Crystal Palace H 30th November 2021
What a game, what a team performance and what an atmosphere. Credit where it is due, after a battling performance from the lads got them the three points which was matched by the fantastic support from the Leeds United fans. Some of the songs that were aired tonight are on the CDs we have recorded so watch out for launch details on Thursday 2nd December! Thank you to Steve and Liz for buying my new book, United Are Back!
It was good to be back at Elland Road after two long distances away games in a row. That saying, it doesn’t stop our fans from travelling long distances to our home games, with one coming from America and another one travelling to all home games from Cumbria every time. There are plenty of fans that travel from the south of the country too and we are lucky to have such passionate fans to support our team.
Team: Meslier, Cooper, Llorente, Dallas, Phillips, Raphinha, James, Roberts, Klich, Forshaw and Struijk.
Subs: Rodrigo for Klich (45), Firpo for Struijk (45), Cresswell for Roberts (90).
Subs not used: Klaesson, Gelhardt, Harrison, Shackleton, Summerville, Jenkins.
Leeds won the game 1-0 with a penalty by Raphinha (90).
Referee: Kevin Friend.
Booked: Struijk, Firpo, Dallas, Roberts.
Attendance: 35,558 with 1,446 Crystal Palace fans.
It was great to see the Leeds players were up for the game today, fighting for every ball which saw the crowd getting behind them. Starting off well with James looking impressive on the wing, he had a couple of shots, Raphinha saw his shot deflected for a corner and Forshaw saw his shot pass the wrong side of the post. Palace did open us up a few times but our players were launching in for tackles, preventing them from getting too close. A couple of times they did come close to scoring but the Leeds defence held firm to keep them out. Although one shot looked too close for comfort for me, it went wide of the post. Leeds kept attacking but had to contend with going in at half time on level terms.
With Firpo and Rodrigo on for the second half in place of Struijk and Klich, Bielsa was taking no chances with injuries as Struijk had got hurt when he made a tackle but then fouled their player, just before the break. Palace started on the attack and won a free kick which saw Firpo’s name going in the book. Luckily the wall kept them out and their final shot went over the bar. The fans were playing their part upping the atmosphere and it was good to see that the team continued to attack. For once, everyone including the fans looked to be on the same page which was good to see. Dallas was having a blinder in defence with tackles flying in left, right and centre. The Leeds fans were up in arms when James was tackled and it didn’t get us a free kick, then the next challenge on Palace brought the inevitable free kick surprise, surprise. With Leeds pushing forward so much, they were nearly caught out by the fast Palace forwards catching us on the break but luckily the ball at the far post was put wide with an open goal in front of him. That was when I noticed how tall a couple of their players were. With the clock ticking down, we only needed a bit of luck going our way as getting a goal was vital in my opinion.We won a couple of corners as we continued to attack the goal in front of the Kop and then from the third one, everyone was shouting for handball. At first the referee stood firm and ignored the shouts but for once, it was great to see our players remonstrating with the referee that he needed to go and have a second look at that decision. With the Leeds fans chanting VAR, he did indeed go and have a look at the monitor at the side of the pitch. He didn’t take long to realise that there was no mistaking the handball and awarded Leeds a penalty. When Raphinha struck the ball into the net in front of the Kop, the ground erupted with ecstatic Leeds fans celebrating like we had won the league. As goals had been few and far between as of late, it was great to see the ball nestling in the back of the net. Leeds continued to battle in the dying minutes to ensure we got the win and a very welcome three points.
This is what being Leeds is all about, experiencing the win and having that feel good factor back. I absolutely loved it and was just what I needed. Now we have a second home game in a week against Brentford on Sunday that we need to capitalise on. Everyone in the team had played their part today and that is something we can build on. As there are never any easy games in this division, putting on a battling performance is half of the battle. Everyone was buzzing as we left the ground and it really was an excellent feeling getting the win. On meeting up with my sister’s group at Billy’s statue after the game, it was nice to see some Palace fans in high spirits chatting away to them who came across as genuinely nice people. Once again, that is a nice side of football. See you Sunday, LUFC – Marching on Together!