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">

Monday, 19 November 2012

Millwall 1 - 0 Leeds United

My alarm went off at 5am on Sunday, as I looked outside, it was pitch black and had frozen overnight. I did toy with the idea of going back to sleep, I thought my phone may have been lying and the time was really midnight....I didn't feel like risking it, thankfully, and got out of bed to get ready for a long trip darn sarf.

Millwall is an interesting journey, as soon as you get anywhere close to London, everyone livens up, looks around, sees the sights etc. We went past the Olympic Village, which, last time I saw, was still in the process of being built. Then we went past Canary Wharf, then under the Blackwall Tunnel. When you leave the tunnel everyone turns around to see the O2 arena, then, you get in to the, less glamorous part of London, shall we say.

I've never liked London, City, or surrounds, I just don't like it for some reason.

There are some notorious pubs on the journey to the ground where you think it might kick off, luckily, all the pubs were quiet and apart from a couple of people stood, with a fag hanging out of their mouths making a 'wanker' gesture towards us, nothing happened.

We arrived at the ground and in the compound in good time, and found our way to our seats.

It didn't take the Millwall fans long to start chanting about Istanbul, some things never change. Their disgusting chants though, were met with 'boring, boring Millwall' from us. Though, they only had one other song, 'no-one likes us we don't care, blah blah blaaah' change the record.

It's not been the best few weeks for us. On and off the field, things were starting to get all too much and we hoped we could get a result to give us something to smile about again. It was a boost for us though to see Ross McCormack back on the bench after the injury he sustained against Cardiff back in September.

Ryan Hall was called up to the starting 11 whilst Brown and Pearce missed the game due to suspension.

In the opening minutes of the match Mark Beevers brought down Diouf on the edge of the penalty area resulting in a free kick in a very good position. Halsey gave Beevers a yellow card for the challenge. Tonge took the free kick & it bounced straight off of the wall, never any real danger.

Millwall's chances were coming thick and fast, their forwards were making light work of midfield & our defenders were backing off until it was too late. Though the home side's forwards were pacy and strong, their finishing wasn't the best, so a lot of their chances went well wide/over the bar. 

Ryan Hall was playing well & Forde saved a shot of his on the 26th minute.

The first half was nothing to write home about and when the ref blew for half time, it was 0 - 0. I thought it would probably be a scrappy goal that went and won it, this was still anyone's game.

The second half began, and in the opening few minutes, we found ourselves with 10 men for the second week running. Luke Varney backed into Adam Smith with a raised elbow. At the time, I thought it was a straight red, but now, looking at it again, I'd say it was a yellow. He DID raise his elbow and hit Smith just under the chin on the left side of his face, the way he went down however, was like he'd been snipered.

There was a worrying moment when Henry took a throw in and the ball came into the box. Paddy Kenny saved the original shot but spilled it due to a foul, the ball went into the net and the home fans celebrated. Halsey saw the foul however and the goal was disallowed.

Warnock decided to bring on Ross McCormack for Hall, right decision, Hall had a decent first half, but looked to be struggling when we lost Varney.

Neither side were taking their chances when they arose but Millwall were a lot faster going forward and looked like they had the edge.

On the 85th minute N'Guessan passed to a waiting Shane Lowry who sent a brilliant cross into the box where a waiting Chris Wood headed home, past Kenny to make the score 1 - 0.

4 minutes added time to play, and we were really trying to will the ball into the net from the stands, however, Millwall were the only team that looked like scoring. Halsey brought the game to a close and for the third time in a row, we walked away without any points.

Frustrating is definitely the word I'd use to describe the way we are playing at the moment, it's the same things that let us down every match.

Too many long balls from Pelts in my opinion, he needs to cut that out of his game.

Ryan Hall was playing really well in the first half, he looked pacy and sharp, he had a couple of shots and worked hard.
Looked to struggle a bit though when Varney got sent off which is understandable.

Luciano looked a better player when Ross came on the pitch and battled for the ball more. I am looking forward to seeing them back, together when we have all 11 men on the field.

Diouf holds the ball up really well, however needs to release it more often.
He slows the game down and gives people a chance to get in the right positions which is great but then tries to play on himself, which isn't always the right answer.
Diouf was escorted off the pitch by, not one, not two, but THREE stewards after the game. He gave his shirt to someone down at the bottom of the stand, which clearly warranted the stewards....He was getting a LOT of hate by this point and before he entered the tunnel he blew a kiss to his haters. I must admit, I did giggle, he just does not give a toss does he.

Byram and Lees played well, I gave Lees man of the match, he made the best of
A bad situation, probably the only thing I'd criticise was not closing down N'Guessan prior to the goal, it was a hard one though.

Drury should have done better with the cross that came in for the goal. He never even challenged the ball. Completely free header and it ruined his otherwise alright performance. (Apart from the hoof ball's upfield).

Our set pieces and corners are terrible, they are always the same. We need a proper playmaker or someone that can get a decent cross into the box from time to time. That's half the reason were not scoring!! Corners are either too long or too short, short corners end up being played all the way back to the keeper, who then hoofs the ball up to the front, expecting Luciano to work miracles and score, or they are too long and go out of play. Both result in us losing, not only possession but any kind of advantage we were given in the first place!!

So, so frustrating to watch.

Crystal Palace on Saturday, these fixtures just don't get any easier!! We're going to need all the help we can get!!!!

Trying to keep the faith though, were Leeds aren't we ;o)

MOT xx <3 xx

Thursday, 15 November 2012

My email to David Haigh :o)

So, Monday morning, I was REALLY fed up of work and thought, I should really email 'Future Mr Chairman' David Haigh, to see if I can have a job if this takeover ever goes through.

Below, is the email I sent....It was worth a try, right?!

Dear David,

I hope this email finds you well.

I am writing to you today as a formal tender for employment.

I would say my strengths are varied, I am fantastic at coming up with marketing and advertising ideas I could manage any special offers, be them retail or match day, I can be your mouthpiece in meetings, I am VERY good at making excuses for people and can deal with confrontation well.

I am very organised and great at being a massively bossy cow and if things don't go my way within the workplace, I will make everyone suffer until I get what I want.

I would require my own office at Thorp Arch, overlooking the first team training pitch if possible as I could oversee what they do on a day to day basis and report back to you what they are/aren't doing enough of. I could also hold an 'open door' policy where anyone can come to me with any questions they may have, unless they are stupid ones, then I will operate a strictly 'closed door policy'.

I can also cut hair David, so I can actually save you some money there too, beauty & pampering is also important in a job such as this one.

I would like to work alongside you rather than for you, the main problem being I am indeed penniless, so unless you read this and think, 'Christ, she is exactly what we need' then I'm going to go ahead and guess I would need to buy a controlling stake in the club to do the above. This however, would mean me getting paid more than £*** a month, which I currently do not have.

I guess I could save?! But I honestly think you need someone like me. I mean, think of all the attention you would get too, I'm more attractive than Delia Smith and Karen Brady put together, I could do whatever interviews/appearances you don't fancy doing whilst you just put your feet up, does this not sound lucrative at all!? I bet it does.

I draw the line at making you a brew though, unless I am making one for myself you have little to no chance, but if you fancy paying me a visit in my new Thorp Arch office, feel free to bring a Costa....Please.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read through my brief resume. I can send you a lengthy one if you want, I just didn't want to inundate you with my awesomeness.


Monday, 12 November 2012

Leeds United 1 - 6 Watford

The scoreline says it all doesn't it really.

A different squad lined up to the one that had succumbed to a 1 - 0 defeat at Turf Moor on Tuesday night.
Warnock played a 3-5-2 formation, with Diouf and Varney upfront whilst Becchio was started on the bench.
Green was also brought in to try and strengthen the back line.
Aidy White and Sam Byram were acting wingbacks for the match, very different to the gaffer's usual formations, but, we thought, it might be a welcome change and try to get us back to winning ways after a dismal couple of weeks.

The attendance on Saturday was 19,104, which for a Saturday, normal 3pm kick off, is shocking. Everywhere I looked there were empty seats. It really is soul destroying to see.
Marching On Together was blearing out of the speakers just before kick off, and there was just no atmosphere at all.
There was a minutes silence before the match began for Remembrance Sunday.

I must admit, from the very off there wasn't a lot about our play that made you think, we are going to win this. There were too many silly mistakes and we didn't take any of the chances we had to open the scoring.

Luke Varney had a brilliant opportunity to chip the keeper to open the scoring in the first 20 mins but failed to finish.

Matej Vydra was the first to open the scoring for Watford, on the 27th minute, the goal did look offside at the time, but it wasn't flagged, and we should have played to the whistle. 0 - 1.

Vyrda was involved again shortly after the goal, for different reasons though as Pearce was given a straight red for a challenge on the Watford striker.

Warnock changed the team around and brought on Tom Lees for, arguably the best player on the pitch, at that time, Green. The decision to do this was met with loud boo's from the Leeds fans.

So, a goal down at half time, and 10 men....It felt like it should have been a Tuesday night. But it wasn't. Damage limitation was now the key and maybe bag an equaliser in the dying minutes.

The second half kicked off and Warnock replaced White and Diouf with Hall and Brown.

Play stopped early on, Rodolph Austin was on the floor in a heap. The ref waved over to the Physio with concern and Elland Road fell silent with worry. The medical staff stretchered Austin straight out of the ground and into a waiting ambulance to take him to hospital.
We were now down to 9 men and 'damage limitation' seemed unlikely.

Watford got their second goal on the 60th minute when Almen Abdi found space and put the ball past Kenny from 25 yards out.

Abdi went down shortly after scoring, with what looked like, a dislocated shoulder. He was stretchered off the pitch.

Joel Ekstrand fouled Luke Varney inside the Penalty area on the 79th minute which Michael Tonge stepped up to take, in front of the Kop. He made it 1 - 3.

3 minutes later however, Watford were 1 - 4 up when Vydra got his second of the afternoon from 18 yards out.

This was now, unbearable. One of those matches you never want to think about ever again, surely it couldn't get any worse....But it did....

The referee added 10 minutes on due to the two lengthy stoppages.

Sean Murray made it 1 - 5 on the 94th minute and to top it all off, Troy Deeney scored on the 98th to make the final score 1 - 6.

Terrible performance and one I'd like to forget, quickly.

Leeds United have appealed against Pearce's straight red card.
It did look worse than it was however but it was a yellow.

The results on Austin have come back and his injury isn't as bad as first feared. He has cracked a bone in his ankle, still a bad injury, hope he makes a speedy recovery.

Brown will miss the next game too due to suspension as he got his 5th yellow.

It seems we may have half a team against Millwall.

Aiden White was the worst player on the pitch and I was glad he was replaced at half time.

Though what I did realise is that most of the long balls came from Peliter, and there was no Becchio on the pitch, so people can't blame him for this result!!

Apart from his lack of finishing, Varney worked quite hard, putting pressure on defenders and he showed flashes of pace.

We just weren't good enough with 11 men, let alone 9.

It needs to change, and soon.

Millwall on Sunday. Fingers crossed we improve.

MOT xx <3 xx

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Burnley 1 - 0 Leeds United

I get the feeling we really should have known that this match wasn't going to be all we'd hoped, it was Tuesday night after all. The wind and the rain had really picked up too as we set off to get to Turf Moor. Traffic on the motorway was bad for the first part of the journey, but thankfully soon cleared up and we were on our way.

We pulled over into a lay-by to wait for the Police to pick us up and escort us, like the vile animals that we are. We waited....And we waited....And waited some more....Time was knocking on.

It got to 7pm and I was getting agitated. 10 Past 7 and I'm looking out of the window and just what exactly we were waiting for, I wasn't sure, I don't think the Police were either.

Quarter past, the game kicked off in half an hour and we still had to actually get to the ground. We set off from the liaison point at just before half past 7. We were all pretty angry in fairness, and just hoped we'd get there for kick off. They'd held all the coaches in the same way, so when we got off the coach, just as the game kicked off at quarter to, there was a queue to get though the turnstiles. Perfect.

I got in and attempted to find my seat, which was up some stupid, un-necessarily large steps and RIGHT at the back of the stand so my view was terrible. OH, and just to add insult to injury there was a pole right in my view line so I couldn't see properly.

By this time, I was already fuming, I'd missed the first 5 minutes and I had a restricted view, all for the not so reasonable price of £30.

This makes it sound like the first time I've been to Turf Moor doesn't it, it's not, I think its probably the 6th but my view has never been this bad, or this expensive, and the Police have never made us late for a game either, so I was pretty riled up before I even got to see any of the game.

Anyway 9 minutes into the match and Shackell shot from outside the penalty area, but it missed the target, I'd only been watching the game like 3 mins by this point, but it already looked like we were on the back foot.

We were witnessing some very poor football but on the 28th minute, returning striker Luciano Becchio started some great play, he held up the ball well and passed to Diouf just outside the penalty area, Diouf ran forward with the ball but failed to score as he missed to the right of the goal.

Two minutes later and Burnley retaliated when Dean Marney almost scored, but his effort went wide.

Paddy Kenny showed his class on the 41st minute when Kieran Trippier had a shot on goal. Kenny came to the rescue a minute later too after Charlie Austin almost made it 1 - 0. Kenny pushed the ball wide and it went out for a corner.

The ref blew for half time and both sides went in without a goal.

It wasn't a very interesting half to say the least. There had been maybe one or two flashes of good play from us but no-where near enough.

Burnley were faster than us, and so much better on the counter and were exploiting our very weak midfield.

For an away match, the atmosphere in the away end was quiet, and that isn't like us at all. We all needed a pick up. As the teams entered the field though, we got behind the lads and sang 'We all love Leeds' at the top of our voices.

For some reason I felt a lot more confident about the second half, even though the first was pretty terrible.

As I am writing this, I'm realising that the note I wrote last night only says '47 great play by Becchio'....Wish I'd have written what he did ha ha!! Fail. Anyway back to what I do know!!

On the 50th minute, one of the Burnley midfielders left the ball behind and fell over, giving Austin a clear run to go forwards with the ball, he shot from outside the box and it never challenged keeper, Grant.

A minute later and Aiden White found himself in a wonderful position, just inside the box with players begging for the ball,  it looked promising, we all wanted him to pass the ball. He passed it....To a Burnley player.

There was more pressure on Paddy Kenny though and he was forced to make two saves on the 51st, one when the ball was crossed in by Trippier and the other from Ross Wallace after a free kick.

For the next 10 minutes or so, we actually began to play a lot better!!

In the 61st/62nd minute, Becchio worked the ball really well and passed to Diouf who was running forwards, Diouf passed to White who came VERY close to making it 1 - 0, Grant saved and it was out for a corner. Tonge stepped up to take the corner but it was cleared by Shackell.

Shackell cleared the ball once more on the 65th minute when a corner from Tonge came in from the left, out for another corner, this time, cleared by Trippier.

Rodolph Austin was the next to try his luck on goal from 25 yards out but to no avail as Grant saved.

Drury powered towards Kieran Trippier and tackled him to win the ball, play continued....Until, the Dingles decided to kick off about the fact that it wasn't a free kick. I actually thought, something might really be wrong with Trippier as he was rolling about and hitting the floor in agony, however after a couple of minutes he got up, and he was fine. Then, the ref decided to book Drury for the challenge and gave Burnley a free kick.

We began to soak up pressure again and on the 73rd minute, Marney took a shot. Followed by Charlie Austin on the 74th and another on the 76th by Martin Paterson, saved by Kenny.

Danny Pugh was brought on with 81 minutes played, in place of Drury.

A minute later and it was still anyone's game, just one goal could win it. Sadly, it wasn't ours, Charlie Austin got on the end of Trippier's cross to bag his 20th goal of the season so far.

Warnock decided to throw Varney up front with Becchio 5 minutes from time, bringing off White.

Jason Pearce tried to even the odds on the 88th minute but Lafferty cleared the ball away.

That was really the last chance we had, as the game came to a close and Burnley won the league....Oh....They didn't?! My bad....They ACTED like they'd won the league.

What can I say. We just aren't good enough are we.

I've heard people slagging off Becchio left right and centre for last night, and when it comes down to it, I think he was one of the best on the pitch!! Granted, that doesn't say much, and yes, he is still having a bad time, but a lot of our creative play came from him!!
I feel like I've got to stick up for him here, he's the easiest scapegoat in the team at the moment and a lot of the stick he is getting is unfair.
People saying, 'we played the long ball tonight because Becchio was on the pitch' or 'We played shit football because we played Becchio'....Well that's funny because we didn't play great on Friday night either and he wasn't on the pitch for three quarters of the match.
Look who Becchio used to play around, Beckford, Snodgrass, Howson, Gradel even Johnson, and NOW look who he plays around....We didn't exactly replace any of those players did we, so you wonder, who is really to blame here?! Also, 4-4-2....Don't play him upfront with Diouf!! I'm not slagging Diouf off, because he's been one of our best players in some of the matches this season, but I don't think its good for either of them playing up front, together!! Ross & Becchio, yes definitely!! Oh Ross....Please get fit soon ha ha!!

Paddy Kenny would have gotten my man of the match, he made some fantastic saves and in the first half especially, the game could have been two or three nil.

Aiden White....Didn't have his best game to say the least, he wasn't the only one by a long shot, but a couple of the chances he had that he didn't do well with, were probably harder to muck up.

Warnock's quotes seemed to reflect what we all thought "I don't know how Aidy missed that. I think the goalie must have been surprised when he hit it straight at him".

He also said "You can't miss chances like we have. We had a few words at half time and we were better in the second half, we dominated" - Warnock was also quoted saying that we were mugged....I think the 3000 supporters that travelled were bloody mugged, £30 for that.

I just don't think I will ever understand why we keep playing the long ball. If it's not worked in the previous games we've used it, WHY do we think, ah, might work this time eh....NO!! Just, bloody, NO!! Makes me want to bang their heads together. We have no width at all, midfield is terrible, but, without investment, what can we do?!

Watford at home on Saturday. I wonder if I'll still feel fed up of all this, or more positive!! Lets see.

MOT xx <3 xx

Brighton & Hove Albion 2 - 2 Leeds United

Normally, on a Friday, I would be trying to drag my arse out of bed for work, but, I woke up, bright as a button at 7am and sprung out of bed as I needed to get ready for a full day on the road with Leeds United.

Last season's match against Brighton was one of my favourite away days, we had a great time, I was hoping today would be the same.

If you aren't a Football fan, you probably wouldn't understand why we get so excited about away days but, ones like this are just fantastic. We had made good time getting down there, so we went to the pub at around 4pm and had a good couple of hours drinking, talking to friends, sharing stories about matches, how we all got into Football, what our first Leeds United matches were, allsorts, you almost forget there is a match to go to!!

When we got into the ground, we decided it was probably time for another couple of beers before heading to our seats. The concourse filled up with Leeds fans pretty quickly, and after a couple of rounds of 'Let's go f*cking mental' with beers in hand, the floor got pretty slippery, as I found out, more than once ha ha!!

Warnock decided to name an unchanged side from Tuesday nights win against Southampton, choosing to, again, leave Luciano Becchio on the bench and start Luke Varney.

We had the first chance of the game when Rodolph Austin missed wide of the target after taking a free kick.

It was clear to see that we were going to encounter some problems with Brighton's attack, as Tom Lees blocked a shot from Barnes who also went wide with another shot, not much later.

Both sides were struggling to take control of the game, though Brighton did have the edge. But on the 15th minute of time, Lee Peltier brought down Buckley in the area and ref Lee Mason had no doubts that it was a penalty. Craig Mackail-Smith took to the spot and made it 1 - 0 to the home side.

Just minutes after, Mackail-Smith had another shot but it was blocked by Tom Lees.

Dean Hammond sent a cross in for Ashley Barnes who had a go at goal, Paddy Kenny saved on the 23rd minute.

33 minutes gone and Diouf took a corner but El-Abd made a clearance and it was out for another corner. Diouf stepped up again, but this time Wayne Bridge managed to clear it away. Suddenly, Luke Varney was pushed, without the ball, in the box by Bruno Saltor. Mason again, pointed to the spot, this time in our favour. We all fell silent as El-Hadji Diouf stepped up to the spot, I was thinking, if he scores this, we could push on and sort ourselves out a bit, get a bit of confidence, if he doesn't, our heads might go down, we'll start getting bookings, there might be a sending off, oh god, we might lose....I'm glad those things weren't going through Diouf's head, as he may well have missed ha ha, luckily though he smashed it past Kuszczak.

As we got in to the final part 5 minutes of the first half, Tom Lees, who had earlier sustained an injury to his eye had to be replaced by Danny Pugh as he was struggling with his vision.

Before the break, Lee Peltier blocked another shot from Craig Mackail-Smith and Dean Hammond also saw his chance land safely in the hands of Paddy Kenny after a corner by Orlandi.

Nothing had changed since the 1st half ended and we were still very slack. Bruno Saltar saw his shot go over the bar on the 51st minute of play.

Craig Mackail-Smith was hunting his hat-trick and on the 62nd minute, Paddy Kenny made sure he didn't get it when he saved another shot from the striker.

Warnock decided there needed to be a change within the squad and brought Luciano Becchio on for Luke Varney.

65 minutes gone and we were really under the cosh and we were finding it hard, but, the ball came to Michael Brown on the edge of the area, he put his foot behind the ball with some force, and, thanks to a deflection from Bacchii,it found the back of the net. The odds were even and the game, was again, anyone's.

On the 73rd minute, we found ourselves in trouble again, like we often do, when Sam Bram was penalised for bringing down Mack ail-Smith in the area. Again, Mason pointed to the spot and it felt like you could see the headlines tomorrow, 'Craig Mack ail-Smith scores hat-trick against Leeds'. He stepped up....Struck the ball....Paddy Kenny SAVED!! I jumped about for about a minute saying 'HE'S SAVED IT, HE'S SAVED IT!!' I couldn't actually believe it!!

We needed to push on now if we were going to get all three points and Warnock again changed the team on the 80th minute, bringing off El-Hajji Dough for David Norris.

We still looked out of sorts though, and it looked like Brighton wanted it more. Ashley Barnes just missed the target when he headed inside the penalty area on the 80th minute.

As the game drew to a close though, it looked like the score was settled, until the fourth minute of added time that is, when Andrew Crofts had one last shot, but Paddy Kenny pulled off a tremendous save.

The game ended and we left with a point, the final score was 2 - 2.

You can't help but be disappointed with the way we are playing at the moment. We are so negative and aren't passing the ball enough. It wasn't a patch on Tuesday night's win against Southampton anyway.

As you will all probably know by now, we drew Chelsea at home in the Quarter Final's of the Capital One Cup. The game is to be played on the 19th of December and will be live on Sky.

If I had to give Man Of The Match to anyone, I would have probably given it to Kenny as he kept us in it with his penalty save and his save right at the death.

We need to improve for Burnley on Tuesday. Fingers crossed we do.

MOT xx <3 xx