By Keith Ingham
I set off full of excitement from a sunny Keighley and my hopes high as I travelled with my son, Ryan to witness the start of the 2013/14 season that started at three o'clock at Elland Road, our visitors last season scored a late winner so we were both hoping for a different result today. After a quick 'comfort' break after the few pints drunk earlier, we headed off to see Billy and Don, I have a ritual I rub Billy's knee and ask him from heaven for a little bit of luck.
This has brought a mixed bunch of results but it's a thing I'll always do. We both were interested to see the away top and myself a 'Legend' jacket the players would be wearing as they ran out but I'd gone for the blue version of it trimmed in gold. With time running towards three o'clock we made it in time to see Ben Fry introduce the players. Only surprise to me was Michael Tonge getting a spot in the middle with new boy Luke Murphy. Luke Varney led the line with Hunt and McCormack supporting him. Our anthem sounded up and thirty three plus thousand fans voices echoed around the stadium 'Marching on Together' and it as followed by a rendition of 'He's out of our club, that Chelsea ####### is out of our club! This brought men to nod to each other and women held their young to their breast, it was that special and in two songs he was gone and it felt good.
On the pitch Brighton started well, crisp passing bypassing the Leeds midfield but to their credit Murphy and Tonge kept to the task. A wick ball into the box caught Lees off guard and the Brighton striker Ulloa pounced to leave Kenny and Lees on their backsides, 1-0 to the visitors. This brought Leeds to life and within minutes Tonge's cross into the middle was helped on by Varney to find McCormack and the Leeds striker put it in the right hand corner of the goal with the ex Manu keeper Kuszczak well beaten, 1-1 and with the crowd behind them Leeds tried to get ahead but Brighton forced a smart save from the Leeds keeper. A good first half with both sides passing the round thing to each other, Colin wouldn't have approved with that at all.
The second half Leeds upped the ante as they tried to get behind a well marshalled Brighton defence with Mathew Upson playing an important role. Varney shot wide from a good position and at the other end Paddy Kenny denied the visitors the lead with a fantastic double save. Dominic Poloen was introduced for Hunt, who although tried his best looked a little off the pace, the young striker's introduction prompted Leeds into a flurry of attacking but the final ball just wasn't good enough. Warnock seemed to be struggling so forgotten man Adam Drury replaced him and immediately got involved in the action, throwing himself into challenges.
The match was on a knife edge when Leeds gave Matt Smith his debut replacing the hard working Varney and the tall striker was immediately involved in the action, his presence giving Poloen a chance but the young strikers effort was superbly saved and Green hit the rebound over from a great position. Time was nearly up when that happened and there was still time for Paddy Kenny to produce the save of the day from Buckley, it was an incredible stop. With the four minutes added nearly up Matt Smith flicked on a cross into the box and the newcomer Murphy controlled the bouncing ball and steered it past the prostrate Brighton keeper. The crowd went mental as strangers grabbed those around them in a total moment of happiness. Leeds so many times pegged back late on in games this time had won it.
Credit to Kenny, Green, Murphy, Tonge, McCormack and the substitutes who all made impacts on the game. It's always good to get your first goals, points and a very important home win.
Two very happy Keighley lads returned home, albeit after a few more pints in Leeds. A great start to 2013/14.
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