It’s great to see that Santa brought some of my books to fans as presents. Kevin and his wife were attending the game today from Australia and I’d arranged to meet them in the Peacock pre-game. All five of my books were personally autographed so a big thank you to them for supporting me in purchasing them all at once. I also met up with Susan after the game for her Boxing Day present to herself and also the lovely Bremner. Hopefully Bremner wearing his special reindeer LUFC ears can be seen on the photo. I look forward to receiving feedback from both Kevin and Susan in due course and hope they enjoy the read.
I woke up absolutely exhausted today but as I’m tee-total I can’t blame it on a hangover. A word of warning to myself for next year, don’t try to take a plastic bung out of a bottle with scissors that slipped then stabbed me in the hand. Secondly, don’t put Cadbury’s chocolates on the tree as half of them were devoured by my chocolate Labrador Maisie within 20 minutes of my back being turned. Luckily for us she’s had no ill effects. Hopefully you’ve all had a great Christmas and things were calmer in your household than mine or at least you didn’t do silly things like I did!
After the fantastic last minute win at Villa last Sunday, it certainly gave me a feel good factor and put that extra spring in my step. The belief is there, but as we’ve been in this position before, I will not count my chickens just yet. Keep on doing what we are at the moment and see where we are in the New Year sometime. With another sell out home crowd, Elland Road was still buzzing with anticipation though.
The team: Peacock-Farrell, Jansson, Phillips, Ayling, Roofe, Alioski, Klich, Forshaw, Harrison, Douglas and Hernandez. Subs: Clarke for Harrison (60) and Shackleton for Ayling (69). Baker was due to come on as a sub again but despite being stood on the side of the pitch, didn’t actually make it on. Leeds won 3-2 in an enthralling finish once again after being behind 2-1 at the 90 minute mark. With four minutes of injury time on the clock a brace from Roofe (90+1 and 90+4) won the game for us. An own goal by Williams gave Leeds the lead in the first half. Attendance was 34,863 with 1,378 Blackburn fans.
The game set off at a blistering pace as Leeds took the game to Blackburn. Attacking the South Stand in the first half, we had loads of possession but that didn’t stop Blackburn from trying to attack us. I’ve stopped panicking when we are passing the ball across the back even when it gets too close for comfort. I said Leeds knew what they were doing as the lads in front of me were having the jitters. I know there will be times when we come unstuck but I’m sure we’ll be fine in the long run. Alioski brought a fine save out of their goalie as we continued to attack their goal. Harrison was playing noticeably better than he did at Villa and it was his pass from the byline that was put into the net for an own goal to give us the lead around the half hour mark. Alioski was unlucky to see his effort bounce back off the crossbar which could have given us a comfortable two goal lead at half time but had to settle for one instead. One thing that looked better today was our crossing from both wings into the penalty area.
By the time I got back up into the stand for the start of the second half I realised it had already kicked off. As I heard the Blackburn fans singing, I did begin to wonder if they’d scored. As I reached my seat the man at the end of our row said, “What was that about?” as he explained Blackburn had been given a penalty and they’d equalised. That actually knocked the stuffing out of us for a while and the Leeds fans and team were really infuriated when shouts for hand ball were ignored by the ref. Now one of them was a definite hand ball because even I saw it!! We did try to get the ball into the net but their goalie was able to make saves from both Alioski and Klich and later denied Roofe. Jansson made a pin point tackle at the last minute in the penalty area to deny Blackburn as they bore down on our goal. Luckily for us his long legs got there first to put the ball out for a corner just as it looked like they would score. When Blackburn were given a free kick outside the area it proved costly, as their player put the ball into the net for them to take the lead despite Peacock-Farrell’s attempts to save it. As their players celebrated like mad and had been time wasting prior to this, I know it was deflating to see them take the lead. Some fans left straight away after this but as usual I always stay until the bitter end. Wasn’t I glad that I take that stance because for the second game running, we ended up with fantastic scenes on the terraces after Roofe scored his first goal a minute into injury time to equalise for Leeds. Despite the heroics of their goalie he scored at the third attempt when the ball was deemed to have crossed the line. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, I said to the man next to me that this was going in, repeatedly and that’s exactly what happened as delirious scenes overtook everyone on the terraces in celebration. Hernandez put the ball across for Roofe to head his second goal into the net for a Fairytale ending to the game. Everyone was bouncing as I descended into tears of joy when the emotions overtook me big style. Believing we can do it is there, but it actually happening is another thing especially for those of us who have witnessed the doldrums of the last 15 years prior to this. Will this be our season when we finally return to the Premier League? We can only hope, but we can definitely enjoy the ride.
We return to Elland Road on Saturday for our last game of 2018 and our second home game in a week, for another 3pm kick-off against Hull. I’ll admit, I had to check a few times that we were indeed kicking off at that time today as games are changed that much, it felt totally unexpected. Keep going Leeds and it was lovely seeing my granddaughter Hannah experience the special moments at the end of the game today. There will be plenty of other fans who have never experienced anything like it before, but I can assure you the feelings are out of this world. As we walked back to the car a Blackburn fan walked in front of us into car park A. We were chatting excitedly about the game with some fans as he shouted “f**k you Leeds”. I shouted at him to stop being a bad loser as there was no need at all! See you on Saturday, LUFC – Marching on Together!