We were later than usual getting to Elland Road for this night game as there seemed to be loads of traffic everywhere. On hearing the M621 was closed in both directions we came off at Tingley instead and got there 40 minutes before kick-off. By the time we’d walked to the ground it was too late to go to the Peacock, although it meant I missed Paul one of my Selby Whites and Simon too who will be heading back to Canada shortly. I missed my sister Erica but managed to see her in the North East lower when I got into the Kop, so was able to have a chat as well as at Billy’s statue after the game. She made me laugh as the last few games she has attended she has gone in the North West, The East upper, North East lower and on Saturday she will be in the West Stand. As she said though, it depended where the available tickets were! With the majority of our mid-week games being on a Tuesday I had to be reminded that today was Wednesday too. Also with having had a very stressful day at work, I was looking forward to the football taking my mind off things. Thank you to the gentleman who said he had enjoyed reading my book; Once a Leeds fan, always a Leeds fan, and I am grateful for the feedback.
The team: Peacock-Farrell, Cooper, Ayling (back from his one game suspension), Phillips, Berardi, Alioski, Saiz, Klich, Roofe, Hernandez and Harrison. Subs were: Dallas for Berardi (27) went off injured, Forshaw for Saiz (57) and Pearce for Harrison (57). Leeds won 2-0 with goals from Roofe (22) and Cooper (66). Attendance was 29,082 with approx. 500 Ipswich fans.
Having done an interview for Amy Downes and her blog Diary of a Tractor Girl, I said I’d no idea where any team was in the league as I only concentrate on Leeds United. Lo and behold what did I keep hearing afterwards? Only that Ipswich were bottom of the table which usually meant teams would play out of their skins against us. It better not be a banana skin tonight!
After hearing that Jansson got a one game ban after his recent comments at the end of the Brentford game, I was fizzing. If I had my way the ref from that game would never have got the chance again due to his absolute incompetence. When Jansson said the word s**t in his post-match interview, which in my view is quite tame in comparison to many swear words these days, then said we were robbed, he was only speaking the truth. As usual there is one rule for Leeds United and one rule for everyone else! It’s getting to feel like it is us against everyone else again as per the -15 season, so if it has to be a siege mentality, then so be it.
As Leeds attacked the South Stand we came close a couple of times. With their goalie out of position, Hernandez’s shot from a long way out was off target. Alioski playing left back put some hard crosses in, with one being saved by their goalie and the rebound just missing Hernandez. Alioski put in quite a few crosses although they were too long, but had plenty of power in them. He made some great runs down the left and I thought he played really well. Berardi got booked for a foul and was lucky to escape a talking to for another foul. I said I wanted to see 90 minutes of blood on their boots and then realised we had already played 20 minutes of the game. I didn’t want to see Berardi get his marching orders though which was always going to be a worry once he got an early booking. I couldn’t tell that Ipswich were bottom of the table though, as I thought they at least tried to play football and there was none of the cheating that had gone on previously with other teams. Just after Ipswich had a header saved by Peacock-Farrell, Leeds took the lead. Saiz battled to win the ball in the centre of the park, passed it out to Hernandez on the right wing whose pass gave Roofe a delightful header that flew into the net. What a relief! That seemed to be the first time we had taken a lead for a while but I could be wrong of course. A few minutes later Berardi went off injured and we had to reshuffle our formation. After the initial euphoria things quietened down on the terraces as the half time whistle blew.
I came back up into the stand to hear the second half had already kicked off (you used to be able to see on the TVs when the team came back out but not anymore). As I got to the top of the steps the Kop shouted hand ball in unison. As I got back to my seat Danielle my daughter said that it was definitely hand ball and right in front of the ref. It wouldn’t have been a penalty though as it was outside the area. As Ipswich attacked the far end, I heard someone say they better not score now! As we started attacking more and more, their goalie ended up being their man of the match for me as he made some fantastic saves to deny us a further goal. Hernandez was playing really well and the team gained confidence as we continued to get behind their defence. We scored a second goal from a corner when the ball was passed across the box and Cooper hit it into the net. We nearly got a third which looked destined for the top corner when Alioski unleashed a fantastic shot, only to see it bounce back out after hitting the top corner of the goalpost. We continued to put Ipswich under pressure and played some really good passing football but on their rare attacks, I was always wary they could pull a goal back. At least it was nice to see they didn’t time waste their way through the game which was a breath of fresh air after recent games. Leeds made a double substitution, with both Forshaw then Pearce coming on. I said that Harrison would go off and Alioski would move forward with Pearce dropping back. Well of course that is what happened so Bielsa and I are on the same wavelength lol.
The win put us back on top of the league and it was good to hear that West Brom had been battered by Derby. Saturday sees us back at Elland Road for the second home game in a few days but a later kick off of 5.30 pm due to being televised live on Sky once again. Hopefully the win will have taken some of the pressure off the team and we can go out and enjoy ourselves, getting another three points. See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together!
Heidi Haigh – A fanatical Leeds United supporter of over 50 years
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
The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17
OUT NOW! Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18