After getting home from my brother’s birthday party in the early hours, I found that despite trying to get a few hours sleep before heading to QPR, I found I was wide awake. To ensure I didn’t oversleep, I got up at 3.00am and headed to Elland Road for the coach. Luckily, I managed to sleep most of the way there and back. We managed to have a pub stop in Uxbridge before arriving at the ground in time for kick-off. With the upper away end having to be accessed at the far side of the ground, we had a nice walk in the sunshine, despite a frosty morning. My flag hung up at the back of the stand, made its first return to a game after being at the recent LUFCTrust Exhibition.
The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, White, Klich, Harrison, Costa, Bamford, Phillips, Hernandez and Dallas. Subs: Alioski for Dallas (45) and Stevens for Klich (87). Leeds lost the game 1-0 with Phillips getting sent off with a straight red card. The referee: P. Bankes. Attendance: 16,049 with 2,973 Leeds fans. Jack Clarke made his loan debut from the subs bench for QPR after ending his recent loan spell from Spurs at Leeds.
QPR had some big players who bullied us off the ball, getting their first shot of the game in the opening minutes which Casilla saved. Within three minutes, Leeds should have had a penalty when Costa was brought down in the area with a strong challenge, but the referee waved played on. Bamford had a long-range shot trying to beat their keeper who was out of his area, but the shot went wide. Leeds were unlucky not to take the lead when a free kick brought a save out of their keeper which had deflected off one of their players. There had been quite a few strong challenges from the QPR on our players which should have brought an early booking for at least a couple of them. Leeds went behind under controversial circumstances when QPR won a free kick on the edge of our penalty area. As Casilla lined the wall up, I couldn’t believe he was standing at the left-hand side of the goal with a massive space to the right of him which wasn’t covered by anyone. There should have been at least one of our players on the right-hand post for me. As it was when their player got the ball, it hit both his hands before he put the ball into the net. Even though we appealed, the goal was allowed to stand with boos from the Leeds fans ringing out. The linesman should have picked that up and also when Dallas nearly had his shirt ripped off his back, but he was half asleep and missed them both. I still don’t understand how Dallas came to be booked with the latter incident. It took until the 35th minute for one of their players to be booked for a foul with plenty of heavy challenges already taken place. When we had a corner, the balls were always picked up in the middle by the QPR players as I shouted for us to hit it hard and low instead to catch them out. Bamford had a shot saved by their keeper and a second chance went over the crossbar as we went into the break a goal behind.
Alioski replaced Dallas at the start of the second half as Leeds started on the attack. Although we had some good possession, we couldn’t get that breakthrough until Bamford was brought down in the penalty area by their keeper. With the penalty being taken by Bamford, I was hesitant when he took a long run up to the ball. Unfortunately, the low shot to his right was saved by their keeper. Damn, that was the best chance we had to score. As Leeds tried to get something out of the game, shots went wide, but Hernandez came close with a free kick. It just felt like we weren’t going to get a goal despite having lots of possession. Lots of fans were getting frustrated and blaming Bamford for not scoring, saying he should have done better with his chances. As far as I’m concerned, he cannot do it on his own. When Roberts came back into the side, that was when things worked for Bamford. He needs an Allan Clarke alongside him to put the ball into the net. In the closing minutes Phillips got his marching orders with a straight red card in the 88th minute after a bad tackle saw the frustrations creep into his play. He will now be banned for three games. The game ended with our ten men not being able to get an equaliser.
With fans clamouring for reinforcements since Nketiah and Clarke left to go back to Arsenal and Spurs respectively, the pressures are on the club not to have a repeat of last season’s capitulation. Radrizzani had been in the Director’s box in the first half but didn’t appear for the second half and later in the game, Orta was slumped in his seat when we couldn’t get that equaliser. Personally, I had that resigned feeling today, but all is not lost as we are still in a good position with others around us losing points too. We have a break next Saturday due to the Millwall game rearranged to the following Tuesday due to their involvement in the FA Cup. Keep the faith no matter how hard it is, see you there, LUFC – Marching on Together!
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, Leeds United in the 1980s
- The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17
- Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18
- Out now: Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United
Website: www.followmeandleedsunited.co.uk Twitter: @FollowMeAndLUFC Facebook: Follow Me and Leeds United: Instagram: Heidi Haigh – lufcheidi @followmeandleedsunited