With a 5.00am wake up call, I for one was looking forward to this FA Cup tie. Winning breeds winning as far as I’m concerned and I certainly don’t want the capitulation that occurred after our third round defeats in the last two years. Time will tell now what happens next but at this moment in time I am going to watch Leeds United play and want them to win.
Secondly, the furore surrounding the Stoke away tickets and many regular fans not getting them. My stance is that after away season tickets have been handed out, they need a small allocation of tickets for those fans who have only missed one or two games who do not have an away season ticket. As the club knows who these fans are who do not miss any games and stay with them through thick and thin, good times and bad, loyalty should be rewarded in my opinion. All this talk of these loyal fans being super fans, thinking they are entitled to tickets and having a closed shop is wrong. These fans have built up their long term loyalty over the years and should be looked after before the free for all. As for the talk of entitlement, I have no problem with anyone wanting to apply for tickets given the chance, but with the accusations towards those who have earned their loyalty over the years, the same can be said of those fans saying they are entitled to one too as they don’t get a chance to build their loyalty up. When things weren’t going so well on the pitch last season, there were unsold tickets, so there was a chance. That is no different to what these loyal fans are being accused of. All I am saying is there are a small amount of fans who should be looked after too. This created a topic of conversation at our pub stop in Uxbridge prior to the game.
Bielsa had already named his squad for today’s game and said he was taking the game seriously which was a breath of fresh air. I never ever want to go to a game where the towel has been thrown in prior to it as that is a disgrace to the travelling support. If we go out fair and square that’s a different matter. I thought we’d arrived very early for the game but it only dawned on me when it was announced over the tannoy that it was 15 minutes to kick off, that it was a 2pm start for overseas broadcasting. As usual I’d forgotten as well as thinking we’d be home at 2am by forgetting it was an afternoon kick off and not an evening one. I blame it on the early start lol.
The team: Peacock-Farrell, Ayling, Harrison, Shackleton, Halme, Davis, Forshaw, Baker, Roberts, Clarke and Alioski. Subs: Pearce for Halme (46), Kun Temenuzhkov (making his debut aged 18) for Pearce (79) and Clarke Oduor (making his debut aged 19) for Davis (87). Leeds lost the game 2-1 with Halme scoring the Leeds goal (25). Attendance was 11,637 with 3,148 Leeds fans.
The game kicked off with our team having an average age of 22 and those on the bench an average age of 19. The kids put up a good fight today and the future looks bright. We were unlucky not to take the lead within a minute of the start with Roberts shot hitting the inside of both posts then bouncing out. With loads of Leeds fans still coming into the ground at that point what a start that would have been, but sadly it wasn’t to be. Unfortunately QPR took the lead when they were awarded a penalty. I wasn’t surprised to see it awarded but I’m sure if it had been at the other end it wouldn’t have been given. Within three minutes we were level, with a hard free kick from Baker initially saved by their goalie and the rebound put in from young Halme. Although QPR looked dangerous on the break, Peacock-Farrell kept them out with some good saves. I thought we got on top towards the end of the first half and Alioski came close a couple of times. His never say die attitude caught QPR in possession as he came away with the ball to set up another attack. After one QPR attack when BPF made the save, it was good to see Ayling on the line behind him but in this instance he wasn’t needed. I thought Leeds had been listening to me by having players on the posts.
Sadly that proved to not be the case in the second half as we were beaten by another set piece from QPR but if someone had been on the back post helping, this could have been prevented in my opinion. That is one thing I am very surprised not to see being implemented by Leeds as it is an obvious flaw from my point of view, especially as I was brought up seeing the best in Bremner and Reaney putting that into practice. The amount of goals they saved being scored by kicking the ball off the line was invaluable. We also missed Halme’s height in the second half as he was subbed at half time apparently because he’d already been booked. I’m not sure if it was his booking when it looked like someone had a word in the ref’s ear who then proceeded to book Halme for a foul. Tom Pearce was brought on in his first game since injury but found he also was subbed later in the game. Peacock-Farrell continued to make saves to keep QPR out and we ourselves had a couple of good chances to score and I thought we still had a good chance up to that point. Once they scored from the set piece and we changed our formation, although we kept trying I thought we were off the boil by then. Baker put a couple of hard passes to our wing which were good but on the whole I was disappointed in his whole performance especially in the first half. He still has to up his game a lot more for me but I think it was important that both he and Harrison played a full 90 minutes. One lad going out behind me at the end of the game shouted it was a long way to come to see shit. I wouldn’t go that far as I thought we played some good football and I thought our youngsters did really well when called upon. As we walked back to the coaches my daughter Dani and I were keeping a watchful eye on the police horses up ahead as the sounds of things starting to kick off appeared around us. As the police were speaking to some QPR fans a couple of Leeds fans had another one square up to them, as a police horse came to break it up. I’ve no idea what happened in the first place as I don’t even think the Leeds fans were singing at that time.
Those fans who wanted us to go out of the FA Cup so we can concentrate on the league have now got their wish. I’d be very happy to admit that was a good thing in the long run but only time will tell. The one good thing is we didn’t roll over and die and put up some fight today which can only be a positive. As we play Derby at home this coming Friday, this is a must win game for us. 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