Crystal Palace v Leeds United 7th November 2020 at Selhurst Park

Good news, my new book is out – Leeds Are Going to the Premier League! Just in time for Christmas presents or as a distraction to read through lockdown. Books can be bought direct from my publisher on the following link using XMAS30 code to get a discount and It will also be available on Amazon soon.

Leeds Are Going to the Premier League – Leeds United Season 2019-20 – Promotion in their Centenary Year!

Sadly, not being able to go to games in person now where I normally meet fans to sign books for them makes things harder. Please note that once we are allowed back, I am happy to meet up with fans and sign books that are bought from any outlet. Whilst I am still waiting to receive my own stock of books, I am happy to sign them, but postage and packing will be added to any costs. I also do have a small amount of my previous books if anyone is interested in purchasing them as well.

Sad news was received this week that Billy Bremner the son of our legend of the same name, died yesterday at the age of 55. He was the same age that both his dad and our trainer Les Cocker died at too. My thoughts go out to his family and friends.

With a London game on the horizon, I wouldn’t miss the early morning get up and long journey, but I do miss being amongst our fans travelling to the game and watching the team. As someone pointed out this morning that Leeds get a nosebleed going further than Watford Gap, I said we had to forget where we were and think we were playing in Yorkshire. Damn, it still didn’t work having a positive, mental attitude. Going to Selhurst Park brough back some memories for me, firstly going there when we played Wimbledon in an FA Cup replay. We couldn’t get over the pink tiles in the ladies’ toilets and the mirrors on the walls. For those fans who used to go to games in the 70s, they will know these were the height of luxury in those days. The other game was playing Charlton in the play-offs. We were stuck on the M1 for two hours that stopped all the traffic after a car crashed into the back of a coach killing some Leeds fans. We didn’t get there until half time and I had such a migraine by the time we arrived, that I couldn’t enjoy the game. I think it is a horrible ground to get to when travelling from the north.

The team: Meslier, Ayling Cooper, Koch, Alioski, Struijk, Costa, Klich, Dallas, Harrison, and Bamford. Subs: Raphinha for Costa (45) and Roberts for Struijk (71). Subs not used: Casilla, Davis, Casey, Jack Jenkins and Poveda. Leeds lost the game 1-4 with Bamford scoring our goal (27). Attendance: Zero, behind closed doors. Referee: C. Kavanagh.

With Hernandez not even on the bench, people were thinking it was down to his dissent last week when he was subbed. Palace were straight on the attack and Meslier saved a good shot in the opening minutes. As Leeds battled to get the ball away near the touchline, the ball hit their player’s hand, but no free kick was given. Palace got into another great position to shoot not long after, but Alioski nicked the ball off his toes to clear. Meslier was called into action again to make the save. Leeds got a corner in the seventh minute which was taken by Klich, but Cooper’s header went over the top of the goal. Cooper went in hard to win the ball and as I held my breath expecting a free kick, the referee played on. I feel that the game is more free flowing in The Premier League with more common sense applied which is good to see after the appalling standard of refereeing we have had to put up with in the Championship. That said, it now looks like VAR has taken over from that!

Palace took the lead from a corner with an unstoppable header that deflected slightly off Koch’s head into the top right-hand corner of the goal despite Meslier trying his hardest to keep it out. Leeds then went on the attack but didn’t put their keeper under pressure. We tried again and Harrison should have hit the ball first time, but Palace won the ball back, so we lost the opportunity. We equalised with a goal from Bamford after a great pass from Klich which saw him beat the defence to lift the ball over the keeper. I couldn’t believe what happened next, as VAR then disallowed the goal for offside due to his arm being in front of the defence, when he was pointing to where he wanted the ball to go. That is how ridiculous VAR is and what a ludicrous decision! Klich skidded on the surface and went down with a hurt knee that brought the trainer on as Palace won a free kick in a good position outside the penalty area after a foul by Koch. Sadly, for us the free kick went straight over the wall into the top left-hand corner under the crossbar to see us two goals down in the 23rd minute. Leeds then pulled a goal back within three minutes to give us a fighting chance when Bamford volleyed the ball past their keeper with three of their players around him in the penalty area. Leeds then had most of the play after scoring our goal. We won a corner, but Harrison’s cross was headed away. Costa then scored an unlucky own goal after Palace suddenly attacked but I thought he would be able to win the ball as they were running down the wing. With Meslier anticipating the cross he glanced to see who else was coming into the area, but the deflection went in at the near post and he was too late to get there. That meant Leeds were losing 3-1 at half time when it could have been so different had our first goal been allowed to stand.

Raphinha came on for Costa at the start of the second half as Leeds tried to get back into the game. Struijk’s header from a Harrison corner went wide then Palace had a shot from the edge of the area that went wide. Leeds then won another corner but sadly it didn’t amount to a good chance. A great break from Leeds saw Klich put a great ball out to Alioski on the left, who saw his shot tipped round the post by the keeper. Another attack saw Klich put a great cross from the byline across the box which Struijk headed down and Harrison shot straight at the keeper who saved it. Alioski then put a great ball across the area which was crying out for someone to smack it into the net, but it bypassed everyone. Palace then upped their tempo after a good Leeds spell and won a corner. Leeds broke out of defence but then lost the ball and as Palace counter attacked, they put the ball across the box  which found their player all on his own to slot the ball past Meslier for a fourth goal on the day. Although looking down and out, Leeds never gave up and suddenly Harrison put a great cross into the middle only for the ball to come off Bamford’s shoulder and the chance went. Roberts replaced Struijk who I thought had done well. Once we were losing 4-1 it was painful to watch the rest of the game. Palace nearly got a fifth but Meslier rose to the challenge and won the ball. Leeds won a free kick in a good position after Klich was brought down and Raphinha took it which wasn’t far away from a goal. After a great ball out to the wing, the ball came to Bamford who got into the penalty area and was brought down when their player stood on the back of his foot. Immediately we were told to play on but if there was a VAR decision, it was made in seconds and ignored. How could Leicester be given their penalty on Monday as their man was on the line with the ball outside the area and VAR decided it was a penalty minutes after the event? Personally, I can’t see the difference when Bamford’s was actually in the area and not given. Sadly, it wouldn’t have made any difference as Leeds lost 4-1 for the second time in a week. It was another disappointing trip to London after all.

It would have been a long journey home after the loss, that’s for sure.  With the international break upon us once more, I would gladly kick those into touch for the disruption they are causing to the game in general. The other side of the coin is, it gives us a chance to recuperate and hopefully have some of our injured and missing players ready for the next game after the break. There will be no easy games in this league and I still prefer to see our attacking play although we can have all the possession in the world and not put any pressure on the opposition. We should try to shoot on sight rather than always taking that extra step and catch teams unawares. The opposition know they can let us attack and then catch us on the break, so we need to be able to shore up our midfield so that the defence is not overloaded and give Meslier more protection. Keep the faith, LUFC – Marching on Together!