Norwich A 31st October 2021
With another 4.45am early morning call for the long trip to Norwich, I was grateful for the reminder of the clocks going back giving us an extra hour in bed. Knowing me, I’d have been at Elland Road an hour earlier than needed otherwise. We had a good trip down to Norfolk, stopping at Thetford before arriving at the ground just as the rain stopped. Thinking it was going to be cold, I took my coat into the ground but should have left it on the coach as it was warm where I was stood. On the other hand, my daughter Dani ended up frozen as she was stood next to the wall at the side of the stand. Once again, the power of being amongst my friends remains good therapy, well apart from the two stood next to me in the ground who took exception to me taking photos. Firstly, I was told by one that I should be watching the game and secondly the other one said that I was stopping him from watching the game by trying for less than 20 seconds to get past him to my seat. Now I appreciate the game had kicked off for the second half, but there was really no need to be so antagonistic. I can’t say I’ve seen them before, so I didn’t know them and despite not knowing me they obviously took issue with me. I know I can’t please everyone when writing my blogs and taking photos, but this is done for those fans who appreciate being part of the football day out. I don’t need to explain myself to anyone, so I just thought sod you, and shook my head. I carried on singing, chanting, taking my photos and supporting my team like I always do. I don’t need anyone telling me how I should support my team thank you very much. It’s very rare for me to say anything against our fans but the response from those two pales into insignificance, with the response of fans who loved having their photos taken today.
Team: Meslier, Cooper, James, Rodrigo, Raphinha, Harrison, Dallas, Phillips, Shackleton, Llorente and Struijk.
Subs: Drameh for Shackleton (injured 71), Forshaw for James (77), Roberts for Rodrigo (88).
Subs not used: Klaesson, Cresswell, Summerville, Gelhardt, Hjelde, Klich.
Leeds won the game 2-1 with all the goals coming in a four-minute spell in the second half. Raphinha (56) putting Leeds into the lead and Rodrigo (60) getting the winner after Norwich had equalised from a corner two minutes earlier.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.
Attendance: 26,913 with 2,300 Leeds fans.
Booked: Rodrigo. Harrison, Shackleton. Drameh.
Before the start, the last post was played 1as soldiers and Chelsea pensioners came together with the crowd to remember our fallen soldiers. A minute’s silence was respectfully observed before a wreath of poppies was laid. It was nice seeing the Leeds salute given to our fans as they passed by our stand. It had been nice talking to the Norwich stewards before the game as they were very friendly.
Leeds started the game attacking the goal where the Leeds fans were massed at the side of the pitch. Raphinha was on fire making many great runs down the wing in front of us. Leeds were very unlucky not to take an early lead as James from a Dallas pass, got round their keeper only to see his shot kicked off the line. After some tough early tackles from Leeds where the Norwich players fell to the ground very easily, the game was allowed to flow. Then it was as if someone had got in the referee’s ear, and he completely switched off from giving Leeds anything. Every free kick was given Norwich’s way but even some that shouldn’t have been given, with the referee getting stick from the Leeds fans. When Norwich had a shot, I was convinced it was going into the net but luckily for us it went wide. Rodrigo saw his shot saved by their keeper before Meslier was called into action to keep the scores level at half time. Norwich had been determined to waste time in the last few minutes of the half but despite that, only one minute of injury time was played.
At the start of the second half, Meslier saved a free kick from Norwich before Leeds took the lead with a fantastic goal by Raphinha. He broke down the wing and then into the box before sending a great shot into the net sending the Leeds fans wild. Norwich straight away attacked our goal, as Meslier was given the ball, he tried to pass back across towards the far corner, only to see the ball go over the line. From the resulting corner, Norwich sent a header into the net to equalise. Why could we not hold onto a lead, that was so frustrating. As Leeds went straight back on the attack, the ball was lost but then won back again by Struijk. He passed the ball to Phillips who in turn gave it to Rodrigo, who sent a long shot into the net, taking their keeper by surprise. Two great goals in a matter of minutes and this had put us back in the lead. The Leeds fans had been in fine voice on the terraces and got behind the team even more. Shackleton went down injured, and it looked like Drameh was coming on to replace him. The next thing he was sent back on to the pitch only to go down again shortly afterwards and the substitution was made. When I heard number four for Leeds with our next substitution, it sounded like we were replacing number four. It looked like James was as confused as I was when he was replaced by Forshaw. Seeing Norwich getting angry when they were trying to get the ball off us when we had a goal kick, they didn’t like the boot being on the other foot. They weren’t bothered when wasting time in the first half! Obviously with them losing they’d changed their mind. Leeds were able to see the game out and get a welcome win and three points. With fans singing, there’s only one Stuart Dallas, he looked chuffed to bits for the support given to him. His recent revelation about the traumas he’d been through with the death of a close friend and his isolation from his family through Covid at such a sad time, had taken its toll on him.
There were some good signs today with some great attacking play and Raphinha for me was my man of the match. Keep going Leeds and build on this performance. After seeing Phil Cresswell’s post this morning saying we had 29 matches left, I said we had to have another unbeaten run like we did in 1973. Who knows but today was a step in the right direction. With another Sunday game next week with the home game against Leicester, I am looking forward to watching the Centenary Whites in the Fanzone before the game starts. See you then, LUFC – Marching on Together!