I didn’t set off until 10.30 am today as I was driving to it. As I listened to BBC Radio Leeds on the way in they were saying that lots of fans were already turning up and the roads around the ground were getting busy. I decided to drive the back way in and got to the ground at the same time as three Leeds coaches. When I parked up I had a very good position at the front but I thought I’d have to wait a while as usual after the game to get out. I don’t watch any other football on sky or tv so I had no idea what to expect today but I thought whatever happens it would be a tough game. I hoped we could sneak a win but a draw would probably be a good result.
I wasn’t going to take my banner with today but saw a message on Twitter saying flags would be allowed but there wouldn’t be much space to put them up. I did take my bag with me then which also has copies of my three books in. It was a good job I’d taken them in the end as I sold one at half time! It was good when a town steward prior to the game told me that he enjoyed reading my blog every time too which is really good to hear!
Leeds had a reduced ticket allocation for this game as the town singing section complete with drum (I know one of the lads who does this) had taken over the other side. What I will say is that despite the annoyance of the drum constantly banging away, it has improved their atmosphere by a long way. The one thing I cannot understand is their absolute hatred of us? Until we ended up in the same division, we never knew they existed!
The team today was Green, Berardi, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Vieira, Dallas, Doukara, Wood, Hernandez and Bridcutt. Subs were Pedraza for Doukara, Barrow for Dallas and O’Kane for Hernandez. Attendance was 22,400 with 1,958 Leeds fans. AS the teams came out I realised it was only 12.00 pm and was surprised as I still thought the kick off was at 12.30 pm. No wonder there had been lots of fans heading to the ground! I’m sure I’d asked someone recently what the ko time was and they’d told me the latter. Never mind at least I got there in time!
There was no doubt that we would have to come out of the starting blocks straight away today as we couldn’t afford to sit back and let town come at us. This certainly was the case but at times we were struggling to contain their players who came nearest to opening the scoring, although we did have a very good chance in the early minutes. We were getting out muscled and although Bridcutt and Vieira were at times getting out fought they did manage to overcome that in the first half and stopped giving the ball away so much. Our passing wasn’t as good as it should have been which put us under more pressure. I also thought that with the amount of fouls on Vieira that were let go by the ref, that certainly had an impact on him but he never gave up. When one of their players went off injured I hoped that this would upset town but unfortunately for us it didn’t. Jansson had made a great tackle on the edge of the box only for the ball to go straight to another town player which wasn’t long after the substitution. The sub then got the ball and put it into the net in front of us to put them into the lead. Damn, damn, damn! I thought the way he ran across the Leeds fans trying to incite them wasn’t on either before he flung himself into the town fans to the left of us. It wasn’t a surprise that they had got a goal though but I wasn’t sure how we would react. I think that is also the noisiest I have ever heard from the town fans after they scored as loads at the left hand side ran to the front of the stand to goad the Leeds fans.
Earlier when we got three corners in succession I knew we had to make the most of them but sadly nothing came of them. We did come close on a couple of occasions though. I’m not sure how long it was before we got the ball back up to the other end again but I had high hopes when we got a free kick on the edge of the box. Once Hernandez put the ball across I thought the ball was going in all the way when first Bartley then Wood got on the end of it once again to score! It seemed to take an age before it did though and trying to take photos with a jack in the box at the side of me was pretty hard, but I couldn’t blame him for celebrating in that way! It did shut the town fans up though thank goodness! Berardi made a fantastic tackle in the penalty area to deny them a goal straight after we scored. As half time approached I was hoping the score would stay that way but I felt we had got stronger as the half progressed.
As I was going up the steps at half time I met Jo from Halifax who was with Raluca from Romania who was here to see Leeds again. I should also give a shout out to the Leeds fans who had travelled up from Cornwall for the game, having left at 2.30 am to get here for the early kick off. Well done to all our fans who have travelled great distances to the game although for once I didn’t have far to travel from Halifax. On chatting to some of our fans we all would have accepted a draw at that stage but still hoped we’d sneak it. It was nice to meet up with Mouse at half time and show him his photo in my first book!! Thanks for the support! Next time Huddersfield please ensure us females don’t have to negotiate a flood and get wet feet in the ladies!
The second half kicked off and although the pace wasn’t the same as in the first half, we still kept giving the ball away. The referee also must come into this blog because I thought he was horrendous! I am all for the game keeping moving but the amount of times he let fouls go on Leeds then immediately blew as we tried to get the ball back was unbelievable. Booking ours even though they got the ball first and letting town carry on regardless is not very good in my eyes. Our new boy Alfonso Pedraza was brought on in place of Doukara quite early on and the first attack he had saw their goalie make a fantastic save. At one point though I thought Berardi was having to do more work as although Doukara hadn’t been as effective as he might be, he did help him out a lot. Alfonso will have to work on tracking back although to be fair to him we have only had him a few days! Our other new boy Barrow came on to replace Dallas and when we won the ball in the centre, it should have been passed straight out to the wing to him only for us to see the ball go the other way as we lost it. Hernandez wasn’t having a good game to be honest and I always thought that Monk would replace him at some time which he did when O’Kane came on. Unfortunately he didn’t make much difference when I felt he should have come for a few balls and he seemed to stand and watch it instead. I suddenly looked round at the scoreboard to see that 87 minutes were on the clock which had also passed very quickly. It made me think of the time we scored in the last minute to win there. I wished I’d not looked around to see how much time was left because right on full time with town attacking us at the far end of the pitch, I thought their man was offside as he stuck the ball into the net for town’s winner. The ball had come off another player but listening to Radio Leeds later they confirmed the ball came off a Leeds player so it wasn’t off side. With that I noticed someone in a black coat charging down the pitch towards the town players celebrating. I thought what the… I didn’t think they were allowed to do that? The next thing I just saw everyone going beserk in the dugout area as all the players ran over to try and stop whatever was going on. It took ages before calm was restored and first Wagner was sent to the stands and then Monk. Monk just went straight down the tunnel instead.
That was a bummer but I knew then that we were not going to get anything out of the game sadly. It was a disappointing way to end but we will move on. As I’ve said to others, we need to concentrate on our own performance and just keep getting as many points as we can and see where we end up. On today’s performance town are the best side we have played this season. Things are very tight in the top six and in this division anyone can beat anyone on their day. As I headed to the car, just as I got to the edge of the car park a policeman stood there said “don’t worry, we will still go up!” It was good to get straight out of the car park too and find myself already at home by 2.30 pm!
We have Cardiff at home next week in our first 3.00 pm kick off for a long while. In my opinion that is a traditional time and we should have more kick offs at that time instead of everything moved for the cameras. There should be some way around it that lets our fans around the world still see us and I look forward to the day that travelling fans are thought of when arranging kick off times. See you next week – L:UFC – Marching on Together!