Leeds United v Sheffield Wednesday 11th January 2020 at Elland Road

It took a while to get going this morning but as I knew I’d got an excited little girl waiting to be picked up, I had to get a move on. Alexis couldn’t wait to wear her new Leeds United kit she got for Christmas, said she was never going to take it off and as she looked so cute in it, I knew what she meant. There were plenty of queues of traffic along Elland Road two hours before kick-off which quite surprised me. With a new park and ride from Junction 45 of the M1 being trialled today, which although the opposite direction from us, should be a good thing to ease congestion around the ground in the future. After a visit to the Peacock first we headed into the ground in good time. As we stood outside the Kop entrances getting our bags searched, a police bike skidded past on the other side of the fence. A few seconds later a double decker bus appeared with everyone banging on the windows and going mad. It’s a good job the windows stayed intact otherwise lots of the Wednesday fans would have met the tarmac with a bang! For once they had sold all their tickets for the game.

The team: Casilla, Cooper, White, Dallas, Douglas, Bamford, Costa, Klich, Phillips, Harrison and Ayling. Subs: Alioski for Douglas (56), Hernandez for Klich (66) and Stevens for Costa (75). Attendance was 36,422 with 2,644 Wednesday fans. Leeds lost the game 2-0.

I didn’t read a lot of the comments on social media as it looked like many had already made their minds up about today’s game and not in a good way. It was better to go with a clear mind and as usual make my mind up about what I see on the pitch. With Garry Monk back once again with the opposition I thought we wouldn’t let him get the better of us again. Sadly, I was wrong. The first thing that went against us was being turned around to attack the Kop in the first half. Now I assumed that we had lost the toss, but have read on social media since that we won the toss meaning Cooper turned us around? Hopefully someone will clarify if that was the case. I’m sorry, I don’t care if it was to take advantage of the wind, but if that was the reason then it made a psychological disadvantage as we should always kick towards the Kop in the second half from our perspective.

Leeds started brightly enough with a couple of off target shots, before Wednesday had a chance with a header that was off target too before another chance was put wide. Bamford brought a save out of their keeper before Harrison had a great chance that went past the post. There was some lovely footwork where we ran rings round some of the Wednesday players and when Harrison passed the ball through to Klich, the linesman put his flag up as Bamford’s header hit the back of the net. Apparently, it was Klich who was offside in the build-up. Once again Bamford had the ball in the net only to see a goal disallowed. Their keeper kept Wednesday in the game just before half time with saves from Harrison and Bamford. Costa’s late chance was blasted over the bar as we went in on equal terms. The atmosphere on the terraces had been quiet at times and I just wanted us to sing and get behind the team. It felt like there was a lot of anxiousness on the terraces which I didn’t want to affect the players.

The second half saw Bamford with a great chance after Costa crossed from the byline but this time the chance didn’t go his way. Wednesday had a similar chance shortly after before nearly taking the lead from a corner. Even though we had a player on the line marking one of theirs, Casilla scooped the ball out from over their heads. Leeds still had chances which didn’t come to fruition and their keeper saved from Klich. The atmosphere was a lot better in the second half. When Alioski was ready to come on as sub I thought it was going to be Douglas going off. He seemed to be very slow with some of his judgements today although he didn’t play badly. Cooper started doing that a bit later too even though we were still managing to create spaces. When Wednesday started dropping like flies, it was good to see the referee refusing to let their trainers onto the field. A couple of good decisions there to stop time wasting by the opposition. Just after that, Bannan’s cramp miraculously disappeared as he ran to the opposite end of the field, so it was a good decision for once. Their first goal came after White had won the ball and was running forward with it before losing it. Cooper ran back to mark their player and I thought if he’d just stayed where he was their player may have been offside. Unfortunately, he ran on and beat Casilla at the near post to put them into the lead three minutes from time. With five minutes of stoppage time and the Leeds fans roaring the team on, I was hopeful of an equaliser. When Wednesday got the ball on the right-hand side and crossed the ball, the lad beside me said “this is the second” which it turned out to be. Well and truly beaten in the end which is football sadly. I didn’t think they were better than us on the day, but we need to put our chances away. If Bamford’s goal would have stood in the first half it could have been a different game but wasn’t to be. Lots of Leeds fans have got a déjà vu feeling about the season but that depends on whether anyone is brought in during the transfer window. I’m not accepting defeat at this stage of the season, as there is still a long way to go but there were plenty of boos around us at the end of the game as we stayed until the bitter end. All we can do at this moment in time is wait and see what happens and be there to support them as we do.

Having met some Irish fans who had left home at 5.00am this morning for the game, we will be in the same position next week with our visit to QPR. With it being a 12.30pm kick off, it means another long day for us travelling to London. With another sell-out crowd from the Leeds fans, our loyalty is second to none. 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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