Birmingham City: WLLLW
Team News: Leeds and Birmingham City unchanged.
Leeds went second in the Championship after they beat Birmingham City 1-0 to complete a fantastic few days of Centenary celebrations.
Leeds, as in most games at Elland Road this season took the game to their opponents and nearly every minute there was plenty to keep the highest attendance this season on their feet. As early as the seventh minute they created a chance for Eganni Alioski but the lively full back/winger’s effort was well saved by Lee Camp.
A tremendous rendition of “Gary Speed” echoed round the ground on nine minutes leaving a tear falling from this particular Leeds fan’s eyes, I can guess I wasn’t the only one to do so as we remembered one who was not there to celebrate our special anniversary. There are others who also were absent, Albert, Billy, Don and Paul to mention just a few. We will always remember you boys!
Klich set Bamford away but the striker was a fraction too early with his run and the linesman flagged him off for offside. Alioski was involved in most moves and his shot on twenty two minutes didn’t trouble Camp. Leeds had an excellent chance to open the scoring just before the break, Bamford drove into the area but instead of shooting he set up Costa who’s effort was blocked by a defender. The rebound found Klich, who in turn found Dallas but Camp denied the Irishman with a smart save. 0-0 at the break.
Marcelo Bielsa brought on Eddie Nketiah after the break and the striker was upended just on the edge of the penalty area, it looked a penalty but the referee was having none of the pleas from the crowd and the Leeds players. Alioski’s free kick disappointingly went wide. For Birmingham, Colin had a shot that had Casilla scampering across his goal-line as the ball went just wide.
Nketiah had another opportunity but it didn’t trouble the City keeper, at the other end Ben White thwarted a City player by diving to block a goal bound effort. Leeds brought on Tyler Roberts to try and get the all important first goal. By doing this Leeds had Costa, Nkeitah, Harrison and Roberts as a front four, it left the midfield short of numbers and Birmingham, who had upped their game in the second half plenty of possession.
The winning goal came on sixty five minutes, Harrison took advantage of a Birmingham defensive mistake and ran into the area to slide it into homegrown Kalvin Phillips who slid the ball past Camp. Cometh the hour, cometh the local hero! The ground exploded as the Leeds players and crowd celebrated as one.
Alioski should have doubled the lead with twenty minutes to play but he blasted the ball high into the Kop from six yards. City though didn’t wield and Casilla was forced to punch a Bellingham shot to safety, the Leeds keeper also wandered outside his penalty area as Birmingham tried to salvage a point. Most Leeds fans held their breath but City didn’t take advantage of Casilla’s foray. Douglas came on late as Leeds ran the clock down to claim a very important three points on a very special day.
Man of the Match: Kalvin Philips, maybe it was just in the stars that a local lad got the goal on such a special occasion.
Proud to be Leeds
By Keith Ingham