By Keith Ingham
I usually look forward to the 'pre' Christmas game as much as the first and last ones, mainly because it involves copious amounts of alcohol and a catch up with friends you've not seen in a while.
I set off wrapped warmly due to the cold conditions outside, I was meeting Bob and his son Ryan somewhere in Leeds for a 'couple'. After deliberating subjects all Leeds related we decided it may be best to actually leave the warmth of the 'West Riding' public house in the city centre and venture up to the Theatre of Hope to watch the game. A long line of fans greeted us as we ventured to the bus stop. The game had actually started when we got to the ground and as they went to the South Stand I made my way to my seat in the North East corner. I was full of beer and hope.
Leeds started impressively with right back Sam Byram involved in the attack, his first effort just passing the left hand post. Leeds were unlucky when Mowatt's headed effort hit Fulham's bar then their keeper and rolled agonisingly wide of the goal. We were the better team and with luck would have been a couple of goals up, but lately Lady Luck has deserted the men in white so we went into the break 0-0 and I made my way rather quickly to the toilet!.
This is the part when the day went 'south', passes that found their own players were finding black shirts instead and even though the booing of a ex player was becoming more noisier and more disappointing to me, more to the point it seemed to lift the player which is never a good sign. We were struggling to find any rhythm and it wasn't a surprise when our defence opened up like a virgin on a prom date and Rodallega scored from a cutback, the goal brought a flurry of visits to the toilet as Leeds fans desperately removed beer from their bladders. A sense of 'been here done that' seem to envelop Elland Road.
We tried to get into the game with Billy Sharp getting some game time and his efforts should have been rewarded when he floated over a fantastic cross for Adyran but the young Brazilian fluffed his lines and the ball bounced wide while all around heads were buried into fans hands. What a bloody miss!. Chris Dawson came on but you knew that it was a lost cause and the first defeat since October sent Leeds down to nineteenth in the Championship.
So a day that started with three fans trying their best to put the Leeds world to right ended with a pint in my hand surrounded by ladies out for a Christmas drink in various states of undress. The older I get the hemlines seem to rise with less material used.
It's just a shame a really good day was spoiled by a football game but that's being Leeds and even though I moan I wouldn't change it for the world.
M O T
Merry Christmas all and a very Happy New Year