
I am not a football manager and, no, I don't pretend to be by playing computer games. Neither do I think anyone should play games with people's minds when they are simply doing their best to play football or manage footballers.
I am a football fan though. I have supported Leeds United for more than forty five years and am loyal to the club despite so many 'ups and downs' over all those years. Two thousand LUFC fans went away to Brighton last night and many of them will also have made the five hundred and fifty mile round trip to Yeovil and back just three days earlier. No other team in the Championship and few in the country can command the level of continuing support that Leeds United do. The Leeds United label has come to mean many things to many people: 'dirty,' 'financially inept' and so on but the most applicable word for what it really means to be a Leeds United fan is loyalty.
Like so many others I have been refreshing various browser screens this morning to see if there any updates on the takeover and, even under GFH, it appears that financial mismanagement or brinkmanship at the very least has accompanied all of the good things the owners have done in terms of reducing or freezing admission prices and great outreach initiatives into the community.
Brian McDermott came in to try and harness fans' loyalty to an absolute requirement for owners, management and players to all pull in the same direction. Don Revie did much the same when he arrived fifty years ago and, yes, I guess each and every Leeds United fan craves for another glorious period of sustained success. Brian is a really nice guy and, has said the right things and I, like so many others, have been a true believer in what he has and is trying to do.
There is an impatience among LUFC fans too though and, although I thought a draw at Brighton last night would have been a really good result, I was disappointed that we simply didn't have enough ideas to compete with a side who are better than us, as were Leicester, Burnley, QPR, Derby, Forest and - in the end - Reading. Those teams also have more quality players than we do, as we all know, and more capable squads to make real promotion challenges.
I am not a football manager. I have seen Pugh do a job for us on occasions but have yet to see Kebe make a real difference - apart from fleetingly against Huddersfield. I do not know why Ariyibi does not get any game time at all when Brian is so keen on wingers. I do worry whether or not Tom Lees is really going to be able to make it at the highest level and whether Murphy is the real deal. Mostly I wonder what would happen if Ross got injured. I am not a football manager and do not have an insight into the ins and outs of financial requirements or injuries or other off-the-field problems.
I have just read the piece by James Brown where he questions whether Brian is the right man for Leeds United after all; there is of course the usual bickering on Facebook groups and other social channels. We are lifelong fans and have the right to ask these questions. I for one have always supported the view that the Bates/Warnock (and maybe also GFH) damage will take longer than one season to clear up. The 'better' clubs than us have had periods of continual growth and improvement and, let's face it, QPR have also benefited from the 'rich man's play thing' kind of investment that puts them in a different league to most of the rest of us to start with.
I do still really hope Brian will turn things around with a board that backs him and his decisions for the long-term. As with the England team though, I do worry about getting older and, with each passing year, not seeing Leeds really and fundamentally progress or get near to a major trophy again. I am still patient and still a believer in Brian but I do have to say that I worry when Leeds United players seem devoid of ideas or the management do not seem to be able to change things tactically. We had this with Simon Grayson in the end and Kevin Blackwell before him.
I don't ever want to attend another play-off game like that one in Cardiff against Watford but I would like to feel that if we got there again we'd know what to do to make the difference.
By Keith Ingham
After a 'windy' win at the weekend, both goals had something to talk about. Firstly Ross McCormack again led the warriors into battle with passion and within a minute of the second half starting, Ross had curled in a fantastic shot past the hapless Yeovil keeper and send the away end into raptures. The second can only be said as a 'freak', Stephen Warnock's punt from forty yards and over everybody and into the net. He can say it was meant to do that but we all know the truth. Maybe after last week fortune actually did smile on the boys in blue shirts.
Most of the weekend has been full of The Mail and others discussing the Cellino deal with GFH in detail and also mentioning the enormous debt the club seems to be amassing after just over twelve months in the care of GFH, even Uncle Ken, allegedly helped out with a few quid (1 million) to pay the players wages in the early part of 2013.
The prospective owner said in the current bun the he was going to be driving a Ferrari instead of a Fiat. He also assured fans on the future of good, honest Brian who seems certain to meet him at the Brighton game.
I really hope that the two can develop a better relationship as the first thing in a long list of 'things to do' at the club. The small dogs down the road has shown there must be a decent relationship between the owner and the manager. Many fans although at first were against the agricultural millionaire, they seem to have generally accepted that the club needs a fresh input of money to keep the wolf from the door. It's as bad as that!.
In other news, On Monday the 'Together Leeds' were said to have offered to match the Italian's bid and further have asked the Football League to interfere and make GFH listen to their offer. With the Cellino deal so far ahead it is doubtful that they will do so and it is hoped that the FL can approve the first deal and the Together Leeds crowd can leave the job of hopefully getting the club back on it's feet to a man that clearly has a few quid in the bank to spend on Leeds.
Wouldn't it be nice after Wednesday to talk about the game on the pitch not the games being played out publicly in the boardroom. We've had enough of that nonsense for a long time.
On On On
By Andrew Butterwick
The clock crept quietly past 5am as the HC, Quiet One, Jusser and yours truly gunned the car southwards for the challenging trek to Yeovil for the latest saga in Leeds United's season. With the farcical events off the pitch overshadowing anything on it since our drubbing of Huddersfield I was just glad to get back to game day without talk of any sackings, unsackings, takeovers, failed takeovers, mysterious new players, fire sales, litigious sponsors, administration, owners, Smiling slimy PR people and who actually owns us? No the big debate on the way down was "would the game be on after all the rain in the South West" Heaven!
When we finally arrived at Yeovil we were met with a very deceptive blue sky and bright sunshine. Maybe we wouldn't get wet on the open terracing after all? Brian McD had kept the same team that demolished Huddersfield for his first game for Leeds in his latest spell in charge. Could he get off to a winning start against a Yeovil side struggling at the foot of the table? Would Ross Mac add to his phenomenal goal scoring tally? Would Kebe continue where he left off last week?
The first indications we got that this wasn't going to be a classic game was when we climbed the terracing behind the goal to watch the pre match warm up. Rain clouds were gathering just in time for kick off and there was an almost gale force wind blowing straight down the pitch giving a wind chill factor in the region of - 15'c. As the game kicked off horizontal rain was blowing into my face feeling just like pneumatic ice picks piercing my exposed skin. The hardy Leeds fans huddled round like a group of Emperor Penguins in a vain attempt to keep out the worst of the weather whilst singing "We're Leeds United we don't need a roof". Meanwhile on the pitch it was obvious that the team playing against the wind had an almost impossible task of clearing the ball. Leeds had that pleasure for the first 45 minutes and they set about their task with gritty determination. Paddy Kenny tried a number of kicking strategies from goal kicks to get the ball up to the half way line but with limited success.
Despite the weather Leeds did make in roads into the Yeovil half during the opening exchanges with Ross Mac firing two shots close to Stech's goal. Yeovil's two giant strikers, Miller and Moore, were relishing the wind assisted balls towards the Leeds goal and were causing concerns for the Leeds centre back pairing of Lees and Pearce. Moore headed wide from a good chance in the box whilst a curling shot went tantalisingly close to Paddy Kenny's goal. Stewart gave his defence some respite as he broke but pulled his shot wide but it was the home side who were looking dangerous with some assistance from Mowatt's wasteful balls in the Leeds midfield. As the half hour mark approached I lost the feeling in my nose and toes as the wind chill factor took it's full toll on the away fans despite the sun shining brightly. Yeovil were building some momentum though and from a swirling corner Miller rose above the Leeds defence and thumped a header past Kenny. 1.0 Yeovil and the Somerset crowd erupted in delight.
Leeds now looked vulnerable. An innocent through ball caused hesitancy in the Leeds back four as the ball held up..............Kenny was late coming for the ball and his lunging clearance ricocheted off the Yeovil forward and inches over the empty goal. Leeds did finally get a decent chance when Byram charged down a clearance leaving Ross Mac clear with just the goalie to beat but his attempted chip fell lamely into the keeper's hands.
The 575 mile round trip began to look as if it would be pointless when Byram dived in on Dawson in the box and the ref pointed straight to the spot with no protests from either the Leeds team or their hordes of fans behind the goals. The giant Miller stepped up to take the kick. After struggling to place the ball on the spot due to the howling wind he then blasted the ball off the bar and over into the delighted Leeds fans. Get in! That was just the bit of luck we needed and we survived the rest of half to go in just the single goal down.
Matt Smith replaced the out of sorts Mowatt at the start of the 2nd half as Leeds changed to a more conventional 4-4-2 formation as they sought to take full advantage of the wind behind their backs. The freezing fans didn't have long to wait before Leeds were level. The first Yeovil goal kick of the half shot straight into the air like a shanked wedge shot and blew back to the edge of the Yeovil box where Ross Mac had taken up a sensible position. He controlled the wayward ball and then curled a stunning shot into the top corner of the net sending the blue faced away fans wild. 1.1 and only a minute of the 2nd half gone. The Yeovil goalie may have been at fault for the goal but he went some way to redeem himself minutes later as Austin finished off a good move with a thunderbolt shot that Stech somehow managed to parry away. Stewart was the next player to test the home keeper as he scampered into box only to fire a lame shot at the keeper with Murphy wide open on the edge of the 6 yard box.
Leeds were now on top with the the wind in their sails. Even Pearce and Lees played a one two in the opposition box as they searched for the all important 2nd goal. Capt Ross had a couple of shots blocked as confidence surged through the team. Byram and Kebe were having plenty of joy down the right flank with Smith prominent in most attacks. On the hour Kebe drew a foul from Dawson 40 yards out on the right flank. Warnock stepped up to curl a vicious ball into the area and with the help of the howling wind straight over Stech into the net. 2.1 Leeds.................."2.1 it's your goalie's fault" would be harsh on the goalie but it didn't stop the song ringing in the poor man's ears as the Leeds fans celebrated.
Apart from an excellent last ditch tackle from Warnock the Leeds goal was never really tested again although a couple of late corners gave yours truly the familiar "oh no not now" moments. Kebe missed a glorious chance after good work by Ross Mac and Stech made another good save from our leading scorer before the end as Leeds ran out 2.1 winners. The Leeds fans streamed away from the ground with smiles on their freezing faces. Two wins in an extraordinary week for the club. Captain Ross won the MOM but Murphy, Austin, Pearce and Lees will all sleep well tonight safe in the knowledge they had had good games.
A gritty performance from Leeds who played the conditions better than their hosts in a game that could never be a classic in the howling wind and driving rain. The long journey home gave me time to thaw out and reflect on a hard fought victory. Brian McD has a 100% record as manager after his opening victory but I still think there is a lot of turbulence on the horizon. Seat belts fastened I'm afraid starting at Brighton on Tuesday. Unfortunately that inconvenient thing called work will prevent me from getting to the Amex for this one so I'm relying on Radio Leeds to bring us news of another 3 points. Come on Adam you can do it!
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