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Welcome back everyone to my Follow Me and Leeds United blog that will take you through the Centenary season for Leeds United. As a home and away season ticket holder this will be done game by game where you get an insight into an away day and lots of photos of the fan experience. Please feel free to share any posts or photos but if you can give me acknowledgement for anything shared that would be appreciated.
For those of you who are already avid followers of my accounts, we will know shortly how the treatment of my husband’s cancer has gone but he is making good progress. Also my baby grandson made a very early appearance yesterday as he didn’t want to miss all the action. His mum had a season ticket before she was born so I made sure he had his Leeds United kit ready for him to grow into before he was born.
With everything going on in the background with my family I haven’t had time to think too much about the new season but am saddened by both the Jansson and Peacock-Farrell sales. I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I stand by my point of view that we should have built our team around Peacock-Farrell. Bringing others in on high wages to the detriment of players already here was always going to upset the applecart.
As always I will make my judgements by what I see on the pitch. With Bielsa staying that had to be the best news I wanted to hear as it brings the continuity I crave. Getting off to a good start will be key to how our season progresses but being amongst our fans once again during our season’s journey will be priceless. Make sure you ask for a photo when you see me if you want to be part of the blog. After a stop in Gloucester with lots of Leeds United discussions and good company we arrived at the ground in good time for kick-off. It was great to walk down to the ground saying hello to lots of Leeds fans and seeing lots of familiar faces. The bottom tier of the stand was cordoned off which is a shame as we could have sold extra tickets today no problem. As it was most fans put their flags on show in this area which was good to see.
The team: Casilla, Cooper, Bamford, Douglas, Dallas, Klich, Phillips, Ben White (making his league debut), Hernandez, Harrison and Forshaw. Subs: Costa (making his league debut) for Klich (76), Alioski for Douglas (79) and Davis for Harrison (85). Leeds won the game 3-1 with Hernandez (26), Bamford (57) and Harrison (72) scoring for Leeds. Attendance was 23,553 with 2,126 Leeds fans.
After a few free kicks going Bristol’s way we settled into the game and there was some great pin point passes across the pitch. Casilla managed to have my heart in my mouth a few times again today with his charging out of the area runs. With one clearance in the first half it went straight to their player on the edge of the box but Casilla made amends with a great save to keep Bristol out. Leeds started to look comfortable on the ball and I was impressed with young Ben White who was quick to show some nippy footwork giving a good account of himself. We were able to keep a lot of possession and didn’t look too troubled by Bristol when they tested us on a few occasions. The game turned on its head when Hernandez scored a fantastic goal at the opposite end to us on the half hour mark to put us into the lead. I knew as soon as the ball left his foot it was going into the net. The Leeds fans had been in good voice even before the goal and upped the noise with great celebrations. We nearly got a second on the stroke of half-time when Forshaw’s shot just went past the wrong side of the post. Very close but not close enough to score. I didn’t feel unduly worried about Bristol in the first half as we played some good attacking football as we went into half time with a one goal lead.
The ref caused some controversy when Klich was fouled and stayed on the ground, he played on. When the same thing happened with one of the Bristol players, he blew up and stopped the game. Just remember officials, I want a level playing field this season and not one rule for Leeds and one rule for everyone else. Also when we are getting our shirts pulled right in front of the linesman, he needs to open his eyes because if I can see it in the stand then there is something wrong with his eyesight!
The second half saw Bristol come out with more fight in them and it took a while for us to settle. It wasn’t long though before Hernandez did some fantastic weaving in the penalty area on the left hand side of the pitch and crossed for Bamford to head the ball into the net in front of us for our second goal of the game. I’d said before the game that if Bamford gets one hopefully that will give him confidence to score more. We were on top at this point and looking good for a win. This was made even better when Leeds scored a third after a great counter attack involving Dallas then Klich before Harrison put the ball into the net. With some fans singing we are top of the league, I thought back to last season when I wouldn’t sing it in case I jinxed anything. I thought maybe it would be better if I was optimistic and just sang it anyway. With approximately 15 minutes left on the clock Costa was brought on in place of Klich which left us seemingly disjointed as we lost our prowess in midfield. This immediately gave Bristol the impetus putting Leeds on the back foot and under pressure, so it was no surprise when they pulled one back beating Casilla at the near post. With them then piling further pressure on us and coming close to a second, I thought we better not capitulate and let them get another otherwise we’d be in trouble. It took a while for us to calm down and get control again but luckily we stopped them scoring another goal so we had a winning start to our Centenary season with a 3-1 away win. Hernandez got a deserved Sky man of the match with his magical jinx and fantastic goal which was well deserved.
It was lovely to see Phillips coming over to the Leeds fans and handing his shirt over to young Jack at the front of the stand who was really happy. This was also caught by the Sky cameras too which was lovely to see. Apparently in the warm up the ball had hit Jack and this was his way of saying sorry. Well done to both.
When we got back to the coach I went onto the roadside as a lad I know was being helped along the road but was in a very bad way. His injury looked really bad and the police were going to get a car to take him back to his coach but in the meantime was leaning on ours. Sadly I had to get back on the coach as we were leaving but I really hope he is okay.
We had a relatively good run back to Leeds and I was home in Halifax before midnight. After having really warm and dry weather on our way down to the game it was a surprise to hit rain again on our way home. Our first home game of the season is the early 12.30pm kick-off against Nottingham Forest next week. It will be good to get back onto home soil, as this is the first time in many years we haven’t had a home game in any of our pre-season friendlies. See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together!
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, Leeds United in the 1980s
- The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17
- Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18
Website: www.followmeandleedsunited.co.uk Twitter: @FollowMeAndLUFC Facebook: Follow Me and Leeds United: Instagram: Heidi Haigh – lufcheidi @followmeandleedsunited