Its hard to think now, with all the controversy surrounding us, that a match was actually played on Friday!!
A couple of pints before boarding the coach as we left work early to make sure we were able to be with the other 5,000+ fans that were making the short journey to Sheffield for the game.
We went the long way round as the M1 was backed up. When we arrived at the rendezvous point, the police picked us up, telling us we were parking in an industrial estate rather than dropping us off at the ground....Oh wonderful.
After a nice 10 minute walk we arrived at Hillsborough and made our way to our seats.
Though Austin was a doubt after returning from International duty with a slight ankle injury, Warnock named an unchanged side from the squad that played Barnsley just before the International Break.
Wednesday started the game the sharper of the two sides and had the most possession.
On the 4th minute, there were calls from Wednesday that Austin had handled the ball in the area but to no avail.
Micheal Brown took a free kick a minute later but Kirkland caught it, it never really troubled him.
8 minutes in and Peltier sent a cross into the box but it was wasted and went out of play, Kirkland took the goal kick.
Bothroyd struck a powerful shot on the 9th minute that Paddy Kenny spilled, it bounced back off the crossbar and Kenny just got to it in time before it found its way into the net.
We were soaking up a lot of pressure, Sam Byram gave the home side a free kick when he caught Antonio from 30 yards. Antonio almost opened the scoring when the subsequent free kick came over from Bothroyd, Antonio fired a header but it just cleared the bar.
Technically by now, we should have been 2 - 0 down!! We were definitley on the back foot.
On the 16th minute we were awarded a corner which Diouf took but it was poor and nothing came of it.
Our first real chance at scoring though, came on the 19th/20th minute when Gardener fouled El-Hadji Diouf from 25 yards out and Michael Tonge struck a thundering shot into the area, Kirkland got to it though and pushed it away.
Rodolph Austin saw his shot blocked just after and the ball went out for a corner.
The corner was once again poor and we lost possession.
A very contreversial decision from the referee came on the 24th minute when Sheffield Wednesday sent a corner into the box. The corner was sent over and it looked for all the world that the ref would give a penalty against us as Luciano Becchio dived to clear the ball....With his hand....However, it was not given, much to the dismay of the home fans.
We were having a good spell of possession but not really putting any pressure on, annoyingly, the ball seemed to get suck in midfield and end up with Wednesday pushing us back.
On the 31st minute we were awarded a corner, Diouf took, but again, it wasn't good enough.
Two minutes later Becchio got his head on Tonge's cross into the area but his attempt was blocked. Byram was next to cross in, but it was too hard and the ball went out of play.
On the 40th minute Diouf was having a bit of an argument with Semodo, and the ref, Ilderton was left with little choice but to try and calm the pair down.
The opening goal came 3 minutes later when we were caught out by another long throw. Antonio's throw was perfect for waiting Jay Bothroyd and our defence did very little to challenge his header. Paddy Kenny was unable to save and the home side were in the lead.
The Wendies got a bit giddy following the goal, and a smoke bomb made its way onto the pitch from the main stand that was (eventually) dealt with by the stewards.
Just before half time, Brown took a free kick & Diouf attempted to nod it past the keeper, however, the effort was tame and Kirkland had it more than covered.
Llera, who had already gotten away with an earlier challenge where he looked to hit Brown in the face, got away with yet another challenge, this time, he raised his arm on Becchio but the ref didn't spot it and blew for half time.
Neil Warnock made a change to the squad and David Norris replaced Rodolph Austin.
Sheffield Wednesday were on the attack early on but Peltier saw off the danger from Bothroyd.
Tonge was really hunting a goal in this game and it almost came off for him on the 53rd minute but it cleared the bar.
For the opening 10 minutes of the first half we'd been fast and powerful but the flow of the game was ever changing, you couldn't call it.
We had a shout for a handball when Llera cleared the ball and it came off of Buxton's arm, but, in fairness, if they'd have given that and not given the Becchio one earlier in the game....There probably would have been hell on!!
Lee Peltier looked to have taken a knock and left the field on the 68th minute. He was replaced by Luke Varney.
On the 76th minute of play Aidy White passed the ball to a waiting Micheal Tonge who smashed the ball past Kirkland from 25 yards out, another superb strike from Tonge, who is making quite a habit of scoring those types of goals!! (The trouble/aftermath of the goal will be below the match report).
We looked to have unsettled the home side and a few minutes later Diouf sent a ball into the box for Becchio but it was just over his head.
Two minutes before time, as both teams were seeking the winner, Becchio attempted to clear a ball in the area but it is a little too close for comfort and Kenny got a touch to it. It was going to be a nervous few minutes!!
5 minutes of added time was to be played.
Both sides had chances to win in added time, Diouf had a free kick but it was headed away from danger by Gardner and in the last minute of play, Bothroyd had two shots after another one of Antonio's long throws.
The honours end even however, as the referee brings a close to the game.
In my honest opinion, I think we were too cautious in places in this game. We are too stop start and don't play the ball on the floor enough.
Too often we try and get the ball from the back straight to the forwards, and too often it's wasted possession because Diouf and Becchio can't do anything with the balls they are receiving. When we began to use White and Byram's pace in the second half, and we started to play the ball on the floor, we became hard to deal with and THAT is what we need to be more often.
When we have the ball and we are attacking, sometimes we stop with the to take a look around, we become too predictable and usually lose possession. Looking around is a good thing to do, don't get me wrong, but stopping the whole attack altogether to take a look around is just silly.
There were a lot of players that weren't at the races today too and I think I'd give Michael Tonge my man of the match as he was always looking for a goal. He did eventually get one, and what a goal it was!!
Now, there is obviously something I haven't spoke about yet, and what I want everyone to know before reading on, is that I do not condone the actions of Aaron Cawley, nor does any other Leeds United fan I know/speak to. Since I began to write this, he has been given a 4 month jail term, a ban from all football matches for 5yrs and he has been banned from Elland Road for life.
Here is my HONEST view of what happened:
I think it was about 10, maybe 15 minutes into the first half, we heard the Sheffield Wednesday fans start a chant mocking the two Leeds United fans that were murdered 12 years ago in Istanbul. These chants continued to get louder, until all of us could hear what they were singing....
The Leeds United fans reacted with just boo's and chants of 'scum, scum, scum' to start with and once they saw it pissed us off, they continued. More than once I saw a few of their fans making stabbing gestures towards us. Our fans lost their heads and began to throw bottles and rip up chairs. Both sets of fans surged towards each other. The stewards were struggling to cope, but from what I saw, they were pushing the culprits back into the crowd rather than throwing them out. I have since been told this was probably to stop fights spilling out onto the streets....But there should really have been police outside to make sure they all left the area. Anyway, after the Riot Police formed their lines to stop the fans trying to get to each other and the atmosphere had cooled a bit, we scored, Fuelling the rivalry once more, a mini pitch invasion ensued, and Aaron Cawley pushed Wednesday keeper Kirkland in the face. Obviously this was too far and he deserves all he gets, but after all the trouble, how we're that amount of people able to get past the stewards and onto the pitch?!
When the match ended, I think we all expected to be kept in to clear the crowd, however we were let straight out and had the long walk back to the coaches. The riot police outside did their jobs, keeping both sets of fans away from each other but they did this by physically pushing myself and others when we were trying to make our way back to our coaches.
All in all both sets of fans were in the wrong, but the media and press have made it sound like it was all unprovoked and that we are scum of the earth.
Anyway!!!! Now that is out of the way, we have another match tomorrow, this time at home to Charlton :o)
MOT xx <3 xx