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As I left Rastrick with my granddaughter Alexis, the heavens opened into monsoon weather. I wasn’t looking forward to the journey to Elland Road or the thought of being outside in it. As it was I didn’t have any reason to worry because severe traffic issues at a standstill both on the motorway and around the ground ensured we didn’t get to the game until after kick-off. That was probably caused by a bad judgment on my part as I thought it would be easier to get Alexis her McDonalds at the White Rose Centre. Well that part was fine and it was nice to bump into one of our Welsh Whites who said his journey over the tops had been horrendous. Leaving the White Rose saw a 45 minute journey to our parking spot at Elland Road so by the time we got in the ground the game had kicked off. Luckily we hadn’t missed anything although I didn’t get my customary photos of the team coming out with the mascots so apologies for those who like seeing those. We did miss the cat on the pitch though that had to be removed from the ground.
The team: Casilla, Ayling, Berardi, Phillips (back from suspension), Hernandez, Bamford, Klich, Harrison, Costa, White and Dallas. Subs: Alioski for Harrison (69), Struijik (making his debut) for Costa (91) and Douglas for Klich (96). Attendance was 35,200 with 1,512 Hull fans. Leeds won 2-0 with an own goal from De Wijs (73) and Alioski scoring the second (82).
It took me another 10 minutes before there was enough break in play to get my glasses out. Although Leeds were seeing a lot of the ball, some of our passing wasn’t always on target. That said Hull were making it difficult for us with some really tight marking which we got around with some lovely touches. Hernandez was denied a goal by their keeper after a great one two with Costa had put him in a great position to get the shot in. When Hull had a shot from the corner that hit the side netting, their fans thought they’d scored. The Leeds fans retaliated with some gallows humour cheering and pretending to score a goal. At the other end Leeds came close when Berardi got on the end of a Phillip’s corner and put the shot narrowly wide. Although Leeds had a few more shots, none were on target.
It was only at the start of the second half that I realised Hull had turned us around at the start of the game. Very observant! Hull were still marking us tightly leaving it a slightly frustrating game, not helped by the referee at times. Hull were getting into the game more and trying to attack having a couple of shots and at that point I thought we should change things. As it was Bielsa thought differently and as usual I trusted his judgement. The ground had gone silent again and I said we needed to up the singing so as not to affect the players. As the crowd started getting behind them Costa found his goal chalked off due to offside. I’d seen the flag go up straight away before he put the ball into the net which was a shame. I said “right Leeds, we’d better score again then.” One of their players did a blatant dive in the penalty area right in front of us trying to get a penalty and got plenty of boos for his effort. One of their attackers looked out of breath and I was sure that our fitness levels would get the better of them in the end, although at that time it looked like a goalless draw was on the cards. Hull had been making things very difficult for us to get any flow to our play going. With our next attack we did indeed get a goal courtesy of an own goal from a Hull player after Costa’s cross wrong footed their keeper. I wasn’t worried about any of Hull’s attacks after we went in front as our players were backing each other up and fighting for the ball. I thought Ayling and Berardi had played exceptionally well and made some really important tackles. Alioski came on as sub and a few minutes later Casilla made a fantastic save with the help of Bamford to keep Hull out. With that, Leeds raced to the South Stand down the right hand side of the pitch. Klich passed the ball to Bamford in the middle and unfortunately his shot hit the post and came back out to Alioski on the left. Alioski then smashed the ball into the net to give us that second goal. I had no doubts that we would see the game out now despite six minutes of injury time. I only realised their keeper had gone down after we had scored and was receiving treatment. Shame on the Hull player for trying to get Bamford into bother afterwards by saying he had deliberately run into their keeper (you’re too sh*t to play for Leeds comes to mind as I couldn’t even remember him such was the lack of impact he made here). Replays later showed Bamford had swerved round the keeper without touching him. Get your facts right first I would say.
The win made this seven wins out of seven as Bielsa carries on emulating Don Revie. Thanks to Alison for buying one lucky person my new book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United as a Christmas present. Saturday sees another home game this time against Cardiff. Well I aim to be there very early for this one as I am heading to the Merrion Centre first with my granddaughter Laura for the LUFCTrust AGM and also catching up with the new items in the Centenary Exhibition. See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together!
Author of the following books:
- Follow Me and Leeds United
- Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan
- Co-author with Andrew Dalton of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United, Leeds United in the 1980s
- The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17
- Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18
- Out now: Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United
Website: www.followmeandleedsunited.co.uk Twitter: @FollowMeAndLUFC Facebook: Follow Me and Leeds United: Instagram: Heidi Haigh – lufcheidi @followmeandleedsunited