Sunday, 30 December 2012

Hull City 2 - 0 Leeds United

Another early start for another early kick off, as I looked out of my window, I saw how 'lovely' the weather was, gale force winds and pouring it down, at this point, normal people would probably get back into bed and stay inside....Not us, we're Leeds aren't we, a bit of rain won't stop us....Now, how many layers can I put on and still be able to zip my jacket up....

The Police escort guided our coach into the car park at the KC Stadium and all of a sudden, a Policeman on a bike gave us a cheeky Leeds salute, we all laughed and saluted back, singing 'town full of Leeds fans'.

Inside the ground, we were all waiting for team news and when it did come through, we found Warnock had dramatically changed the starting 11 from the side that lost against Forest on Boxing Day. Pearce, White and Norris were all back in the squad, and most surprisingly, Somma and McCormack started upfront in favour of Diouf and Becchio.

It was Hull who had the first chance when Robert Koren saw his shot go wide of the goal in the third minute. We could have been in real trouble on the 6th minute however when Jason Pearce looked to drag down Stephen Myler in the area, from where we were stood, it looked like it should have been given, however the ref didn't have a clear view and waved the claims away.

Play was pretty even in the first half an hour of the game, both sides having some decent chances on goal but Hull did look the team most likely to score.

Aiden White tackled Elmohamady shortly after the 30 minute mark and the referee, Eltringham stopped play immediately. Ahmed Elmohamady was rolling around on the floor and the home fans were shouting for White to be sent off. After receiving treatment for a good 3 minutes and limping up and down the sideline, he suddenly came back onto the pitch and collected the ball, no limp, no pain, no injury. White on the other hand had been given a yellow card, Elmohamady should have received an Oscar. From then on, he was the match villain and got some abuse from the away fans.
The incident had livened the atmosphere, but Hull still looked the better side.

Half time came and both sides went in 0 - 0. Improvement was needed, Somma didn't look in the game and we were average at best. The positives were though, that we hadn't conceded.
Neil Warnock made a change at half time, taking off Somma and bringing on Luke Varney....At this point we had absolutely no idea why Luciano Becchio wasn't playing and we were all puzzled as to why Varney had been brought on in favour of him.

51st minute and Hull were running at us with pace and purpose, our defenders were struggling and inevitably, Corry Evans got the first goal of the game.
It was key now to change the squad, maybe bring someone off of the bench and push forward for an equaliser, but the Tigers' second goal came in quick succession.
Robbie Brady took a corner and David Meyler headed past Paddy Kenny on the 55th minute.
This was Forest all over again.

We all looked longingly at the bench for some kind of movement, for someone to come on and turn the game around, there was still plenty of time to play and stranger things have happened than us coming back from 2 - 0 down. Eventually, Warnock did make a change....One that puzzled us all, he brought on Rodolph Austin for David Norris, who, in my opinion had been one of our better players!!

From then on, it was like the whole team had conceded to the fact we'd already lost. We were flat and never looked a threat. Hull however were still pushing and had it not been for some fantastic saves by Paddy Kenny, we'd have been more than 2 - 0 down when the whistle blew for full time.

I haven't walked away from a match so disappointed with a team performance like that in a very long time. No fan likes to see their team defeated, however, we all know it's a part of football, but to witness the way in which we were defeated yesterday, I think that's what has angered a lot of people. The game isn't over until the final whistle, and in my opinion you NEVER give up be the deficit one goal or five goals, but that's just exactly what it looked like we did!!

It turns out Becchio and Diouf weren't 100% fit and Warnock didn't want to risk them, but they should be back for our next game against Bolton at Elland Road on Tuesday. Big improvement needed!!

We didn't end 2012 on a high, results wise but here's to hoping 2013 is a better year for us :o)

All the best to all of my readers & thank you for all your support this year :o)

MOT xx <3 xx

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Nottingham Forest 4 - 2 Leeds United

Boxing Day is usually a day for recovery and long lie ins after all the drama of Christmas Day, not for us though as Leeds United were away at Nottingham Forest. For me it involved getting up at 7am to get ready for the early kick off.

As we arrived at the City Ground, team news began to filter through and we were surprised to hear that Rodolph Austin was back in the starting 11 after being injured since early November.
Warnock made two other changes to the lineup bringing in Michael Brown and Adam Drury to replace Michael Tonge who had returned to Stoke City after his loan spell at Leeds United had come to an end last week and Lee Peltier who was injured.

It had been a great couple of weeks and we were all in good spirits as the game began. Paul Green gave us more of a reason to smile when he scored from close range on the 12th minute of play.

Forest almost found theirselves an equaliser on the 28th minute. Michael Brown fouled Guedioura and Andy Reid took the free kick. Elliott Ward had a shot on target and Paddy Kenny sprung into action to make a fantastic save.

As Forest were pushing for equaliser in the latter end of the first half, there were two very good penalty shouts turned down by referee Lee Probert within minutes of each other. One of them an apparent handball and the other a tug inside the area. The home fans were really getting on the refs back, and I think he began to realise he had made a mistake. We now had to be careful, we had the feeling that even the smallest of challenges made inside the box would be given as a penalty, regardless of wether it was or not.

On the 42nd minute of play a penalty was eventually awarded to Nottingham Forest for a foul on Billy Sharp by Tom Lees. It was soft but we could hardly complain after what had happened earlier.
Billy Sharp stepped up to take the penalty and sent Paddy Kenny the wrong way to make the score one a piece.

The half time whistle blew and both sides headed back to their dressing rooms.

I was disappointed we'd let them score just before half time, I felt they were going to come out all guns blazing, and sure enough they did.

53 minutes in and Billy Sharp scored his second from inside the penalty area and he here began our seven minute demise. On the 56th minute came an own goal scored by Rodolph Austin, Followed by another goal on the 60th minute by Dexter Blackstock.

We had completely caved in and our defending was lacklustre. We had now left ourselves a mountain to climb and it seemed impossible to find a way back into the game.

Neil Warnock changed the team around, bringing on Davide Somma for El-Hadji Diouf. Minutes later Warnock changed the side again, taking Rodolph Austin off for Jason Pearce.

Nottingham were having all of the possession and chances, We were dispossessed of the ball whenever we managed to get it, which wasn't very often.

Striker Ross McCormack replaced Sam Byram on the 78th minute as Warnock tried everything to reduce the 3 goal deficit.

Some good work by Ross McCormack on the 89th minute saw him pass to Somma who scored what was only to be a consolation goal from inside the area. However, if he'd have put away the chance he had on the 91st minute, it might have been an interesting end to the game, but it wasn't to be and the game was brought to a close by Probert.

A disappointing result and a disappointing game by all accounts with very little positives to take out of the loss, happy for Davide though, to see him back scoring is brilliant and inspiring after he's struggled for so long to get back to full fitness.

We must learn from this loss and not dwell on it especially at this time of year when the schedule is as busy as it is.

The most potentially worrying thing for me at the moment though is Warnock trying to tie down Tonge, Thomas and Tate to permanent contracts with the club. They have been distinctly average and should we be looking at climbing the table and getting into the Play Offs, I think we need to look again. Save the money we'd spend signing them up and spend it on better players.

We lack pace, someone who can break from midfield and get the ball into the strikers or fast winger to tear teams apart. A creative and a defensive midfielder for me is important.
We very much need to strengthen defence too, some of the defending was absolutely terrible and wouldn't have stopped a League Two side scoring goals let alone a Championship side.

Like I said, plenty to build on. We need to pick ourselves up for another away game on Saturday at the KC Stadium. Hull are currently sitting 2nd at the top of the table. It'll be a very tough game, here's to hoping we can get 3 points.

MOT xx <3 xx

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Leeds United 2 - 1 Middlesborough

First of all, I'd like to apologise for the lack of updates this week, Christmas is a crazy time of year, so I really didn't have time to do a Match Report for Chelsea, sorry, but obviously by now you will know, we lost 1 - 5. There were positives to take out of it though, seeing a full Elland Road was wonderful, the atmosphere was fantastic, Becchio's goal was brilliant and we played some really good football in the first half, just a shame that Chelsea woke up in the 2nd half and were far too strong for us.

It's been a pretty amazing week though besides the score on Wednesday night, Friday being the best day Leeds United have had in a very long time. I talk, of course, of the confirmation that GFH Capital now own 100% of Leeds City Holdings (and therefore Leeds United Football Club) with David Haigh, Salem Patel and Hisham Alrayes, all board directors.

We have all waited for so long for this and when Friday finally came, and the press conference began, I was like a 10 year old in Disney Land!! David Haigh and Salem Patel were sat with Shaun Harvey, thankfully Ken Bates wasn't there, I say thankfully as I know he would have made it all about him, this was David and Salem's day, and I wanted to hear from them. Listening to what they had to say was like a breath of fresh air, in regards to the January Transfer Window, Salem Patel said "What we want to say is that we're not going to be spending crazy money like some owners have. We want to make the investment sustainable and make the club successful. Simple as that." As I looked through Twitter, I saw people panicking at this, and urged them all to calm down and think rationally. We do not need to spend silly money, look what happened the last time we spent beyond our means. That is exactly how clubs get in to bother.
My favourite part of the whole Conference though was when David Haigh said that he'd bought "The most fantastic football club in the world" That is definitely what I wanted to hear :o)

So, Friday was an excellent start to Christmas, and we all hoped the positivity surrounding the club would continue as we played Middlesborough on Saturday.

Persistent rain was wreaking havoc throughout the UK and football matches all over were being called off due to waterlogged pitches, thankfully though, ours went ahead thanks to the fantastic ground staff working hard at Elland Road, as ever!!

This was always going to be one hell of a tough match for us, 'Boro were in the mix at the very top of the Championship Table, but, as we have proved in the last few weeks, beating Palace and Leicester, nothing is impossible.

Middlesborough looked pumped, and came close to opening the scoring on the 1st minute, Lukas Jutkiewicz's shot went just wide. It was clear to see that we might struggle to cope with this very organised side, even from as early as the first five minutes.

It took until the 20th minute for us to even get our first chance away, Sam Byram seeing his effort saved by Steele.

On the 28th minute came a goal for the away side, Paddy Kenny initially saving attempt on goal, however, the only person to collect the loose ball was Lukas Jutkiewicz and this time, Kenny couldn't stop it from going in.

Byram responded and blazed the ball wide of the mark two minutes later to try and equalise from outside the box.

Though we still weren't playing the best football in the world, we were getting in better attacking positions than we had done earlier in the game and on the 31st minute Jerome Thomas countered a Middlesborough attack and ran all the way upfield, Thomas decided to try and score himself but his shot was painfully wide, If he'd have looked up and passed across goal to Diouf who was waiting in the box, unmarked we would have almost certainly scored.

44 minutes in and Byram sent a cross into the box that was cleared by 'Boro, however, Jerome Thomas headed the ball down and Becchio, on the edge of the box, turned to score a fantastic goal, Steele had absolutely no chance. Elland Road praised the Argentine who is in fantastic form at the moment and as half time came, we knew there was so much more work to do if we were to keep Middlesborough out in the Second Half.

Aiden White came on for Paul Green as the Second Half began, we later found out, this was because Green was ill, he battled through the first half but had to come off. (Hope he feels better soon!!)

Jason Steele was forced to make a save on the 46th minute as substitute, White, attempted to put us in front. In the same minute however, 'Boro responded and Jutkiewicz smashed the side netting, the away fans began to celebrate but quickly realised he'd not actually scored.

After a good 10 minute spell from us 'Boro looked to be getting back into the game, Alan Tate made a clearance from a corner taken by Josh McEachran. Two minutes later, Lee Peltier got in the way of a shot from Marvin Emnes. Leadbitter took the corner and Kenny got up to make a comfortable save.

It looked like, if Middlesborough were going to score in this second half, it was going to be from a set piece or from their crosses, they seemed more organised than we were in these areas and that was where we were struggling.

Jerome Thomas was taken off in the 69th minute and replaced by Davide Somma, who has been out of the game, injured since May 2011. Both got a standing ovation from the Elland Road crowd.

On the 74th minute Tonge passed the ball to Diouf who sent it into the box for Becchio who got up and headed the ball goalwards, Steele just managed to tip it over the bar and it was out for a corner. El-Hadji Diouf took the corner and Becchio, again, got up highest to head the ball straight past Steele. The Elland Road crowd leapt to their feet once again and Becchio did his signature celebration and kissed the badge in front of the Kop.

Middlesborough were now pushing for a goal, ex Leeds man, Jonathan Woodgate headed just left of the target shortly after. Warnock made the decision to swap Lee Peltier for Jason Pearce on the 78th minute, to try and keep the visitors out.

Emmanuel Ladesma shot on target in the 83rd minute, the ball bounced on the slippery surface, right in front of Paddy Kenny and he, thankfully, managed to save it with his face!!

Four minutes of time were added to the game, at this point, we had to throw the pots and pans in and defend like mad as they were hitting us with all they had. We managed to hold on though and got another important 3 points to end a fantastic week.

Next match is on Boxing Day against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground, hoping for another good performance and 3 points :o)

I would just like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas, hope you all have a fantastic time, eat, drink and Leeds, Leeds, Leeds :o)

MOT xx <3 xx

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Leeds United 2 - 0 Ipswich Town

Derby was a game we all were in a hurry to move on from and we hoped we could regain some form against Ipswich Town. Since boyhood Leeds fan, Mick McCarthy took the reigns at Portman Road, Ipswich have been on a bit of a roll, only losing one of their last 6.

Our starting eleven included Thomas who had recovered from a hamstring injury and Diouf, who earlier in the week, signed a new 18 month contract with us. Ross McCormack was dropped to the bench after a somewhat poor game against Derby last weekend.

Our first opportunity to open the scoring came on the 6th minute when Diouf had a shot on target saved by Henderson. Diouf takes the corner, Tom Lees gets his head on the ball but it clears the crossbar. We came close three minutes later when Henderson failed to deal with a cross into the box from Diouf and under pressure, fumbled the ball. Luckily though, he did manage to dive on it before any Leeds man could get to it.

Ipswich left back, Aaron Cresswell had an opportunity to score on the 10th minute but his shot never troubled Paddy Kenny as it rose well over the crossbar.

Diouf took a corner on the 18th minute of play and Tom Lees beat the Ipswich defenders to head the ball goalwards, Jerome Thomas was in a perfect position to backheel the ball beyond the reach of Henderson and make it 1 - 0.

Shortly after the goal, Arron Cresswell cleared David Norris' header off the line after some good build up play by Thomas and a great cross into the box from Tonge.

A fantastic ball from Sam Byram on the 40th minute upfield for Luciano Becchio who was waiting in the box, unmarked. Becchio headed the ball and it looked for all the world it was going to be 2 - 0, however, Becchio, un-characteristically headed it well over the crossbar from close range, que 99% of Leeds Fans, including Luciano, with their head in their hands.

Two minutes before half time, Paddy Kenny made a fantastic save to stop Carlos Edwards equalising for the Tractor Boys.

The referee, Langford blew for half time and we went in a goal to the good.

Ipswich were beginning to come into the game late in the first half as we looked to be getting a little bit complacent especially in midfield.

We opened the second half strongly. A Luciano Becchio header was saved by Henderson on the 46th minute, followed by a chance from Diouf a minute later but it was too high. Henderson came to the visitors rescue again saving a cross into the box from Diouf just before the 50 minute mark.

The game then became really quite flat and Ipswich were having the majority of possession, Mick McCarthy brought on Michael Chopra for DJ Campbell on the 62nd minute to beef up their attacks.

There were no clear cut chances for either side until the 67th minute when Jerome Thomas passed to a completely unmarked Paul Green who smashed the ball past Ipswich keeper, Henderson who had absolutely no chance. Green celebrated his goal in front of the jubilant Kop, we all hoped it might inject a bit of life back into our game.

McCarthy responded to the goal by bringing on Jay Emmanuel-Thomas for Daryl Murphy.

Ipswich were trying to find a way to come into the game and on the 79th minute, Lee Martin and Jay-Emmanuel Thomas' respective shots were both saved fantastically by Paddy Kenny.

Neil Warnock changed the team on the 81st minute and brought on Ross McCormack in place of El-Hadji Diouf, almost immediately, Ipswich launched a full scale attack and a fantastic punt upfield met Lee Martin who Alan Tate failed to deal with, Martin passed the ball to Chopra who smashed a shot straight at Paddy Kenny, Kenny managed to save the shot with his legs to keep the score 2 - 0.

Jerome Thomas left the field on the 84th minute for Michael Brown.

McCormack's corner in the closing minutes of regular time, was cleared from danger by N'Daw.

Warnock the last of his substitutions on the 90th minute, taking Luciano Becchio off for Luke Varney.

The Referee blew for full-time and the three points where ours, Not only three points but a clean sheet as well!!

David Haigh & Salem Patel were in attendance to witness the victory, David had tweeted before he made the journey that he had packed his lucky scarf, it seems to have done the job, lets hope he doesn't forget it in the coming games :o)

Though all eyes will be on our midweek game against Chelsea on Wednesday in the Capital One Cup Quarter-Finals, our next league game will be at home against Middlesborough next Saturday.

MOT xx <3 xx

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Derby County 3 - 1 Leeds United

There's one thing you can always be certain of as a Leeds fan, no two games are ever the same and as we boarded the coach bound for Pride Park, none of us could call what the score was going to be, even though we were going on the back of three great wins in three.

Team news began to filter through as we pulled up at the ground and we heard that loan signing, Jerome Thomas wasn't included in the squad due to a hamstring injury. Immediately I was concerned, mainly because he has had a big impact since he signed. The reason we've been playing some good football is because we've had pace on the wings with Byram and Green on one, and Thomas on the other, we've been able to get the ball forward and score goals.
Hall stepped up to take Thomas' place in the otherwise unchanged starting 11.

Inside the ground, pre-match, Derby were playing what was a frankly embarrassing build up video, it wasn't quite on par with the embarrassing one at the KC Stadium, but it was almost there. Then....A siren sounded....Was it the fire alarm maybe?! An emergency announcement!? No, It was Derby's 2 minute warning that the players were in the tunnel, que more embarrassing music and 'Rammy' the team mascot dancing in front of the home fans, met with chants of, 'what the f*cking hell is that' from us.
Thankfully the teams entered the field and the pre-match tackiness was over, that was until, we all heard the sound of a team that cant make their own atmosphere began, yes, that's right, they had a drum.

We didn't begin the match brightly at all and the first real opportunity for us came in the 4th minute of play when Luciano Becchio chased a ball downfield, the Derby keeper, Legzdins was also going for the ball and got there just before Becchio could, from where we were, it looked like he may have handled it just outside the area, however it wasn't given and play continued.

Derby's first goal came from a well taken free kick after Tonge fouled Theo Robinson. Derby youngster Will Hugues passed the ball in acres of space to Conor Sammon who was being marked by Lee Peltier. Peltier lost his man entirely and Sammon slotted the ball past Paddy Kenny with far too much ease on the 16th minute. I don't know what annoyed me more, the way we conceded or the goal music. Either way, I wasn't happy.

Derby were playing a fast style of football that we were so far struggling to deal with, they knew exactly how to break us down. Our midfield wasn't dealing with their quick pass and go style of football and every time we had possession, Derby closed us down with ease.

Despite all this, we did manage to equalise just before half time. Ryan Hall sent a great ball into the box, Becchio headed to Paul Green who was in a good position to put it past Legzdins. We were still in the game as the referee blew for half time.

We came out firing in the opening minutes of the second half, Ross McCormack had a shot on target saved in the first 15 seconds.

Theo Robinson reacted well and cleared a shot of Ryan Hall's off of the line, that would have otherwise seen us go into the lead on the 52nd minute after some great build up play.

Derby looked shell shocked but soon re-organised their team and changed their tactics from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-2-1 with Sammon playing as the lone striker.

On the 66th minute, came a corner from the home side, after Tom Lees headed a Theo Robinson shot over the bar. Jacobs crossed the ball into the box after the corner and Becchio cleared it away from the goal, however a completely unmarked Richard Keogh retrieved the ball and shot at goal, Jake Buxton got the final touch and put the ball past Kenny to go into the lead. Almost immediately, Neil Warnock brought on Luke Varney in place of Ryan Hall.

Warnock changed the side again on the 74th minute, bringing on El-Hadji Diouf for McCormack, who, by his standards, had been pretty inaffective. Diouf had an almost immediate positive effect on our game and we almost equalised on the 77th minute when Diouf crossed the ball into the area where Tom Lees headed goalwards, agony though, as it smashed against the post and Derby cleared the ball away from danger.

We made our last substitution on the 79th minute and Norris was taken off for Aiden White. Becchio brought a long ball down from Peltier to Diouf shortly after, who tried his luck on goal from outside the area but it was just off target.

Our efforts to equalise were in vain however, as in the last minute of injury time Ben Davies scored a goal from just outside the penalty area.

The referee blew for full time and our first loss in three was confirmed.

Ipswich next up at Elland Road, who seem to be on a bit of a run of late under new manager Mick McCarthy following the sacking of Paul Jewell.

MOT xx <3 xx

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Huddersfield Town 2 - 4 Leeds United

After a fantastic couple of games against Crystal Palace and Leicester, a short journey across the M62 to Huddersfield was next on the agenda for the Whites.

Not long after we found our seats, the boys pen began to sing the song we all know and love 'we all hate Leeds scum'....It was a bit early for them to be chirping up actually, their mummy's must have given them an extra Weetabix before they left the house. Their song was met with mostly cheers and laughter until we decided to join in with their little song, the look on their faces was priceless.

Obviously, Simon Grayson, Adam Clayton and Jermaine Beckford were now a part of Huddersfield Town and there are plenty of great memories but there was no time to be sentimental, that was, until we all found out Jermaine wasn't playing....Songs of his great goal scored at Old Trafford in the FA Cup rang around The John Smiths stadium. He waved to the 4,000+ travelling Leeds Fans.

Warnock made the decision to start Ross McCormack up front with Becchio, in favour of Diouf.

The first 10 minutes weren't the best for us, Huddersfield had come out of the tunnel firing on all cylinders and we felt a goal for the home side was only a matter of time.
The opener came on the 12th minute of play after some slack defending let Danny Ward pass from the outside of the box, into Chris Atkinson who was given the space to hit the ball past Paddy Kenny to make it 1 - 0.

Huddersfield controlled the game for the majority of the first half, but just before the half hour mark, we began to come into it, and play football.

The first goal came for us on the 35th minute when Becchio knocked down a cross from Paul Green, Jerome Thomas passed it to a waiting Michael Tonge who shot straight at Huddersfield keeper Smithies, the ball went under Smithies and into the back of the net. 1 - 1.

Our second goal came two minutes later when McCormack latched on to a fantastic ball from Tonge. Ross passed it to Becchio who was waiting, unmarked on the edge of the area, Luciano smashed the ball past Smithies to make the score 1 - 2. Que "It's all gone quiet over there".

Our celebrations didn't last long however, as Mike Dean spotted an infringement by Luciano Becchio on Anthony Gerrard in the area. Dean gave Luciano a yellow card and Adam Clayton stepped up to take the subsequent penalty. Clayton sent Kenny the wrong way and the home side were level once again.
Clayton chose to celebrate his goal in front of old boss, Warnock.

The first half had been somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster, we'd played well, but not as well as we can play and it was still anyone's game.

We came out in the second half, a different, more inspired team, like the fire in the pit of their stomach's had well and truly been lit. We had the pick of the chances and were keeping the Terriers quiet.

Ryan Hall was brought on in the 63rd minute for Jerome Thomas, which turned out to be a brilliant call by Warnock.
The substitute was involved in Leeds' third goal on the 70th minute when he passed the ball inside the area, to David Norris who finished from 12 yards out.

5 minutes from time and the 3 points looked almost certainly ours when Ryan Hall sent a fantastic ball into the box, Becchio, who was being marked by two Huddersfield men, beat them both to head home his second of the day.

Soon after, Warnock, who celebrated his 64th Birthday yesterday, took Becchio and Tonge off for Andy Gray and Michael Brown.

Brown almost scored a 5th in added time but his shot just glanced the crossbar.

The final whistle blew and it was game over, we'd beaten Huddersfield Town for the first time in 5 years in what was a wonderful team performance.

It's hard to single anyone out for man of the match, as there were a lot of candidates!!

McCormack looked like he'd never been injured, him and Becchio played brilliant together. I can only assume Warnock was going to bring Diouf on, late in the second half to hold the ball up and put some beefy tackles in, if the game had've been closer that is.

I love the way we never stopped looking for a goal, even when we were 4 up, we were still seeking a 5th.

Plaudits have to go to Ryan Hall who came on for Jerome Thomas, he set up both second half goals perfectly.

Green had a great game again, as did Byram, Tonge, Norris, Lees, Tate, Kenny....Ha ha!! Everyone!! The only criticism I would have is of Peltier, he backs away from attackers too much rather than just getting a tackle in!!

I have to mention, what did Clayton think he was going to get after celebrating scoring the penalty like he did?! A bunch of flowers delivered to his door by Interflora, courtesy of Leeds fans maybe?! Just what exactly, was he trying to prove, to a manager boasting 7 promotions on his CV?! Still, I bet he feels a bit silly now, eh?! Warnock was asked about the celebration and was quoted saying 'I did my celebrating after we won'. So did we Neil, so did we.

On the road again next week to Pride Park to play Derby County, another tough game, hoping for another 3 points.

MOT xx <3 xx

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Leeds United 1 - 0 Leicester City

I don't think I have to mention how us Leeds United fans loathe Tuesday's. The last time we won a League game on a Tuesday was a year ago on the 29th November which was away at the County Ground 3 days after the death of Leeds Legend, Gary Speed.

It was exactly a year to the day that the Footballing world lost a great in Gary Speed and our tough run of games continued, Leicester City the visitors to Elland Road.

Warnock announced an unchanged side to the one that defeated Crystal Palace at the weekend.
Both sides came out of the tunnel and faced each other on the centre circle to pay tribute to Speed with a minute's applause.

In the first minute Jerome Thomas broke down the wing and the Leicester defense were forced to make a clearance, resulting in a corner.  Diouf took the corner, Danny Drinkwater cleared the ball away from any danger.

Sam Bryam ran at the visitors moments later, but was brought down in the area by Jeff Schlupp. The referee, Mick Russell had no doubts in his mind and gave the penalty.
Luciano Becchio took to the spot, facing old team mate, Kasper Schmichel.
Becchio sent Schmichel the wrong way to make the score 1 - 0 early on.

A corner was taken on the 4th minute by Andy King, Sam Byram was in a great position within the box to clear it.

On the 11th minute, the Elland Road scoreboard changed to a picture of the Billy Bremner statue with number 11 in the sky. We all began to sing his name for 11 minutes, as we had done almost a year previously.

After a bright opening 10 minutes, the game began to settle down as both sides exchanged possession, with no real end product from either outfit.

On the 25th minute though, Tom Lees headed just wide of the goal after a corner came in from Diouf. A minute later, Luciano Becchio crossed a fantastic ball in to Green. Green had a ferocious shot and Schmeichel pulled off a superb reflex save to tip it over the bar.

Martyn Waghorn found himself with plenty of space to shoot from 20 yards out, in front of the Kop on the 33rd minute. His effort on goal was poor however and Paddy Kenny scooped the ball up with ease.

El-Hadji Diouf was one on one with a Foxes defender on the 38th minute and had a perfect opportunity to shoot, he went down in the box however, and seemed to be in disbelief when no penalty was given.

The last significant chance of the first half came on the 43rd minute for the visitors.
Jamie Vardy shot wide of the target from just inside the area.

So, half time came and we were all really pleased with the way we playing, people were commenting on how much we looked like a different side, and we did, so far, we were playing football and we had pace in Thomas and Byram, we had confidence, but we still had to be cautious coming out in the second half. The next 45 minutes were crucial as to just what kind of a Tuesday night this was going to be.

Leicester started the 2nd half much stronger than we had.

On the 50th minute, Ritchie De Laet was booked for a foul on Jerome Thomas.

Kasper Schmeichel was subject to abuse from the Kop throughout the second half, thanks to him being cocky with them when the ball went out of play. No-one was giving him the ball back, he got bored of waiting and walked away in a little huff, the Leeds fan that had the ball, then threw it onto the pitch and it hit him. He had a bit of a strop and took the goal kick. He didn't find it funny....But we did.

Leicester made two changes, bringing Futacs on for Jamie Vardy and Knockaert for Ben Marshall.

We were inviting pressure and slacking off a bit too much for my liking. Martyn Waghorn shot from, close range but it cleared the crossbar.

Knockaert tried to even the score with a long range effort which Paddy Kenny saved. The corner was taken by Waghorn, Becchio cleared it away.

Jerome Thomas was replaced on the 61st minute with Michael Brown.

A perfect pass from Luciano Becchio to Brown who was just on the edge of the penalty area four minutes later and it looked for all the world Brown was going to make it 2 - 0, the shot ended up just wide however and we were all hoping, it wasn't going to come back to haunt us.

Leicester were coming back into the game and an equaliser seemed around the corner, 70 minutes played and I think we were all hoping these 20 mins would fly and we could hold them out.

Sam Byram made what might have been a crucial error, albeit one of his first of the night, when he lost his man, Futacs' effort glances the goal and goes wide, thankfully!!

Luciano Becchio picks up the ball outside the penalty area and ends up one on one with the keeper, unbeknown to him the linesman had flagged him offside, he did put it past Schmeichel but obviously, the goal wasn't given.

4 minutes of injury time was added on and it was always going to be nervy with only a one goal cushion.

We held out though and the ref blew his whistle to end the game. WE WON ON A TUESDAY NIGHT!!!!

Man of the match has got to be Norris for me, he worked tirelessly throughout the whole game, having looked after the ball extremely well all night, which enabled him to carve out several changes for Becchio & Diouf as well as our wide players.

Jerome Thomas has changed our style of play for the better since joining last week on loan from West Brom. His pace and his ability to cut through a team's midfield has allowed us to play football again, rather than  the god awful long ball we all hated.

Forward play is more positive and Becchio seemed confident and had a brilliant game. It was nice to not only see him hunting for goals in open play, but to hold the ball up and also put in a few good crosses too.

Tom Lees had a great game too and has been aided by some much needed confidence with the arrival of on loan defender Alan Tate, who looks like he has been playing at Elland Road for years.

It is odd to feel this positive on a Wednesday, but nice ha ha.

Another tough game at the weekend, away to Huddersfield....Should be interesting!! Hope we manage to take the confidence we have gained into that game and lets hope for another 3 points.

MOT xx <3 xx

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Leeds United Remember Gary Speed - One Year On

It's so hard to believe that a year has gone by since a man that was so close to our hearts here at Leeds United, Gary Speed, passed away.

Gary played in 312 games, scoring 57 goals before his move to Everton in 1996. He was part of what I consider to be, Leeds United's strongest midfield in modern times; Strachan, McAllister, Batty & Speed.
In his Leeds United career, he won a Second Division title medal in 1990 to secure Leeds' return to the top flight of English Football. He was also involved in the side that won the Football League First Division Championship in 1992.

The news hit everyone hard, the footballing world united in grief and paid their respects to Gary in their own way accross the country.

Leeds United fans have an amazing ability to pull together as one when tragedies strike, and within hours, flowers, shirts, scarves and notes of condolence, amongst other things were placed on the Billy Bremner Statue, outside Elland Road. It really was a sight to behold and brought a tear to even the most hardened Leeds fan's eyes.

We had a mid-week match, away at Nottingham Forest two days after we'd heard the news, already plans were in place to pay our respects. We decided to sing Gary's name for 11 minutes, on the 11th minute of play - Which we did. The second we stopped singing, Robert Snodrass scored....This has to be one of the most memorable goals of my life, the look on our faces, some people had tears in their eyes, we were all in disbelif. One of those moments where the hair still stands up on the back of your neck every time you think about it.

That Saturday, we had Millwall at home, I don't think I'm alone when I say, I was worried about how they would be. This was the first home match since his death and we were still all greiving, from what I saw though, they were mostly well behaved.
A video played on the big screen just prior to kick off, with all of the highlights of Gary's Leeds United career put to music, which was, Stop Crying Your Heart Out - Oasis. It was was such a touching and fitting tribute to him and was met with a massive round of applause, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

No-one had a bad word to say about Gary Speed, he had a lot of friends and I think I speak for everyone today when I say, my thoughts are with his friends and family at this time and we will always remember you, Gary Speed, RIP.

MOT xx <3 xx

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Leeds United 2 - 1 Crystal Palace

What a week this has been for Leeds United.

First of all, on Wednesday, the news we have all been waiting for, for months on end, was that GFH Capital signed the deal for the acquisition of Leeds United.
When news came through that Ken Bates was going to be giving us a 'takeover update' on Yorkshire Radio at half 10, I thought the worst. I couldn't listen as I was at work, so I was constantly checking Twitter and I was really downbeat, I felt sick. I was expecting more of Bates' excuses and to pretty much tell us that it had collapsed. Then, news began to filter through, it'd finally happened, TOMA was over!! I didn't quite know what to do with myself, there was little to no chance I could concentrate at work!! I went for a celebratory pint at lunch though and finished off the day with a whole bottle of Champagne, if only every Wednesday could be just as exciting ;o)

As Thursday came, all our eyes were cast on the Loan Window, that closed at 5pm....Would we be getting anyone in?! Twitter was rife with rumors, Matt Kilgallon, Camerone Jerome, Clint Hill were just a few of many names being 'linked' to joining the club on a temporary basis.
Finally, late in the afternoon, Alan Tate was named as the first loanee. Tate, 30, whose parent club is Swansea, is a much needed defender, a good first signing to strengthen our back line.
Jerome Thomas from West Brom, was next to be linked with joining us. The rumors got stronger, and with just over an hour before the window closed, it was confirmed.
Thomas was a signing I was very excited about, he has everything we've lacked of late attacking wise!!

The news coming out of the club was all positive but we knew we had a massive game at the weekend, the league leaders, Crystal Palace, who hadn't lost a game in 14.

I don't know what I was expecting, I knew it wouldn't be a full house at Elland Road, but as we got there at 2pm, it was still really quiet. As we got in the ground though, the smiles on everyone's faces was priceless, it was like we'd all forgotten about the Millwall game, and the fact that we hadn't won in 3. This was a new start, the new beginning we've all been wanting.

The two new signings were in Warnock's starting 11, allowing us to go 4-4-2, Diouf and Becchio upfront.

The opening minutes were very positive for us, we had two good chances of scoring in the opening three minutes.

Thomas showed us what he was capable of on the 4th minute when he took the ball past Palace's midfield and sent a brilliant cross into the box.

Some great play by Sam Byram on the 7th minute, saw him get into a great position to cross the ball into a waiting Becchio, who jumped up to head the ball, Speroni had it covered though and saved.

We were playing with purpose, something we'd not seen for a very long time.

It took the Eagles 11 minutes to get a shot on target, Joel Ward, trying to open the scoring but Paddy Kenny saved.

David Norris was next to try and put one past the league leaders on the 13th minute, Speroni pushed the ball away however and it went out for a corner.

15 minutes into the game, Jerome Thomas was playing brilliantly and he found himself with enough space to shoot from just outside the area but it was too much and went just wide.

The referee, Coote, awarded Palace with a corner on the 17th minute, which, from where I was standing, wasn't a corner at all. Owen Garvan took the corner and Becchio cleared it away.

A minute later though, and Garvan was there again, Paddy Kenny saving his chance on goal.

Alan Tate was fouled by Glenn Murray on the 24th minute, Coote gave a free kick to us but Murray wasn't happy. He stormed over to the linesman and was having a good old go at him for quite some time. The ref got involved but there was no yellow card for dissent....

Palace were piling on the pressure on the 30th minute and Kenny had to be vigilant as Jonathan Parr had a shot on target which Paddy saved and seconds later he saved the follow up from Murray.

Becchio tried his luck with a long range shot on the 42nd minute but it never posed a threat to Speroni as it went wide.

Half time came and both sides went in goalless but so far, it had been a massive improvement on previous games.
We were still a bit weak in midfield and lacking something of a creative midfielder but it was a solid 1st half performance.
I hoped we'd come out with the same pace and intensity we had in the first 20 minutes of the game but we still had to stop their counter attacks.

On the 48th minute, Becchio was clearly fouled, but there was no advantage given by Coote....Again....

The opener came on the 51st minute though as Luciano Becchio managed to smash the ball past Speroni from short range. This was a brilliant moment not only for us, but for him after being centre of criticism for a long time and also a great moment for the new owners who jumped up in delight. Luciano gave the Kop a cheeky little Leeds Salute before play began again, now, we had to keep the hard work up, as we knew Crystal Palace were going to push forward to try and get the equaliser.

Jonathan Parr had an effort on goal for the visitors from just outside the box on the 53rd minute but it missed the target.

A fantastic save from Paddy Kenny after Yannick Bolasie shot on goal on the 55th minute. Bolasie took the corner from but any danger was cleared by Becchio.

We were pushing for a second goal and Tonge was the next to get a shot away, on the 65th minute but his effort was wide.

The ball fell to David Norris on the inside of the box on the 73rd minute but it was well over the crossbar.

Jerome Thomas was replaced after 75 minutes by Dominic Poleon, who early on in the week had his loan spell at Bury extended, only to be called back the following day!!

Paul Green found himself with a lot of space, just on the edge of the penalty area and hit the ball past Speroni to make the score 2 - 0 on the 76th minute

Neil Warnock decided to change the game on the 82nd minute of the game, bringing on Ross McCormack for El-Hadji Diouf.

Jermaine Easter missed wide of the goal with a headed effort on the 83rd minute.

Palace were pushing to try and get a goal on the board, and with 5 minutes left, they were gifted a goal. Dom Poleon lost his man, Dikgacoi in a 1 on 1 defensive battle, he then crossed a ball into the box and Ramage who was unmarked was able to head the ball past Kenny, giving the visitors hope of salvaging a point from the game. This was going to be a nervous end to the game.

Glenn Murray was eventually shown a yellow card by Coote after a foul on Ross McCormack.

McCormack saw his long range effort go well over the bar on the 87th minute.

5 minutes of time was added to the game and we knew we had to put every ounce of energy we had left into defending this lead, but, never the ones to do it the easy way, David Norris gave away a free kick on the edge of the area. Warnock took Dom Poleon off and replaced him with Michael Brown, who had returned from suspension. Moritz sent his free kick into the area, but Becchio cleared it away.

Those 5 minutes felt like hours, but eventually,the ref blew the full time whistle and the 3 points were ours.

Brilliant end to a brilliant week.

It was a shame we couldn't keep a clean sheet and we did soak up a lot of pressure in the closing minutes, but, that's football. We held them out to win the game and that's what counts.

As I mentioned earlier, until yesterday, Palace were unbeaten in 14, and they were by no means rubbish. Their counters were fast and punishing.

Sam Byram was excellent and kept Wilfred Zaha quiet all game.

Jerome Thomas, was brilliant, exactly what we needed on the wing, ran at midfielders and defenders, passed & crossed the ball well, really impressed me, hope to see a lot more of him in the coming weeks.

Luciano Becchio had a MUCH better game, not only going forward, but he cleared a lot of Palaces' crosses and corners that came into the box too. The goal looked to fill him with confidence and will hopefully see him regain his goal scoring form.

Paul Green was brilliant yesterday too, probably my man of the match, he offered a lot of protection to Sam Byram on the right wing and took his goal really well.

Another tough game on Tuesday night, against Leicester City. Really hope we can take the momentum through into that game and hopefully see another Whites win :o)

MOT xx <3 data-blogger-escaped-br="br" data-blogger-escaped-xx="xx">