Leeds United v Reading 22nd February 2020 at Elland Road

Being back at Elland Road for the second home game in a week was just the therapy I needed after waking up not feeling well and having to drag myself to the game. Even though the trip was via Rastrick and Wakefield, as usual, once I was back at the ground and amongst our fans, I started to feel better. Whilst taking a photo of some friends, I had to encourage a Reading fan to join in for the photo. When he said I wouldn’t want a Reading fan on the photo, my remark was that I don’t discriminate against anyone and am very inclusive with my photos. With a quick trip to the Peacock, I hadn’t realised there was a queue to the back door as I walked right past everyone until it was pointed out to me. It didn’t take long to get in there though and the Peacock choir were in full voice which was nice to hear. Going into the ground we went via the fan zone so we could hear Paul Wilson performing on the stage. His song The King of Elland Road was used to promote my book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United and my granddaughter Hannah loves singing this.

My walk to the front of the Kop took me to the right place where Argentinian journalist Andrea D’Emilio was just getting her photo taken. She had contacted me a few months back to say she was coming to the game and wanted to meet me. Thank you for a copy of the book she has written Los Locos Del Loco, La Hinchada de Marcelo Bielsa which is appreciated. She signed the book to Heidi a crazy Leeds fan and I can guarantee that I certainly am lol!

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, White, Hernandez, Bamford, Costa, Klich, Phillips, Dallas and Harrison. Subs: Alioski for Phillips (injured 37) and Shackleton for Hernandez (85). Leeds won the game 1-0 with Hernandez scoring the Leeds goal (57). Referee: J. Gillett.  Attendance: 35,483 with 806 Reading fans.

With Leeds turned around at kick-off so that we would be attacking the Kop in the first half, for once I wasn’t unduly worried or superstitious. As I said to someone before the game, I don’t worry about any other club and make my observations on what I see on the pitch. With the weather conditions of heavy winds going to have an impact on the game, it was a case of playing the best we can. Leeds set off on the attack and Costa had a great chance that went wide of the post. After a foul on one of our players, the referee played the advantage and Klich brought a save out of their keeper. What was good to see was the referee then go back and book the player for the foul. The same thing had happened to Ayling previously when he ended up in the book after an advantage to Reading was played. Phillips made a couple of crunching tackles to win the ball as Leeds continued to press forward. Casilla made a good save to keep Reading out just before the half hour mark. Phillips was treated for an injury and sadly not long afterwards had to be replaced by Alioski. That was such a shame as he’d been playing well once again, but hopefully the injury isn’t going to be too bad although he was still limping at the end of the game. Dallas switched sides as Leeds reshuffled the team but continued to attack and were very unlucky to go into the break on equal terms due to good defending and goalkeeping. One attack had stood out when our player was in an offside position but stood back as another one took the ball forward. The linesman to our left immediately put his flag up as the Leeds fans were going mad saying the one offside hadn’t touched the ball. I wasn’t sure if the referee overruled him and we played on as I couldn’t see to be sure, so hopefully someone else can clarify what happened.

Leeds started the second half on the attack too, coming close with shots from both Klich and Costa going wide. Bamford was the next to have a shot saved before Leeds took the lead through Hernandez at the second attempt. With his first shot blocked, the ball rebounded for him to hit the ball into the top corner of the goal to the delight of the Leeds United fans. Reading had been dealt with mostly as our players closed them down, but they won a free kick when their player was already on his way down before anyone touched him. Justice was served as their player blasted the ball way over the goal to the cheers of the Leeds fans. Hernandez’s free kick brought a great save out of their keeper as we limited Reading’s chances. In the last minutes of the game though, Casilla made a great save to ensure we got the win right at the death. Another three points which is good to see in our challenge for automatic promotion. With two away games at both Boro and Hull, just play to our strengths and don’t give up. We can do this Leeds! 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

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