Leeds United v West Ham 25th September 2021 at Elland Road

West Ham H 25th September 2021

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Centenary Whites at The Commercial, Churwell 24th September 2021

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I was still buzzing when heading to Elland Road, after seeing the Centenary Whites band playing at the Commercial, Churwell last night. It was a fantastic evening seeing the band wearing Leeds shirts, singing Leeds songs (along with the fans of course) and also, the Leeds United football family coming together with those who had travelled over from Norway and Ireland for the game today. Thank you for all the positive comments about my blog and photos which are appreciated. The Centenary Whites are performing again at the Irish Centre, Leeds on 19th November 2021 and it would be great for other Leeds fans to buy tickets to watch them, as they are definitely worth going to see. I also made an appearance on Radio 5 Live during the event but had to stand outside to make myself heard. I also appeared on the programme again tonight as they wanted a before and after the game chat with me.

As we were on the roundabout coming off the M621, I suddenly realised that I had left my phone on charge at home! Not a good idea when I had to pick my son up from the airport after the game but luckily my granddaughter was able to send him a message. As I got out of the car, I reached in my bag for my beret to realise I’d taken it out earlier and put it on the chair ready to put on my head. Yes, I’d left that at home too. Being on cloud 9 obviously meant I’d already lost the plot today! On arrival at the ground, we headed to the Peacock but never got into the garden today as we started chatting with others and before we knew it, it wasn’t long until kick off. Well today also marks a momentous occasion for us ladies in the Kop because after such a long time, we have finally joined the 21st century and got toilet seats on the loos. My granddaughter was horrified that I took a photo (of a clean one I may add), but it had to be done. Instead of us being second class citizens, things are heading in the right direction lol! Despite an extra drier appearing, others said can we now have proper driers that actually dry our hands.

Team: Meslier, Cooper, Raphinha, James, Shackleton, Cresswell, Dallas, Rodrigo, Klich, Phillips and Firpo.

Subs: Harrison for James (45), Roberts for Raphinha (69), Summerville for Shackleton (90).

Subs not used: Klaesson, Greenwood, Gelhardt, Drameh, Hjelde, McCarron.

Leeds lost the game 2-1 with Leeds taking the lead with Raphinha scoring (19).

Attendance: 36,417 with 2,913 West Ham fans.

Referee: Kevin Friend.

Booked: Raphinha, Meslier, Roberts.

As the game kicked off, West Ham were immediately on the attack and their first shot was inches wide. Meslier then made a couple of great saves to stop West Ham taking an early lead. That was when I realised it was going to be a battle today. I admit I don’t take any notice of any other teams as I only concentrate on Leeds United, so I don’t know much about West Ham as a team apart from Declan Rice due to Kalvin’s involvement in the Euros. After the early pressure, Leeds took the game to West Ham and Dallas had a shot tipped over the bar and the keeper also saved from Raphinha. Leeds then took the lead after a great run by Rodrigo down the wing saw him pass to Klich who in turn passed to Raphinha. He was in a great position in the centre of the goal to send the ball into the net as Elland Road erupted. Raphinha was so unlucky not to get a second goal shortly afterwards as this time the ball came back off the post and away. The best form of defence is attack showed for me approximately 10 minutes before half time, when Leeds started defending deeper. With West Ham having not being in the game for a while, this invited them to start attacking us. We were very lucky when their player was through with only Meslier to beat, who made a great save to keep them out once again. He then made another save just before the whistle blew. It had been a good game so far and Raphinha had been playing really well. For me, Cresswell is going to have a great future partnership in central defence with Struijk and is captain material.

Harrison replaced James at half time. It wasn’t long before West Ham were awarded a free kick in a good position. As they passed the ball forward which Leeds won easily, the referee brought the free kick back to be played again. This decision looked to have back fired on us when they put the ball into the net with Meslier laid out on the ground. After lengthy treatment for Meslier, VAR did get involved and the referee went to look at the monitor before changing his mind and not awarding a goal. He also booked their player after the replay was shown on the big screen (although I missed it) with everyone going nuts because of an elbow to Meslier’s face. That should have been a sending off not a yellow card if that was the case. Meslier made another save and then Leeds attacked with good play between Raphinha and Rodrigo setting up the chance for Klich who saw their keeper tip the ball wide of the post. Rodrigo saw his shot saved by the keeper from the corner. West Ham got a lucky equaliser when a cross was deflected into the net by Firpo, but their attack came from Leeds being caught in possession in the middle of the pitch. We had won the ball back only to take too much time to move the ball forward. We started defending deeper again and it made me think though, that we needed some breathing space. The pace had been relentless with plenty of end-to-end football but again, it invited West Ham to attack us. As I was hoping that we could still get a winner, at that moment I would have taken a draw. With moments of the game left, West Ham again got a ball over our defence which proved to be our downfall as they put the ball into the net for the winner on 90 minutes. Again though, I thought we had been too careless with a pass before they won the ball. I was expecting at least eight minutes injury time due to Meslier’s lengthy treatment and all the subs, only to see five minutes on the clock. Sadly, we didn’t manage to pull a goal back as Leeds lost the game. We deserved something out of the game today and at this moment I am not too worried that we can’t put things right. Those feelings may change soon though as we really need that win.

I couldn’t believe that once again double standards have been shown by the referee who is not a friend of Leeds, by booking Raphinha for celebrating our goal in front of the South Stand. Apparently, it was for him going into the crowd so if so, why didn’t he do the same when West Ham celebrated their goals with their fans? He also booked Meslier who went mad after he had been hit again after the earlier elbow. Why was their manager not booked for encroaching on the pitch?

We waited at Billy’s statue for members of my family and whilst we stood there chatting, heard a noise on Elland Road before realising they had let the West Ham fans out. I said that they must have come by train, but the “escort” looked non existent with a few police and some on horseback with them. Eventually we set off back to the car in the same direction after we’d hung back a bit and suddenly thought it was kicking off up ahead, but then there were loads of police just stood alongside the road outside McDonalds which surprised me. A bit further on there was more things going on and the police came racing up behind us to get there. Some Leeds fans were very angry that the West Ham fans despite swearing and carrying on at them as they waited for a lift, were told to move on nicely whilst Leeds fans were told to get out of the way. After the way Leeds fans are treated away from home, we know for certain that would not have happened if it was our fans in an escort. It was quite an eye opener for me because the way our police were acting, was not effective and they looked out of their depth.

Next week sees a must win game for us when Watford come to Elland Road so keep the faith and see what happens then. See you then, LUFC – Marching on Together!