It had been a busy week having recorded an interview with BBC Radio Leeds and being filmed for Made in Leeds with Andrew Dalton about our new joint book. One of the last things we had to do was predict a score for today especially as Rotherham were bottom of the league. I went for a draw as it was one of those results that could possibly upset the applecart.
As it was when I set off for Elland Road I had a churning stomach, so knew deep down that things wouldn’t go quite our way. I bumped into some fans I knew on arrival and had a chat before heading to the Pavilion to meet the parents of a lad in Australia. Sean had contributed to the book so it was nice to meet up with his parents again and am grateful for their support.
I then headed to the Peacock and it was absolutely heaving inside. It was a bitter cold day and although we had a sprinkling of snow overnight at least it didn’t stick. I wasn’t looking forward to freezing today though. We headed into the ground 10 minutes earlier than normal due to bag checks taking place after the atrocities in Paris last week where terrorists murdered many people. There was also a minute’s silence held but prior to that the French National Anthem was played before Sol Bamba laid a wreath in the centre circle.
Today was the return of Neil Redfearn as manager of Rotherham. Who would have thought at the end of last season that the manager roles would be reversed with Steve Evans now manager at Leeds. It was nice to see Neil get a round of applause as he came onto the pitch side.
The team today was Silvestri, Berardi, Cooper, Bellusci, Wootton, Cook, Murphy, Mowatt, Dallas, Antenucci and Wood. Subs used were Adeyemi for Cook, Botaka for Dallas and Erwin for Murphy. Looking at the game as a whole, it was a case of normal service resumed as neither team looked good and a lot of hoof ball was played. We had a good moment when Wood had a shot saved and Dallas put the ball into the net from an off side position so it didn’t count. Another attack and a great shot from Mowatt that somehow was saved in mid air by their goalie when it looked destined to go into the back of the net. The good moments didn’t last though and it wasn’t a good game and by half time, the whistle couldn’t come quick enough for me.
We started brightly enough in the second half but again it didn’t last long. Despite having a lot of possession we couldn’t do anything with it and then Rotherham took the lead. When their played stuck it into the back of our net he had so much time and space to do it. Maybe my stomach churning did mean it wasn’t going to be our day. The game sprung into life with an incident in front of the Rotherham fans. I saw Berardi push one of their players and all hell let loose. It reminded me of Max Gradel getting sent off for us years ago which nearly cost us promotion. Berardi seemed to have lost it as the linesman intervened. As Berardi was sent off my heart sank that we were down to 10 men as I hadn’t actually seen their player get sent off too. It was only when my daughter played the incident back on her phone that we realised why Berardi had lost it and to be honest who could blame him. He had been elbowed in the face and had blood pouring from him. I reckon a booking would have been a sufficient punishment for him.
It hadn’t been a good game for us and not just because we lost, it was the way we lost. Although I had been happy to leave today’s team as it was because we had been unbeaten, changes will need to be made before we play QPR next week. An early morning beckons next week as we leave Leeds at 7.00 am. I’m still looking forward to the day out come what may so see you there – LUFC – Marching on Together!