By Nigel Flanagan
Never mind the takeover, there was a take - off at Elland Road. Just under 24,000 in the ground, including a surprisingly small Wolves contingent, turned on the after burners in the first 20 minutes as the Leeds support roared on the team. Following the one minute applause for those friends and relatives lost over the summer the crowd roared into action. The new players looked up at the crowd in reaction and Warnock nodded his appreciation.
The players were urged into tackle and every move was cheered. No overt adulation of any potential new heroes - though it is clear that Austin is going to be a source of fight in this new team. Becchio’s opening goal after 17 minutes allowed the crowd and the team to relax a little. The expected Wolves response didn’t really come, their players still looking as though they were sulking at being relegated. Leeds pushed on to the half time whistle, wilting a little, as Wolves players avoided each other’s eyes and looked down the tunnel to regroup.
By now the crowd were singing the names of McCormack and Becchio and roared whenever an Austin tackle shook the ground.
Tactically the game was a simple affair. Wolves and Matt Jarvis targeted the new young full back Byram but found him a tough little tackler. They tried to play a high line but left the Leeds midfield plenty of time and space to play the through ball. Leeds were quick and direct, the midfield thrashing around at Wolves players, denying them space and bullying them off the ball. Austin was the Gladiator left in charge of the middle of the pitch, having won it with energy and legitimate violence. The Leeds crowd loved it.
It wasn’t a convincing win but it was well earned. Blackpool will be a much tougher test.
Warnock thanked the crowd. He even waved at the Wolves fans (very, very Leeds that). Diouf has more to give and the team spirit seems to be affecting him. He didn’t leave Byram exposed, he used his ability to keep the ball to help the team out and given a full game and some match fitness he will get more of the ball.
Ken Bates? No one gave him a thought. He needs to get this take over finished and done with. This team stepped up to the plate today. But for me the man of the match award goes to the Leeds crowd. Super Leeds indeed.
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