Leicester v Leeds United 31st January 2021 at the King Power Stadium

Photo taken from our visit to the King Power Stadium 24th October 2017

After another night, this week where I was wide awake till gone 4.00am, I suppose I should be thankful I did not have to be in Leeds a few hours later to travel to the game. There again, I would much rather have been there with our fans as I can always sleep on the coach.

Team: Meslier, Cooper, Struijk, Ayling, Alioski, Phillips, Dallas, Rodrigo, Harrison, Bamford and Raphinha. Subs: Klich for Rodrigo (injured 21), and Costa for Raphinha (injured 80). Subs not used: Casilla, Roberts, Shackleton, Poveda, Hernandez, Davis and Charlie Cresswell. Leeds won the game 3-1 with goals from Dallas (15), Bamford (71) and Harrison (84). Attendance: Zero – behind closed doors. Referee: C. Kavanagh.

Alioski was penalised for a foul which gave Leicester an early free kick to the right of the penalty area, but they went for a shot that went straight over the bar. Bamford was being tightly marked and given no room with at least three Leicester players crowding him out. I thought it was a nice touch from Leicester when it was announced they were wearing black armbands for laundry lady Sheila Kent, who had worked at the club for 40 years.

Leeds had a good move but the final ball to Bamford was just out of his reach. Sadly, Leicester took an early lead in the 13th minute. It was a simple move in the end after our ball across the pitch was too short. Leicester ran through the middle and we were caught out as they were too fast, and the ball was put wide of Meslier to score. My heart sank at that moment.

As Ayling went on a run down the wing shortly afterwards and passed to Bamford I shouted for us to get an instant reply. Well, I got my wish as within two minutes of them scoring Bamford gave a pinpoint pass to Dallas who hit a sweet strike past their keeper Schmeichel an ex-Leeds player. What a goal and just what we needed! Dallas had scored in the home defeat by Leicester earlier in the season too.

Rodrigo went down injured after he stretched for a ball and eventually Leeds put the ball out for him to get treatment. I just thought no, please don’t let anyone go off injured today as it was very important, we kept a settled side. My heart sank again when another goal went in for Leicester but cheered up immediately when the flag went up for offside in what was an important decision for us. Sadly, Rodrigo went down injured again and did have to go off going straight down the tunnel for further treatment. At least I was happy that Klich came on as his replacement. It was a shame a ball didn’t bounce high enough to go over their keeper’s head and into the goal for us. Harrison wasn’t strong enough to keep the ball on the wing but chased back immediately to prevent the ball going out for a corner.

A few minutes later a great cross over to Harrison saw him hit the ball first time without hesitation which brought a good save out of their keeper to give Leeds a corner. As Klich put the ball into the net from close range after the keeper made a great save from a Bamford header, we saw the flag had gone up after Klich had strayed offside. Leeds kept up the pressure as the keeper had to make another great save from Raphinha to stop us taking the lead. Meslier was then called into action to boot the ball away as we looked open at the back and then smothered another shot shortly after. Leicester were forced to make a change just before the break due to their player having a groin injury. Ayling ended up in the book when he brought their man down with his arm as there was no way he was catching him. Is he suspended now? I was not sure for certain.

In the closing minutes of the half Leeds won a free kick when they were all over Bamford after loads had been given to them, but we weren’t able to keep the ball after they cleared our corner. I was desperate for them not to score before the whistle went for half time as Leeds crowded them out in the penalty area. I breathed a sigh of relief after they nearly got through again but Meslier saved the first shot and pounced on the ball at the second attempt on just before injury time. Well done Leeds, keep them out at all costs. It was nice to see their player not make a meal out of it after staying down when Alioski stood on top of his foot as the advantage was played. A good move from Leeds saw Harrison run out of pitch to cross the ball which was a shame, as the last minutes of injury time seemed to drag but we went in at half time on level terms.

Leicester made another change at the start of the second half as they started on the attack and put Leeds under pressure.  We must watch our back line as Struijk made a great block for a corner but there was no one marking their two spare men in front of Meslier. Ayling needed treatment for bleeding on his forehead as play carried on whilst he was getting treatment. I didn’t see what had happened though. Meslier made a couple of vital saves with some brave keeping. I thought Cooper was in danger of being sucked in to conceding free kicks when he was penalised for a foul; he’d been lucky Leicester weren’t awarded a penalty when he pulled their player’s shirt in the penalty area and brought him down. Luckily for us VAR and Mike Dean said no problem as play carried on.

Leicester were still on the attack as Dallas went to left back to cover for Alioski who ran forwards. Meslier had to make a couple more saves to keep them out before Dallas was booked for bringing their player down when beaten. Good play from Struijk in defence then saw him flying through the air from a foul further up the pitch which won Leeds a free kick. After all the Leicester attacking suddenly, Leeds took charge of the game after winning the ball back then three passes and the ball was in the net.  A pinpoint pass from Raphinha saw Bamford hit a fantastic shot into the top right of the goal to put us into the lead with 14 minutes of normal time left. Absolutely brilliant Leeds.

Leicester looked to make another change, but their player did not come straight on as they upped the pressure again with Leeds now leading. Klich’s late challenge saw us get another yellow card. From the resulting free kick Phillips at the far post was caught out as their player got in behind him to cross the ball which we put out for a corner. It was a heart in our mouths time as the ball came across the box, as they had two unmarked players bearing down on the back post but were able to breathe a sigh of relief as the ball went wide. A great save from Meslier, plus he caught another at the second attempt, kept Leicester out as they did not stop the pressure. Some good defending from Raphinha saw us battling as a team to keep them out. Raphinha was injured which saw Costa coming on to replace him and Leicester made their third substitution at the same time.

Leeds won a corner and Leicester had to kick the ball off the line to keep us out. Another fantastic run from Bamford after a pinpoint pass from Klich, saw him through and as their player nearly caught up with him in the penalty area, he passed the ball across to Harrison in a better position to stick the ball into the net to put Leeds 3-1 up with six minutes remaining. A classic Leeds goal, Struijk defending, then attack and in the goal at the other end in seconds. Loved it! Get in Leeds that will hopefully see us win the game. Bamford was injured in the final minutes, but he said afterwards that it was cramp so that is a relief. He was my man of the match which was also confirmed by Sky. That was a great win for us as Leicester had been unbeaten in seven games and were riding high amongst the top teams of the table. Although our position in the table had not changed, we have 29 points and are only four points off the top six places. Keep going Leeds, keep aiming for the top and having those fantastic goals to cheer today makes it all worthwhile. LUFC – Marching on Together!