Monday, 24 September 2012

Leeds United 2 - 1 Nottingham Forest

The build up to the match on Saturday was an odd one, news had gone round that Ken Bates was to make a statement on Yorkshire Radio just after 1pm, meaning that people were speculating on the investment/takeover rather than their full attention on the game.

This was the first time we'd had anything from the club in quite some time, usually we were in the dark about the matter and frankly that's how we thought it was going to stay but not today.
We were all thinking that this was either going to be, Bates telling us that the deal was off and blaming everyone but himself, or that it was complete (There weren't many who thought the second!!).

The full statement can be found here:

In short, Ken explains that negotiations are in an "advanced stage" and that they are looking to wrap up the deal "as soon as possible"

Bates added, "there's a number of finer points to be resolved, but we're making good progress".

This was much better news than expected, but still I personally refuse to get my hopes up, until all the i's are dotted and all the t's are crossed.

The investors joined Ken Bates in the Directors Box for the match.

The sun was beating down on us inside Elland Road, we got inside nice and early & watched the lads warm up.

The team was announced and it actually made me feel quite positive about the match!!
Neil had made changes to the side that lost to Hull City on Tuesday with White and Varney dropped to the bench. Drury and Poleon were called up in their place.

You have no idea how nice it felt to have a Varney-less first team, even Aiden White, they have both been less than uninspiring of late.

Poleon had come on and spiced the game up on Tuesday night and I was glad to see him get his first full start.

As the teams came out of the tunnel, Elland Road sounded a lot more like Elland Road than it did mid-week. There was an atmosphere back, people were getting behind the lads.

In the first minute Rodolph Austin tested Lee Camp with a shot on goal but Forest retaliated quickly as Paddy Kenny saved a shot from Simon Cox. Tom Lees was next on the 4th minute when he headed just wide of the goal after a corner from Diouf.

In the 10 minutes or so that followed there were plenty of tackles flying in, free kicks given and chances from both sides but I would say Forest just had the edge on us, they had a goal disallowed too early on, Paddy Kenny took the free kick and the game continued. This match so far was by no means boring.

14 minutes into the match and El Hadji-Diouf sailed a cross into the box, Sam Byram in the right place sent it to the feet of Luciano Becchio who placed it firmly in the back of the net to make it 1 - 0 to Leeds United.

Forest were now chasing the game and Simon Cox had a header in the penalty box on the 20th minute which went over the crossbar.

6 minutes on however and Luciano Becchio couldn't find his way past the Forest defenders to score, the ball fell to the feet of Dominic Poleon and he fired the ball past Lee Camp to double the lead.

We looked comfortable and kept the Forest chances to a minimum, right up until the 40th minute when James Coppinger had a long range shot that didn't worry Kenny as it went wide left of the goal.

A few more chances on goal came for us for us before half time, but none of them on target, most notably, what should have been Luciano Becchio's 2nd of the afternoon when he found himself one on one with the keeper at close range, but the ball came off the wrong part of his foot and the shot went well over the crossbar.

Forest made two changes to their side as they came out for the second half, Henri Lansbury came on for Andy Reid and Lewis McGugan replaced Guy Moussi.

It took until the 49th minute for anything of significance to happen and it was McGugan that tried his luck on goal but Paddy Kenny saved and from then on, the pressure was on us.

The visitors were really making us work and testing our defence, a header from inside the penalty area by Greg Halford going over the crossbar in the 5th minute.

Dexter Blackstock got his head on a long throw in by Greg Halford and got Nottingham Forest the goal they had been pushing for on the 59th minute.

2 minutes later, a Lewis McGugan corner almost found its way into the net but Luciano Becchio was at the near post and he cleared the ball excellently to stop the visitors from equalising.

Dominic Polen was taken off shortly after to make way for Aiden White and Lee Peltier who had taken a knock to his ankle came off too, he was replaced with Luke Varney.

Forest were still coming at us and on the 67th minute Simon Cox shot on target and Paddy Kenny made the save.

We were still having our moments though and hadn't given up (as we usually would!!) and Rodolph Austin had a shot that went just wide in the 72nd minute.

80 minutes gone and Luciano Becchio was called to make another clearance when Lewis McGugan's corner came into the box.

Forest looked to shake things up a bit going forward and brought on Billy Sharp in place of James Coppinger.

This was now a game of keeping calm for us and keeping the ball, making sure we didn't make it hard for ourselves by soaking up unnecessary pressure. El-Hadji Diouf taking short corner after short corner in order to make sure we got the 3 points.

Luciano Becchio was taken off just before the end of the 90, Andy Gray replaced him.

There was 6 minutes of time added on but we worked really hard to keep possession and won the game 2 - 1.

Neil surprised me with the squad he put out on Saturday, I was worried he would stick with the same squad as Tuesday night but introducing Dom Poleon and Drury into the first team was the most sensible thing to do and look at how well it worked. Forest had a much stronger squad than we did, so we should be proud that we came through that match with all three points.

I said it in the last report against Hull, and I'll say it again, El-Hadji Diouf is impressing me more and more as the season goes on. He did so well, working hard in both and wingers when needed a strikers position. When we trying to run the clock down too he was holding the ball up really well and making sure we kept possession. I hold my hands up, I am actually glad we signed him, I wonder how many other Leeds fans are eating their words/hats ;o)

I feel so much calmer with Drury in the team, he did his job well and I hope he gets more starts.

Bryam, what more can I say about this lad that hasn't been said already, he really is proving his worth. I mean how hard must it be to come into a league as competitive as this one, and do as well as he is, at his age as well, it really is astounding. So happy with his performance, solid.

Luciano adding to his goal tally for the season, scoring 8 goals in 7 games (League & Cup), he also saved a couple from going in the other end too, and he STILL manages to get stick, some people need to get a grip. I'm really happy he's scoring again and the confidence is clearly back with him :o)

For me and Jamie, seeing Poleon score at Elland Road was brilliant as we have seen him play quite a few times in the youth team, glad Warnock has recognised his talent and given him a shot :o)

A game against Premier League opposition tomorrow night as we play host to Everton in the Capital One Cup.
Everton have really switched it on in the league this season so far, playing some great football but this isn't one I care too much about losing. As long as we don't embarrass ourselves!!
I'd care more if we were to lose against Bristol City at the weekend.

But on the other hand I'm not saying a win wouldn't be good for us!! I reckon it would give us plenty of confidence, I just really want to come out of tomorrow with no injuries!!

MOT xx <3 xx

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