With such a hectic week behind me I’d not really thought about the game today so wasn’t unduly worried, because as usual I was going to see what transpired on the pitch. With only five games left and having a later kick off due to Sky televising today’s game things could change in the table again. As we went through the turnstiles in the Kop I heard someone say Millwall had a penalty against Sheffield United (who like us are challenging for that automatic spot). I then heard another person saying they’d missed the penalty so we said we’d have to do it the hard way. By the time my daughter Danielle joined us I’d no idea that the game had ended in a draw so Sheffield United were only above us on goal difference.
Before the game I’d met Mick Glasby from Nottingham and his friend Alistair a Glasgow Rangers fan who had come with him to the game. A big thank you to Mick for buying my second book Once a Leeds fan, always a Leeds fan; the support is appreciated and the feedback that he enjoyed reading my first book Follow Me and Leeds United was good to hear. As Laura my granddaughter and I got into the ground early we went and stood at the front of the stand to watch the players train before kickoff. There were plenty of fans watching and a young boy next to us was thrilled when he was given one of the t-shirts the players were wearing. Laura wanted to ask Jamie Shackleton for his as she’d had her photo taken with him at the recent LUDO event, but he was at the far side of the ground. One of the Nottingham Whites came up to speak and had a photo taken. Laura decided we needed to go to the other end of the Kop but stopped in the middle behind the goal. As I was speaking to the documentary crew who came to film me at home for the 100 years of Leeds United recently, a flying ball caught Laura’s arm who was just to the right of me. She was very brave though and said it hadn’t hurt luckily. I showed the crew where our seats were and arranged to go and see them at the end of the game for a chat. As I’d been asked to take photos of one of the mascots it was also good to be in the ground early for a change.
The team: Casilla, Ayling, Jansson, Berardi, Harrison, Phillips, Klich, Bamford, Roberts, Hernandez and Alioski. Subs: Roofe for Bamford (64), Forshaw for Klich (77) and Dallas for Harrison (86). Leeds won the game 1-0 with a goal by Harrison (65). Attendance was 36,461 with 2,527 Sheffield Wednesday fans.
As the game kicked off it wasn’t long before I was confident that Leeds meant business today. Although we’d been turned round so we were attacking the Kop in the first half (it’s not often that has happened this season), that didn’t deter us. Roberts was very unlucky not to score an early goal but only because their goalie was playing out of his skin and made a great save. I didn’t realise Cooper wasn’t playing for a while and that Berardi was on the pitch instead. I knew Ayling was captain but didn’t realise why and it was only afterwards I found out it was because something had happened in the warm up that prevented him starting. Sheffield Wednesday came close when Casilla got beaten when he raced out of goal but the ball went into the side netting. They had their goalie to thank for saving a header from Harrison and then Ayling had one kicked off the line when it looked like a certain goal. With the opposition limited in their attacks they tried time wasting as they were no match for Leeds, but despite all the attacking we went into the break still at 0-0. We had played well though which was good to see and had been unlucky not to score.
I went back up in the stand just as the players came out for the restart. We started the second half as we ended the first, on the attack which was good as I’d said to my friends that we were going to score straight away. Well I didn’t get that quite right as it was the 65th minute when we did take the lead. I saw the ball crossed in from the right and the next minute everyone was going wild as Elland Road erupted. I’d thought the ball had gone straight into the net but Harrison had in fact got on the end of Hernandez’s cross to score. We thought we’d managed to score a second goal when Roofe put the ball into the net only for the linesman to stick his flag up for offside. That was a shame as it would have put the game to bed and there’d have been no comeback for Sheffield Wednesday. Just before time though we actually invited them to attack us and I was glad to see the ball hit the side netting. The Leeds crowd had been fantastic and the fans had upped the atmosphere getting behind the team. When the final whistle blew the scenes around the ground were of joy but also of relief that we had got the win and the three points. There were so many happy fans which was great to see and loads shouting hello to me as we made our way to outside the disabled entrance to meet the documentary crew. Thanks to all those fans who asked how my husband was, he is now out of hospital with one hurdle behind him and the next one to overcome. The support is appreciated as always.
I daren’t get my hopes up until it is mathematically certain that we can retain second place in the table. I still think Elland Road is the best place to be when we crank up the atmosphere and look forward to seeing us take on Wigan on Good Friday. After seeing how the team fought and played for each other today, it will be good to see them carry on in the same vein. Fingers crossed, we can do this Leeds, Keep Fighting!! See you then – 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
Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18
www.followmeandleedsunited.co.uk Twitter: @FollowMeAndLUFC, Facebook: Follow Me and Leeds United