Nottingham Forest v Leeds United 1st January 2018 at the City Ground

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I hope everyone had a Happy New Year and my wish is for Leeds United to keep fighting and see where we are in a couple of months in our quest for promotion. The saying that you never know what is around the corner is certainly true. As my family faces a challenging year ahead of us, what I will say is make the most of everything in front of you when you can. I won’t go into too much detail on here, but I thank both Phillip Thumbsup Cresswell and Gary Edwards for their kind words which are greatly appreciated.

After a stop in Mansfield before the game we arrived in plenty of time for kick off. After putting my flag up at the front of the stand it was nice to see Nikki and Rita her guide dog who is our honorary Leeds United fan. My daughter Danielle and I went downstairs then and a big thank you to Gary for buying my book Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18. As always I am grateful for the support of fans who buy my books. After taking photos of fans, we made our way to our seats in different parts of the stand. I saw some people getting escorted across the front of our stand and I thought they must be some of the players coming to join us. It turned out that I was right and Danielle was sat near them. Berardi, Cooper, Dallas and a couple more were sat at the front.

The team: Peacock-Farrell, Ayling, Douglas, Phillips, Jansson, Hernandez, Roofe, Alioski, Klich, Forshaw and Harrison. Subs: Clarke for Harrison (46) and Roberts for Douglas (78). Leeds lost the game 4-2 with Clarke (52) and Alioski (64) scoring our goals. Attendance was 29,530 with approximately 2,000 Leeds fans.

After an early chance for Forest, we found ourselves a goal down within five minutes. Once again our passing let us down; we passed back with not enough pace on the ball giving them the chance to nip in and score. It meant we had to come back from behind again after giving the opposition a goal lead. On 15 minutes though, Forest should have been a man down. Harrison beat their man and was bearing down on goal with only the goalie to beat, when he was brought down. As the last man their player should have walked but instead the ref gave him a yellow card only. Once again the interpretation of rules by the officials, shows a complete difference of opinion when they deal with our players and the opposition. Make no mistake about it, but if that had been the other way around our player would have walked. We hadn’t given up and came close from a corner when Alioski’s header was kicked off the line. Just before the break we went down to 10 men when the referee showed Phillips a straight red after a late tackle. I’d be biased by saying he could have been shown a yellow for it, but their player rolled and rolled around which I think swayed the referee. I agree he was late with the tackle, but when I see decisions never go our way in similar situations and with the earlier last man tackle only given a yellow, the officials seem to make rules to suit themselves. Just after that we could have been two goals down when another bad pass was intercepted but luckily for us, Peacock-Farrell made a great save to deny them.

At half time there were lots of discussions going on and as we queued for the ladies, this young girl said we were s**t! It gave us a laugh in the sense that she didn’t beat about the bush when saying what she thought. At the time though, we were still in with a chance as we were only a goal down. I went down to the front and my flag had been knocked down. Apparently once all the kids saw the players they were trying to get to them so I could hardly blame them.

Clarke came on again at the start of the second half in place of Harrison (he had looked to be playing better and maybe that is something he needs, a run in the team). Although we were down to 10 men, it was Leeds who took the game to Forest as we showed the best form of defence is attack. Hernandez brought a save out of their goalie before Clarke pulled a goal back when he hit his shot from the edge of the area to equalise. I was chuffed to bits for the lad but again, he didn’t really get a chance to celebrate as we got on with the game. We took the lead after Jansson headed the ball back across the goal for Alioski to smash the ball into the net. Apparently it was Berardi who led the way with a mini pitch invasion to celebrate with the team! After coming from behind it would have been good to see the game out, but with at least 25 minutes remaining it wasn’t to be. As the Leeds fans started singing we are top of the league and asking Karanka to stay I though noooo…. don’t sing that as it’s the kiss of death! With Forest getting the run of the ball once again they equalised within five minutes as the songs came to bite us on the bum. Clarke came close once again before we let the game slip from our grasp when we failed to clear a corner and they scored their third. If we thought we were home and dry after our second goal, we were mistaken as we’d stopped attacking and let them get back into the game. They scored a fourth on the break although someone mentioned it was offside, but it wouldn’t have made any difference to the final score though. We did try to get back into the game but sadly being down to 10 men showed in the end which was a shame. We stay top of the league despite the defeat. It was nice seeing a couple of our young fans getting Jansson and Ayling’s shirts.

Next week sees the start of the FA Cup with our visit on Sunday to QPR for a 2pm kick off to link in with overseas fans viewing. I have no problem it being viewed that way but why on earth it couldn’t have stayed for a Saturday kick off is beyond me. My friend Carole wants us to go out straight away as we have a small squad and can’t afford to have a cup run. My stance is that the FA Cup should be taken seriously and I don’t want the towel thrown in like the last two years at Sutton and Newport. We’ll know soon enough which way it will go so see you there. LUFC – Marching on Together!

Heidi Haigh – A fanatical Leeds United supporter of over 50 years

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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

OUT NOW! Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18