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

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