I’d lost track of the days over the Christmas period and once again had to check the kick off time. I couldn’t believe there’d been three 3pm kick offs in a week for us which is unheard of, well it seems that way! My granddaughter Alexis and I went to the Pavilion first as we were meeting Marc Bracha, his son Frankie and friend Shaun from Norwich for a photo. Marc is the author of Bairdy’s Gonna Get Ya! and it was good to catch up. We met when I was writing my third book with Andrew Dalton, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United, Leeds United in the 1980s. Marc’s dad lives in Cyprus and is an avid reader of my blog so he will enjoy seeing their photo in it. After a quick visit to the Peacock where I took a photo of a group of lads including one who had come from Thailand for the game, we headed into the ground. There was another sellout crowd for Leeds fans for our last game of 2018. As the game kicked off, my superstitious nature took over when Leeds fans started singing we were top of the league. I just wanted to shush everyone and tell them not to sing it so as not to jinx the result!
The team: Peacock-Farrell, Ayling, Douglas, Phillips, Jansson, Klich, Forshaw, Hernandez, Roofe, Alioski and Harrison. Subs: Clarke for Harrison (45), Roberts for Douglas (64) and Shackleton for Ayling (77). Leeds lost the game 2-0. Attendance was 35,754 with 2,145 Hull fans.
It didn’t take long to realise that we were up against a team that were going to cause us problems today. They were strong and fast but in the opening minutes kept getting free kicks given, which in my opinion, always makes teams go from strength to strength. One of their players was heading for the floor even before our player got near him and the ball! They were running at us on the break and caught us out a few times as they weaved in and out of our players. One of our downfalls was the fact we had numerous bad passes from different players across the pitch. We had a couple of chances but didn’t put their goalie under any pressure before Hull took the lead 25 minutes into the game. We failed to clear the ball by trying to play our way out from the goalmouth when for once we should have got rid of it. Their goalie made a good save before the break to deny us an equaliser from Hernandez.
The second half saw Harrison taken off and Clarke replacing him again. Unfortunately Harrison has failed to impress so far this season when given the chance to play. The second half saw Leeds trying to take the game to Hull but once again we were caught out with their speed as they took advantage of our attack. Their counter attack saw them coast past Douglas and although Peacock-Farrell was able to save their first shot unfortunately he’d no chance with the rebound. I felt we were lacking in midfield today as the Hull players seemed to bypass us with ease. Once Clarke came on though, Hernandez seemed to up his game although was guilty of bad passing at times. Although Hull had got two goals, we hadn’t given up as we attacked towards the Kop. Their goalie led a charmed life making some great saves to deny us and we also had the ball kicked off the line at least twice with him beaten. Roberts was unlucky not to score when the ball was cleared off the line. Hull were time wasting when making their subs and should have been brought to task by the referee. Unfortunately, he waited until Jansson intervened and then decided to book their player once he was off the pitch for his reaction, before booking Jansson too. He could have nipped that in the bud but decided not to! In injury time they resorted to more time wasting tactics when their player went down in the penalty area and the game was stopped. It felt like we were never going to score today in our first defeat in eight games. A defeat was always going to happen sometime and despite the bad passing, we did have chances to score as we did end the game on the attack.
Despite the defeat we were still going to be top of the table going into the New Year. Norwich were winning or so we thought, and it wasn’t until we were back at the car that we realised they’d lost, so the result went in our favour. Forest away on New Year’s Day is our next game so we will just have to pick ourselves up and get on with it. Happy New Year to Leeds fans everywhere and I look forward to seeing what 2019 brings for Leeds United as we head towards our Centenary Year. LUFC – Marching on Together!
Heidi Haigh – A fanatical Leeds United supporter of over 50 years
Author of the following books:
Follow Me and Leeds United
Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan
Co-author with Andrew Dalton of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United
The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17
OUT NOW! Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18