By Alton Harewood
The hype of the past few days saw no less than three new players enter Leeds United as potential team starters, the big question on everyone’s mind was, “how would Sharp do in his first game?”
A slow start saw summer signing Marco Silvestri holding fort in goal for the first home game as a newly formed Leeds side stretched their limbs and began to get an understanding of how their roles would be working out in an attractive passing strategy reminiscent of days gone by. The mark of “The Hock” started to show mid-way through the first half as the cobwebs cleared and the team settled down.
The fact that Byram, Warnock, Pearce, Austin and Murphy were the only familiar names from last season was not lost on the crowd of over 24,000 which wasn’t as big a turn out as fans hoped, possibly influenced by the fact the game was televised. Sky Sports reported a 40k+ attendance, apparently counting TV viewers? How would this completely re-designed Leeds side handle what would definitely be a test against a fired up Boro?
The first fifteen minutes was nervous with Silvestri, Warnock, Cooper and Austin all being called upon to step up, a job they did well. It was close on half an hour before the new Leeds United ‘White’ Tomasso Bianchi hit a shot on and towards the end of the half put one over the bar. The first half was more about absorbing the pressure from the visitors.
The fitness level was markedly stronger than last season but then the player quality was significantly uplifted too. A team where everyone was fully involved and no one hiding in the shadows was on the field making the Elland Road faithful proud.
A solid second half, interrupted at the 60th minute for a predictable less than warm welcome for Boro’s ex-Leeds recruit Adam Clayton, finally led the goal by the new Leeds sniper Billy Sharp off a rebound from Tonge’s effort . “Billy, Billy Sharp” sounded around Elland Road and you got the feeling that a new star was born, as he ripped off his shirt, took a yellow and storming to the sidelines showed that he is here, and he is Leeds.
Leeds 1 Boro 0 – 3 points – MOT!
Living in Canada I can’t always write-up a game but I enjoyed today! There’s more to come as the transfer window has not closed yet, stay tuned!