Waking up to the sun shining made it feel like a good day for football. As Leeds United have another sell out home crowd, today is going to be buzzing around Elland Road and I can’t wait. Talking of not waiting is my granddaughter Hannah. When I picked her up last night I didn’t even get in her house as she put her things straight in the car and said we were off. Admittedly only to my house first but ready for the game today lol! She was soooo excited to be coming to Elland Road and also had brought her spare Leeds shirt to be signed by the players. Oh dear that means I’m not going to be going straight home after the game but heading for the players entrance! A new generation of Leeds fans getting a good start in life being brought up the right way though.
After the defeat at Millwall last week, things looked up with our midweek cup game at Burnley where we won on penalties. I was resigned to the defeat but ecstatic with the win! The different emotions of being a Leeds United fan but I wouldn’t change supporting them for the world as they have been part of my life for over 50 years. I would just like to say that I hope the two Leeds fans who got beaten up outside the Den at Millwall have recovered from their injuries. Sadly by taking a wrong turn they ended up getting beaten up by their fans baying for blood just for being in the wrong place. This is the one thing that I do not want to end up being the norm again; it’s better left in the past.
I’ve had some proud moments this week; I appeared on the phone link to the new Made in Leeds phone in on Monday evening where Josh Warrington commented and agreed with what I said. Thanks Josh. When I asked tongue in cheek as to whether my promotion for season tickets interview on LUTV at the end of May helped with season ticket sales, I was told it certainly did and I should ask for commission next time! Thirdly my comment about getting a rollicking off my hubby for getting a £19 phone bill for ringing the Leeds United ticket office was picked up. This ended up with the announcement yesterday that the phone number was changing to 0371 334 1992 instead of 0871 so no more ripping fans off. Excellent things happening at the club and shows they are listening to fans.
I was supposed to be meeting Kristine from Norway but unfortunately due to an illness in her family she hasn’t made it to the game today and my good wishes go to her and a speedy recovery to her family member. I did meet some other Norwegians in the Peacock though along with a West Coast White from the USA. With it being a full house this normally means lots of our overseas fans attending including our Irish fans as we followed a car from Ireland off the M621. We went into the ground in good time today and for once there were no queues. It was possible many were still in the fans zone and as we passed it, Marching on Together was blaring out over the speakers.
We had a catch up with Susan, Debbie and James before Hannah went to our seats whilst I stayed lower down the Kop ready to take my photos. I then saw Trampas lower down so went down to have a chat and a catch up. I stayed there initially as the team came out as it was closer for the photos.
The team today was Wiedwald, Ayling, Anita, Cooper (back from injury), Shaughnessy, O’Kane, Phillips, Saiz, Alioski, Lasogga and Hernandez. Subs were Berardi for Anita (60), Dallas for Hernandez (76) and Grot for Lasogga (86). Leeds won 3-2 with goals from Lasogga, (13), Philips (32) and a Bialkowski own goal on 67 minutes. Ipswich scorers were McGoldrick (30) and Garner (71). Attendance was 34,002 with 693 Ipswich fans.
Leeds started off brightly attacking the South Stand as the Leeds fans were in full voice. We put pressure on Ipswich and within 13 minutes we were ahead. Shaughnessy put a great through ball to Lasogga and I was poised to take that perfect photo only for fans to jump up in front of me as he put the ball into the net! Still that was a good start to the game. We didn’t really build on this as Ipswich were still in the game and the majority of it was end to end. When Ipswich won a free kick to the left of the goal it was a small push on their player who went down like a sack of spuds! It was a soft free kick to give away which then resulted in an equaliser when their player had a free header to put the ball into the left hand corner. That was a disappointment but no sooner had the Ipswich fans started celebrating when Phillips ran onto the ball in their penalty area, got the ball round the keeper and put it into the net to restore our lead. That was a welcome goal within a minute to keep us in front on the day. We had a great chance to go further in the lead when Saiz got the ball in space at the edge of the box and I expected him to blast it into the net but he took too long so the chance went. I’d wondered where Anita was for their goal but he certainly prevented Ipswich getting a second equaliser just before the break when he was on the near post to head the ball off the line. Phew!
The second half saw Leeds head into it with the one goal cushion and we didn’t have it all our way. With our defence doing some great passing to each other and also using our sweeper keeper, at times this got too close for comfort. Wiedwald went haring down the left hand side and got to the ball first with one Ipswich attack. Rather than blast the ball out for a throw in he played a skilful pass around their player and to one of our players. We weren’t so lucky at times as Ipswich came very close and at times won the ball to put us under pressure. We were still coming out of defence and putting in some great crosses which Saiz and Alioski were running onto although it was a shame we didn’t have a go with a first time ball a couple of times. By taking too long we looked as if we were trying to walk the ball into the net giving Ipswich time to get back and stop us. That first time shot would have caught them unawares. All was not lost though and when Hernandez sent a corner over from the left hand side the ball ended up in the net courtesy of an own goal. I couldn’t see what happened but with the Leeds fans singing it’s your keeper’s fault I assumed he dropped the ball and it went over the line. Unfortunately today saw the scoreboard out of action so I’d no idea how long was left. If we thought having a 3-1 lead meant it was game over, we were sadly wrong. Ipswich attacked the far goal and although Wiedwald saved the first shot it went straight to an Ipswich player to put it into the net and claw a second goal back. As it was there was approx. 20 minutes to play plus injury time as Ipswich put up a fight to get an equaliser. Leeds kept breaking away with some great moves although the finishes didn’t match as we took one pass too many before shooting.
We managed to hold on though and keep our place at the top of the league and at the end of the day; all that counts is that we had a win and another three points. I thought we did enough to win the game though and it was the complete opposite of the Millwall game where we were under the cosh for 90 minutes. The one thing I like about Christiansen is that he always goes onto the pitch at the end of the game to thank everyone but then leaves and lets the team receive the plaudits.
In the ladies at the end of the game there are some women who have no idea how the queuing works. There are two doors and we always queue half and half with each queue using the cubicles on one side and two in the middle. Now this has worked every game for years and years but somehow when we get a lot of new people attending we get some irate women for whom common sense goes out of the window. What I don’t expect to see is a female thinking it is alright to barge into another Leeds fan and assault her (my daughter) to prove some point as she didn’t think our queue should take precedence. It was also someone old enough to know better. This is out of order and as with the women who thought it was okay to push me in the back twice at Burnley, this is not what being Leeds is all about! No one is perfect but a little give and take and knowing how things work can go a long way to not reacting aggressively when there really is no need.
Hannah and I headed for the players entrance and I was surprised that the barriers weren’t already up although it didn’t take long before they were. I saw the Irish lads wearing their hats with badges on so I got their photos. It was nice seeing the Galway and Portsmouth Whites and a big thank you for my chocolates and badge. I’d already caught the sight of their hats in the West Stand and taken a photo. When Lasogga came out it was good to hear that his wife had given birth to a little girl yesterday as I asked him in German if it was a girl or a boy. Congratulations to them both. There were a few fans there as well as Hannah waiting to see Saiz so it was nice to see them happy once he’d signed autographs and had some photos taking. A funny thing happened just before Saiz got there as Eunan O’Kane was just coming to where we were This girl was getting really excited to see Eunan and as she went to get a selfie this women laughed and said it was his wife. I wasn’t quick enough to get a photo though! As we were leaving I didn’t see Pontus pass us but Hannah saw him. As fans shouted him he didn’t hang around as he ran up the steps to the Fullerton Park area. Hopefully his injury isn’t too bad then!
Some fans don’t seem to have been happy with the performance today but I’m happy we got the three points. When I think of all the times in recent years that we had a full house and found the team didn’t turn up at all, I think we have come on in leaps and bounds. I’m proud of how far we have come and yes there will be ups and downs along the way but we have to just “Keep Fighting!” I’ll take each game as it comes and we have another couple of big ones with Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday to contend with. Time will tell how we do but I’m going for a good couple of games going our way. Next weekend sees the practice session of singing the old Leeds songs from the terraces. I’m just in the process of rearranging and updating the words ready for this but am looking forward to the run through. Prior to this is the LUST AGM so it is going to be a busy weekend. See you there – LUFC – Marching on Together!