I was looking forward to the short journey to Burnley today as I was getting a lift with Jo and Carmel. When we’d parked up we headed straight to the cricket club and enjoyed sitting on the balcony enjoying the sunshine. There were quite a few people we knew in there so I took a few photos. When I heard someone shout my name I automatically turned round as Pete took my photo instead of the other way round.
I kept losing the other two as I kept stopping to chat to other fans. A Burnley fan was just telling another fan about Ray Hankin and I said I remember him and I’ve still got a photo I had taken with him at Menwith Hill. He thought that was good. As we walked away from the club we found a police horse following us and we kept expecting it to charge at us. We were glad when they moved to the side as Carmel said we should get a selfie!!
A few coaches had just arrived as we got to the turnstiles but there wasn’t too much of a queue as we had our bags searched. I was asked about my banner and said what it was and as the girl hesitated I said it was my blanket. I then went to get my ticket out but thought I was actually looking for my keys for some reason. Somehow I don’t think they’d have got me through the turnstiles. Once through we found Phil Cresswell and lots of our stewards there. After a chat with some I heard a man say that on our website the tickets said 16-22 and Burnley were saying they were to 21 only and wouldn’t let the lad in. Our steward went to have a word so hopefully it got sorted then I also heard someone say they couldn’t bring it in so assumed they meant their flags. As we were near the entrance a fella told me that the first thing he looks for after a game is my blog. That was lovely to hear and I really appreciate the feedback. Just then Terry Yorath came in who was I think was on the same coach as the lad and joined in our conversation. We stood chatting for a while and one of the fellas from Harrogate asked me to take a photo of him and his daughter who was over from Australia so I obliged as usual. We decided to go and see where our seats were first and try and put my banner up near the front. A Burnley steward said I couldn’t hang the banner behind the disabled without their permission. He then said I should have a word with the head steward and he’d be able to tell me where to hang it. As it was there was a segregated piece at the end of the seats next to the no man’s land so I was able to lay it on there with the help of a steward. I had a chat to a few of our stewards including Mouse and found out that some of the G4 stewards were Leeds fans but work for them too as they pay more. Just before kick-off we went to our seats.
The team today was Lonergan playing his first game since returning to Leeds, Ayling, Berardi, Shaughnessy, Borthwick-Jackson, Vieira, Klich, Roofe, Dallas, Cibicki and Grot. Subs used were Sacko for Borthwick-Jackson (60), Hernandez for Pawel Cibicki making his debut (79), Lasogga for Grot 85 and Alioski for Roofe (104). The score after extra time was 2-2 – scorers were Sacko 80 and a Hernandez Penalty 90 + 4 mins. Leeds won 5-3 on penalties – scorers Lasogga, Hernandez, Klich, Alioski and Dallas. Attendance was 11,799 with 2,194 Leeds fans.
Lots of Leeds fan gave Charlie Taylor and Chris Wood abuse due to their recent moves to Burnley. I didn’t join in but still state that the way Monk hung Charlie out to dry at Wigan was a disgrace. He had played continually whilst injured as there was still a chance we could get to the playoffs. The agreement was that once we were out of the race he would be allowed to not play so he could get fit for next season. He had not been involved in any of the build up to the game and as far as he was concerned his season had ended. Monk could have played anyone that day and in my mind the only reason he tried to call him back was to save his own skin and put the heat onto Charlie instead. What Charlie should have done is defended himself and put the truth out there rather than an untruth which was allowed to fester into a real hatred and won’t be forgotten sadly. He did put plenty of good crosses in for Burnley though but ended up on the losing side.
There had been lots of people saying hello to me and it was good to see lots of familiar faces despite issues appearing regarding loyal fans having a free for all in getting tickets and missing out. I’m not sure what is happening with the ticket allocations but you must look after the fans who haven’t missed a game for years as they are the ones who have supported Leeds through thick and thin. We have a fantastic worldwide fan base and we are spreading our love of Leeds from the fans and the players which of course gets new fans on board. Please don’t forget our core support though Leeds as they don’t deserve that! As well as selling out our allocation tonight, the game was being beamed back to Elland Road as well.
The play was a lot more even today than Saturday where we were under the cosh for the whole game. We may not have had a shot on goal until the 60 something minute tonight but despite all the changes in the team there is still some continuity in the way we play. Burnley for all their possession had plenty of shots but they were off target. Borthwick-Jackson seemed to be having a mare of a game though and Grot despite his size was underwhelming. Game time is something they both need to improve, but I’m not sure if they can play in the under 23s. It used to be you’d play for the reserves but as it’s all changed now so I’m not sure how it works. The one thing I will say is that Christiansen and I seem to agree on who to sub though!
At half time someone said it was a nightmare trying to get through the fans downstairs so I went to the furthest entrance and luckily it was fine getting down to the toilets. That familiar horrible smell of a flare soon stunk the place out though. Talking of smells, the beer in Burnley can’t be up to much as the smell coming from someone in the vicinity of my seat in the stand was absolutely rank!
When Christiansen made his first sub bringing on Sacko for Borthwick-Jackson I couldn’t believe it. Jo, Carmel and I only had a conversation in the car coming over saying that Sacko seemed to have disappeared off the face of the earth. Carmel had had a conversation with him in Austria telling him he had to pass the ball, well he certainly looked to have come back firing on all cylinders. He was fast and put in a really good low hard cross which upped the pace of the game. Lonergan was called on to makes some saves and did well to keep Burnley out. Our second sub of Hernandez became the game changer; he sent a fantastic long cross with his first touch for Sacko to run onto who put the ball into the net in front of the Leeds hordes as they exploded in rapture. It was hard to get any photos due to everyone celebrating wildly and all stood on seats in front of me so I stood on the back of my seat too. I admit I may have got carried away, well who wouldn’t, when all of a sudden I received a push in my back. When it happened again I turned round to see an angry woman behind me saying she couldn’t see. I said sorry as she said well get down then in an aggressive manner as I looked at her! There was no need for the aggression at all she could have just asked nicely as it doesn’t take much to show some manners. This is what happens at football games and we are all supporting the same side so a word of advice, please drop the aggression as it wasn’t needed.
As the end of the game neared I decided I’d better go down to the front of the stand to retrieve my banner or at least be near it if the game did end after 90 minutes. The game carried on and suddenly the Burnley fans cheered as the ref awarded them a penalty at the far end. I’ve no idea what for as I couldn’t see but heard it was for a shirt pull. Chris Wood went to take it and I was hoping he’d miss it but unfortunately for us he scored. Damn as this meant we had extra time looming. Six minutes of injury time was put up but the drama hadn’t finished there though as Leeds attacked towards us. A blatant shirt pull right in front of me saw the Leeds fans cheering as we were awarded a penalty too. I was desperate for Hernandez to score which he certainly did sending the celebrating Leeds fans delirious. I’d checked my watch and could have sworn the ref played more than the six minutes of injury time resulting in Burnley equalising once again from a free kick. It used to be 15 minutes each way and that’s it but now they have injury time on top!
I decided to stay down at the front of the stand behind the goal for extra time. I couldn’t believe how cold I felt stood there though after being so warm earlier. There again having seen a 3 degrees when I set off for work this week it shows the nights are drawing in. With the first half of extra time being even Stevens it looked like a penalty shoot-out would decide the game. A couple of our stewards were stood next to me and we were astounded to see Alioski getting ready to come on. We’d made all our subs or so we thought as we counted and recounted who had come on previously. When Alioski did come on we hoped we hadn’t done a Stuttgart when they played an ineligible player but then decided the rules must have changed for the cup which turned out to be the case. It was a worry at first though as none of us had any idea this was the case. I went to get my banner at the half time break and some Leeds fans helped me undo the ties and one shouted to a policeman in the no man’s land to undo the tie nearest to him which he did. To say the Burnley fans were at the other side of the wall near to where I was stood, it was good to see there was no abuse flung at me.
The second half of extra time carried on with more of the same and Burnley coming close but not close enough thank goodness and Lonergan was determined to keep them out. Before we knew it the tie was at an end and to be decided by penalty kicks. There was a discussion at the side and Carol stood behind me said there is no way the penalties will be taken at our end and it will already be decided. Well she wasn’t wrong as they headed to the other end. Leeds took the first penalty with Lasogga scoring before Burnley took the next one. Another change to how penalties were taken happened next, as Burnley went to take the next one, before Leeds took the next two with Hernandez first then Klich. Burnley took the next two scoring one but then….. There was a man with his camera focused on the Leeds fans but when the second player took his penalty he turned around. He must have sub consciously known that Lonergan was going to save it!! The next two penalties were in our favour as first Alioski scored and then Dallas put the winner away to send us through to the next round. Fantastic scenes for the celebrating Leeds hordes as we’d put a premiership team out of the cup!
The Leeds team came towards us clapping after they’d had their own celebration. I loved the look on Ayling’s face as he was smiling and looking at us all with such adoration. With him and Berardi who’d ended up bleeding from a cut eye after another crack, they led the team by example and it is nice to see how everyone comes together as one. A few shirts were flung into the crowd but not near me unfortunately!
The buzz and singing from everyone going out after the game was brilliant and a great atmosphere. The Burnley fans had emptied the ground very quickly and didn’t hang around. We got back to the car in extra quick time and were soon on our way home to Halifax. We saw the cars in front of us pulling out but couldn’t see why. When we got level we saw it was a sheep trotting along the pavement having its own adventure!
We will know shortly tonight who we will be playing in the next round and unless it’s a team we haven’t played before so I can get a new ground in, I would want a home tie against one of the bigger clubs!
Back to league action on Saturday with the home game against Ipswich, we are looking at another near sell out. Whatever happens, the feel good factor is certainly back at Elland Road and long may it continue. Kristine is coming over from Norway from this game and I will be meeting her for a catch up. See you then LUFC – Marching on Together!