Leeds United v Stoke City 27th August 2019, second round of the Carabao Cup at Elland Road

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I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who took the time to ask me how my husband and grandson are doing. My husband is recovering from cancer but making good progress although still very tired and I’m hoping to get him back to a game at Elland Road very soon. My grandson Freddie was taken back into neonatal intensive care again but has made improvements today so we hope he is on the mend. He is showing some spirit by pulling his tubes out, which is a good sign. Also it was nice to say hello to those people who introduced themselves to me today, asked about my books, mentioned the documentary or follow my blogs. As always I appreciate your support. It was a poignant catch up with one of my Selby Whites’s family on their first visit to Elland Road since his death.

I’d brought all three granddaughters to this game with the special price of £1 each extra for their seats. Danielle my daughter was in our normal seats together with Hannah and Alexis whilst I went to the front of the stand with Laura. We had a good view though and luckily when it did rain it didn’t reach us.

The team: Casilla, Berardi (captain), Phillips, McCalmont (making his first start), Davis, Nketiah, Costa, Mateusz Bogusz (making his debut), Douglas, Clarke and Shackleton. Subs: White for Shackleton (45), Harrison for Clarke (45) and Forshaw for McCalmont (45). Leeds drew 2-2 after 90 minutes with Nketiah (67) and Costa (81) getting Leeds back into the game after being 2-0 down. Leeds lost 5-4 on penalties with Douglas, Phillips, Costa and Nketiah scoring. Attendance was 30,002 with 811 Stoke fans.

After our 3-0 win at Stoke last Saturday there were always going to be changes to the team with some of our youngsters coming in. This was also the chance for Nketiah and Costa to get some game time having been used as substitutes for the last couple of games. Stoke started the game on the attack and had a couple of chances before Leeds started to get into the game more. Shackleton sent over a great cross which ended with Douglass’s shot inches away from finding the top corner of the goal. Then Davis’s header towards goal was deflected into their goalie’s hands. We were so unlucky not to take the lead in the 25th minute when first Berardi won possession before Shackleton passed to Clarke. The resulting pass from Clarke saw Nketiah hit a stunning shot that hit the post and bounced out. That buildup in itself deserved a goal. Leeds carried on attacking and then against the run of play Stoke scored their first goal from a corner before getting a second a few minutes later. As the Stoke fans celebrated including Les a friend of mine, it was hard for Leeds as we’d seen plenty of the ball but obviously we need to take our chances.

The second half saw a tale of two halves as Bielsa made a triple substitution to change the game. He was definitely not just having us turning up but wanted to make a positive impact. This had the desired effect as the Leeds fans urged their team on. Nketiah’s cross was just too far for Harrison to get on the end of as we had a couple of good chances. Butland made a good save from Bogusz’s long range shot as Leeds limited Stoke’s attacks. Butland then was caught out as Nketiah ran at him as he prepared to kick the ball up field. His kick hit his own defender which gave Nketiah the chance to run at goal, round Butland before putting the ball into the net. I’d said if we got one goal we’d get another as Leeds continued to attack and with nine minutes left we got the equaliser. Davis’s cross was met by Costa at the back post to head the ball home. In the second half the Leeds crowd were in uproar as Stoke tried their time wasting tactics by going down and having the trainer come on a couple of times. When they tried to do it again, I wasn’t the only one screaming at the ref to leave their player on the floor and ignore him. Eventually he did just that which was good to see as that was one thing last season that drove me nuts. With both teams coming close in the final minutes with six minutes of injury time to play, the scores were level as the whistle blew meaning the tie went immediately to penalties. There is no longer any extra time first.

Stoke took the first penalty in front of the Kop and scored all five of theirs including one from Butland their keeper. I thought there was a new rule when he took one and expected Casilla to step up for our fifth which went to Harrison instead. After Douglas, Costa, Phillips and Nketiah had been successful in scoring theirs, Leeds lost the tie on penalties after Harrison’s effort hit the post. It was a shame but despite the loss the crowd chanted his name. I wasn’t too despondent as we’d put up a fight in the second half and made a game of it. That puts the Carabao Cup to bed for this season as Stoke progress to the next round.

Saturday sees us play Swansea at home before the international break is upon us once again. This will see a top of the table clash and I’m looking forward to the game. See you then, 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 soon: Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United

 Website: www.followmeandleedsunited.co.uk Twitter: @FollowMeAndLUFC Facebook: Follow Me and Leeds United: Instagram: Heidi Haigh – lufcheidi @followmeandleedsunited