Happy New Year everyone and today I’m looking forward to a change in fortunes for Leeds United this year.
Yesterday Leeds put the sold out notices up again apart from the part of the West Stand allocated to the Rotherham fans with approximately 500 of them coming to the game. Although it was 12.30 pm the car windscreen was still iced over with the temperatures not much above freezing. It was going to be a cold day but the sun was shining although dazzling, so at least it felt good to be heading to Elland Road.
The team today was Green, Bartley, Ayling, Jansson, Berardi, Hernandez, Roofe, Doukara, Sacko, Wood and Bridcutt. Subs were Vieira for Sacko, Dallas for Doukara and Antonsson for Wood. Attendance was 33,397.
It was good to see a full Elland Road again but unfortunately for the fans the first half didn’t live up to what was expected of the team. It was always going to be a tough one despite Rotherham being at the bottom of the league and to be honest they could have been one up very early on. We have Green to thank for that because he made a fantastic double save to deny them. Our chances were very limited in the first half as we struggled to get any momentum going. Rotherham on the other hand were putting us under pressure but luckily for us didn’t actually put the ball into the net which could have changed the game. I felt that we needed to get a corner to give us a chance of getting near the goal. My daughter couldn’t get over the fact that Roofe was wearing a long sleeved top and gloves but wore his socks at half-mast. She really wanted to go and pull them up! The atmosphere wasn’t great in the first half with only sporadic chanting and singing but one moment had everyone as quiet as church mice. Luckily that didn’t last long though.
At the start of the second half Vieira came on to replace Sacko who had a slight knock. Within a couple of minutes we were in the lead as our first attack won us a corner. As the ball was swung into the middle Bartley jumped up never taking his eyes off the ball and headed it into the net. Unfortunately as he ran off with the rest of the team to celebrate Jansson had to receive treatment for a while, but luckily for us he got up again despite a paramedic being in attendance too. This start was just what we needed as the second half belonged to Leeds. We scored a second fantastic goal when Wood got the ball with his back to the net and their defender on his back. He somehow turned and hit a powerful shot into the net with a cracker of a goal. That took the pressure off us somewhat and then when Roofe had a fantastic run down the East stand side he passed the ball into the middle for Wood to get his second goal of the game and Leeds a three goal lead. Once the fans saw the response from Leeds at the start of the second half they responded well getting behind the team. It was even better after celebrating the three goals. We were unlucky when Berardi had a shot that hit the post and a free kick from Hernandez also hitting the post. To be honest I missed them hitting the post but as the lad in front of me is taller I have to try and see around his head! The one thing I haven’t seen in a long while was all the Leeds dugout stood up when we had an attack!
That was a welcome start to the New Year with another three points that keeps us in the playoff spots. Although there is a long way to go the run this last couple of weeks, giving us 10 points out of a possible 12, is the best I can remember for a long time. Before our next league game versus Derby which has been changed to a Friday night because of Sky we have Cambridge United in the FA Cup, also changed because of BT. Why they can’t be on a Saturday or Sunday is beyond me and whilst I appreciate fans around the world want to see us play, I wish they would keep the travelling support in mind. A good cup run would be great and all Leeds should do is go out and enjoy the moment and see where we end up in both the league and cup. Winning breeds winning and the best form of defence is attack!! See you at Cambridge – LUFC – Marching on Together!