It was going to be a very cold evening with the temperature dropping as we headed to Elland Road. My granddaughter Hannah was very excited to be going to the game and her highlight would be seeing Lucas the Kop Cat hopefully! I’m very proud that in a couple of weeks Hannah will be having 12 inches of her hair cut off to help children with cancer and is raising money for Candlelighters at the same time. A very worthwhile cause!
After a quick visit to the Peacock to meet friends and also ton keep warm we headed into the ground approx. 15 minutes to kick off. To say we were expecting a 22,000+ crowd it felt very quiet outside Elland Road. One thing I’ve noticed is that many fans arrive late to evening games so that was maybe why. In the ground and with 10 minutes to kick off, most of the stands were still quite empty but that soon changed.
The team was Green, Bartley, Jansson, Berardi, Ayling, Hernandez, O’Kane, Roofe, Dallas, Wood, Bridcutt and Doukara. Subs were Doukara for Dallas, Vieira for O’Kane and Mowatt for Hernandez. Attendance was 24,838 with approx. 500 Forest fans.
As the game kicked off we had a chance very early on before Forest took the game by the scruff of the neck for a while. They brought out a great save from Green to prevent them taking an early lead. Not long after that we had an attack and when the ball came to Chris Wood in the penalty area I thought he’d kicked it wide. Just as I realised it had actually gone into the net I had to calm down quick as it was disallowed for offside. As Forest had been in the game a lot until then again it would have been against the run of play, not that I’d have grumbled! We were very lucky when Berardi was on hand to head the ball away from our goal though in what could have been a great chance for Forest. We struggled at times to get any momentum going but the half actually went past very quickly and I wasn’t wishing it to end as I have many times in the past.
At half time we had been discussing the game so far and I said it hadn’t been brilliant. Keith then said it will be a better second half after Garry Monk’s half time talk! Well Keith you got that spot on as we came out a different side to what went into the dressing room. We won a corner at our end and I was looking forward to catching the action with my camera only for Wood to score and I end up with loads of heads on a photo as everyone in front of me jumped up! All of a sudden after never being able to do anything from a corner, we had perhaps turned a corner and were getting on the scoresheet from them! Now that is something us Leeds fans have been waiting a long time for. When Monk made his first substitution I was surprised to see Dallas come off the pitch to be replaced by Doukara. My first thoughts were that I supposed Garry knew what he was doing as he seems to be quite astute in some of the decisions he makes. Well Garry, you did know what you were doing as Leeds won two corners on the bounce. From the second one the ball went back out to Doukara who was on the edge of the penalty area and he volleyed the ball hard and it flew into the top corner of the goal to our right! Wow that was a gem and it has been said it took approx. 8 seconds to hit the back of the net after the ball left his foot!
That was it then as Elland Road exploded and it looked like it was going to be our night. It is such a shame that the best move of the game in my eyes didn’t end up with a second goal for Wood. As we raced out of defence with some beautiful one touch football, I know it involved Ayling but can’t remember who else now. The ball was crossed into the box only for Wood to not get to the ball to bang it straight into the net. It was a fantastic move and deserved to have a goal at the end of the action but whatever happens, it was good to see the actual movement and football involved in the move.
There were a lot of happy fans heading home at the end of the game and Hannah said it had been awesome! She also loves Billy’s statue like me and thinks he was wonderful! I’ve trained her right! It is nice to have the next generation of fans enjoying the game but also seeing the quality in the second goal. I’m lucky having followed Leeds for such a long time I have seen fantastic goals from the likes of Billy Bremner, Peter Lorimer and Tony Yeboah to name a few. For some of our fans who have been starved of success over the years, this may have been their first time of witnessing a goal like the one Doukara scored.
We didn’t hang about long at the end of the game as we wanted to get home. By the time we got to our car though the majority of cars in the area had already gone. It was -2 when we got home so it was nice to get in to the warmth. Hopefully by the time we play Sutton away on Sunday, it will have got a bit warmer. I am one of the lucky fans to have got a ticket and will be heading down South with the Fullerton Park branch for the 2.00 pm kick off. Fingers crossed we can get a win as the team will probably be changed as per Cambridge. Winning breeds winning Leeds so here’s to a good game of football! See you there LUFC – Marching on Together!