Fulham v Leeds United 21st September 2021 at Craven Cottage; Carabao Cup 3rd round

Fulham A 21st September 2021, Carabao Cup 3rd Round

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It was lovely knowing I didn’t have to worry about getting time off work to go to the game having recently retired, plus I won’t need to get up for work a few hours after returning home at 4.00am. I feel for those who do have to, as many times I’ve arrived home at 4.00am, had a couple of hours sleep and gone straight into work.  Our stop today was in Kingston on Thames, and we had a nice chilled out afternoon before heading the short journey to the ground. As we got off the coach, I had already lost my bearings and would have gone the wrong way. Thank you to those Leeds fans who pointed us in the right direction! As we stood outside the ground, the gate opened, and the police came out with a couple of Leeds fans. It looked like they’d been thrown out of the ground as they escorted them further up the road and blocked their way back, although I’d no idea what had happened. It was good chatting and taking photos with Leeds fans and everyone seemed to be in good spirits. A good cup run to give us a feel-good factor is what we need.

I just want to say get well soon gorgeous boy to my grandson Freddie, who is ill in hospital and can’t wait to see you back at home for a cuddle. Although he is improving, he is not quite there yet. Also, it was great to see the commitment of James today as his wife gave birth to a son earlier in the day. He then arrived at the game by helicopter to play and scored one of the penalties to give Leeds the win on the night. Congratulations and well done.

Team: Meslier, Phillips, Dallas, Roberts, James, Firpo, Shackleton, Cresswell, Summerville (making his first start), Rodrigo and James.

Subs: Forshaw for Roberts (55), Gelhardt (making his debut) for Klich (68), McKinstry (making his debut) for Summerville (75).

Subs not used: Klaesson, Greenwood, Drameh, Hjelde.

Booked: Summerville.

Score at 90 minutes 0-0. Leeds won 6-5 on penalties with Rodrigo, James, Phillips, Firpo, Gelhardt and McKinstry scoring theirs but Dallas and Forshaw missing two penalties for Leeds. Meslier saved Fulham’s last meaning Leeds advanced to the next round.

Referee: Tim Robinson.

Attendance: 11,299 with 5,450 Leeds fans.

A minute’s applause was given for Jimmy Greaves who has died. I will always be grateful to Jimmy as he announced the birth of my daughter in 1991 live on TV when Leeds played Arsenal at Highbury. It was also the first game I had missed in 7 years. This became a poignant message for me as Charlotte died suddenly at 17days old from an undiagnosed heart defect. Because of Jimmy he kept her memory alive for us so thank you, as these are cherished.

The Leeds fans were in full voice giving a great atmosphere and it was even better when they were only singing Leeds songs! As the game kicked off Fulham started on the attack with one attempt over the bar and the other bringing a save out of Meslier. Summerville won the ball as Leeds attacked and Roberts saw his shot saved by the keeper. Leeds going forward won a few corners before our first real chance of the game after good play between Klich and Rodrigo, saw the latter shoot wide. Fulham were making lots of challenges with plenty of fouls but for some reason the referee kept his card in his pocket. One challenge on Summerville deserved a booking. From the free kick, Rodrigo’s shot was saved by the keeper. Just before the break, Fulham won a free kick just outside the box to the left of the goal in front of us, and Meslier made an excellent save to turn the ball around the post just before the half time whistle blew.

Good play between James and Rodrigo saw the latter’s shot blocked. Fulham were defending in numbers and some looked like giants in comparison to our players. I’ve no idea why the referee went over to the bench and booked Bielsa, and when Summerville committed a foul, he was immediately booked. I couldn’t believe how many fouls he had let go from Fulham and not given anyone a booking, then did this without any hesitation? Forshaw came on for Roberts which gave Leeds some stability in the middle of the pitch. With Cresswell and Summerville both starting the game, it was good to see another two of our youngsters making their debuts with Gelhardt and McKinstry coming on as subs. I’d been impressed with Cresswell at Guiseley in pre-season with his leadership skills and it was good to see him continue with those in this game. For me, he is future captain material, and all the youngsters are looking good prospects for us.

A new Leeds song got an airing which was very catchy. Whoever has done this, take a bow and well done!

Follow, follow, follow,

We’re the best f**king team in the world,

Bamford and Firpo,

Rapha, Rodrigo,

Phillips the Yorkshire Pirlo.

I’m not sure if it is the same person who created the following song, but it had a similar ring to it for me.

This is what it feels to be champions,

This is how it feels to be Leeds,

This is how it feels when you’re going to the Premier League!

Fulham continued attacking us with a couple of headers and a shot that went over the bar, but I didn’t feel worried until the last few minutes of the game, as I didn’t want them to sneak the win. Cresswell put a header wide in the last seconds of the game as the half ended 0-0 after 90 minutes and would go straight to penalties. Leeds lost the toss as they were taken at the opposite end to us.

Rodrigo, James and Phillips scored for Leeds with Dallas missing. With two missed by Fulham, Forshaw stepped up to take his but missed firing over the bar. This meant that penalties went to sudden death.  Firpo and Gelhardt scored their penalties and Fulham scored both of their next two leaving scores level. McKinstry scored his to put Leeds back into the lead again, then Meslier became the hero of the hour saving their last penalty giving Leeds a 6-5 win. How the Leeds fans cheered at the end of the game, this is what we needed, and I enjoyed the win immensely. Well done lads and onto round four for the first time in a long time with the draw taking place tonight.

With a long walk back to the coaches for the Leeds fans, consideration of our disabled fans by Fulham was non-existent for any help back to them. Although they had a wheelchair at the entrance to the ground which was good, it’s a shame they wouldn’t let those coaches with disabled fans on park outside the stand. Some things never change though, with motorway closures adding time onto our journey home with detours.

Back to league action on Saturday with the visit of West Ham to Elland Road. I’m looking forward to getting our first three points so come on Leeds, you can do it! See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together!