By the time I reached Elland Road today I was later than anticipated due to an unexpected happening. By the time I picked my granddaughter Laura up though I had seen three magpies together so immediately thought we would win. When someone outside the ground had asked how we would do today, I had said I would take things as they come as I couldn’t really predict the outcome. Burton as newcomers to the division wouldn’t be an easy team to beat.
As we walked to the Peacock some Irish lads got out of a taxi so I ensured they got a photo, plus one of the Norwegian lads in the Peacock and some more Irish lads going into the ground.
The team came out onto the pitch and then I saw them getting together in the middle of the pitch for a minute’s silence. At first I wondered what it was for, then the chap said over the tannoy as this was the last home game before Remembrance Day, we would have silence after the bugler had played the last post. At first all the fans burst into a round of applause after the bugler had finished and then we had another minute’s silence which was immaculately observed. I must admit that I wanted to cry at the end of this as it was so moving. To all those who died in the wars, these words that follow have my greatest respect; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them. RIP to all fallen soldiers.
The team today was Green, Ayling, Taylor, Bartley, Jansson, Sacko, Hernandez, Wood, Phillips, O’Kane and Roofe. Subs were Doukara for Roofe, Vieira for Hernandez and Mowatt for Sacko. Attendance was 24,220 with approx. 500 Burton fans.
Although I only missed the Norwich Cup game due to travelling to Guildford with my daughter and her band to see her final performance for her vocal degree, it felt like I hadn’t been to a game for ages! Although I missed a cracker of a game and a great atmosphere, I was very proud seeing my daughter Emily have a fantastic performance who completely smashed it on the night!
The scoreboard looked different today and I couldn’t work out if it was broken underneath or not? The game kicked off and Burton immediately put us under pressure and showed me that we couldn’t under estimate their team. Although the game didn’t have a lot to shout about one thing that was apparent was that the Leeds team would try back others up and also chase balls that they lost. There were quite a few misplaced passes that got some groans from the fans but nothing too bad. Burton could have taken the lead but we cleared it off the line and then we came close attacking the goal at the South Stand. Burton came close to taking the lead when Bartley headed the ball to clear it only for it to hit the crossbar and go out for a corner. As we shouted that he should be trying to score in the opposite goal and not an own goal, someone said he was trying to carry on from Tuesday when he had two goals disallowed. The referee and linesman were being too kind to Burton as they went down so many times and kept getting the free kicks. Many fouls that should have been given to us were ignored more often than not. One foul on Jansson though which wasn’t given, did make me think when he looked up to see if he had got a free kick or not! I hoped that he wasn’t trying to pull the wool over the ref’s eyes at that moment!
The second half carried on more of the same as Burton came out fighting and put us under a lot of pressure. We were defending well and putting in some right tackles though and I felt that Ayling was having a storming game especially in the second half. He was attacking well and putting in some great tackles. Once again something seemed to click once we got to the 60 minute mark as we started putting some pressure onto the Burton goal. The crowd were responding well too but after one attack when we didn’t get a foul someone threw a bottle onto the pitch from the East Stand. Doukara came on to replace Roofe and it wasn’t long after that we took the lead. Doukara was put through with a great ball from Hernandez and he looked like he was going to score until he was brought down in the area. It was a cast iron penalty and their player was lucky to get away with just a booking. Before Wood stepped up to put the penalty into the net another bottle was thrown into the penalty area. Why on earth would someone do that when it could have put Wood off by delaying the penalty? Come on Leeds fans we are better than that so please think about things, as we don’t want to give anyone the chance to punish us again. Burton still didn’t give up after going a goal down and they still put us under pressure getting a couple of free kicks just outside the penalty area. When they won a corner I said we should keep someone up at the half way line to take the pressure off the defence. As we defended well from the free kick the players ran out of defence with the ball and Doukara was put through. As he bore down on the goal it looked odds on that he’d score but it nearly didn’t happen as he was bundled over. Luckily he got up and stuck the ball in the net to send the crowd wild! Just before Doukara put the result of the game beyond doubt, it looked like Burton would equalise and we’d have a draw. It was great to get the three points and there was a fantastic atmosphere at the end of the game. There was a very happy crowd and buzz as we left the ground knowing we’d been unbeaten in the last seven home games which showed what a turnaround we’ve had in recent weeks. It hadn’t been the best of games but there had been a lot of end to end play and a lot of passion shown by the team which was good to see.
As we headed to the car a lone Burton fan was doing his best to antagonise the Leeds fans by singing loudly on his own. At one time in the past he’d probably have been put on his backside but luckily for him times have changed here! As he was getting some jip from some Leeds fans stood by Billy’s statue he turned round and walked backwards only to end up nearly falling over a couple of cones. This raised a laugh from the Leeds fans. He continued doing his one man act along Elland Road and had some Leeds fans giving him some stick. Once he walked away from the ice cream van with a couple of mates, I took his photo again.
The next round of the EFL Cup draw was made and we have been drawn away to Liverpool. For many of us who have been to Anfield in the seventies we have plenty of memories from there plus the games in later years. I’ve written plenty of stories about visiting both the red and blue sides in my book Follow Me and Leeds United. It wasn’t a pleasant experience many times for a lot of us that’s for sure. I’m sure it will be different this time and that we will get a good allocation of tickets. We will definitely sell this out very quickly as the interest in this game is phenomenal!
After the game I headed to Bradford to a party. It was great to see so many familiar faces, some I hadn’t seen for a long time. Tommy and Carol McGuiness have run the Bradford Branch of the Leeds United Supporters Club for many years and it was a tribute to their devotion to the branch that saw a fantastic turn out to say happy birthday to Tommy. I said I’d mention Joe Murphy who said I can’t be a proper Leeds fan as I haven’t been arrested!! I did laugh at this though as I aren’t going to change the habits of a lifetime to oblige!
Apologies for the quality on some of the photos I have taken. I did take my camera into the shop to check the zoom as I don’t think it is focusing correctly. Typical it worked perfectly there but I had some issues with it again today. You could say I’ve overworked it!! It is nice that we have no game midweek and have the away trip to Norwich next Saturday to look forward to. It will be an eight o’clock start from Leeds for us which isn’t too bad but it will be a long trip. See you all there – LUFC – Marching on Together!