York 10th July and Guiseley 11th July pre-season games

York City v Leeds United 10th July 2019 at Bootham Crescent

Welcome back to all my followers and I hope this season brings us the rewards we are all craving. Last season’s ending hit many of us very hard and it has taken a while to get over not getting automatic promotion. We have brought Costa from Wolves who will have to hit the ground running for me purely because I am not in favour of expensive loans, but as long as he plays for the shirt and stays injury free they will be plus points. I’d been rather down due to Pontus Jansson being sold to Brentford this week which had been preceded by Jack Clarke’s sale then loan back from Tottenham. Instead of building we seemed to be dismantling what we had so I will wait and see what transpires on the pitch. At least it looks like we are getting rid of a lot of the fringe players who shouldn’t be here.

Going to York straight away rekindled the passion of following Leeds for 50+ years in what will be our Centenary Year. As always I make my judgements by what I see on the pitch but it was good to be back amongst our support with many familiar faces. It was also good to see that Nikki still had Rita her guide dog with as we thought she’d been retired at the end of last season. Rita is a Leeds fan through and through who barks every time Leeds scores a goal.

The team for the first hour: Kiko Casilla, Stuart Dallas, Gaetano Berardi, Liam Cooper, Barry Douglas, Alfie McCalmont, Adam Forshaw, Pablo Hernandez, Jack Harrison, Patrick Bamford and Kemar Roofe.

Substitutes en masse: Robbie Gotts, Oliver Casey, Ryan Edmundson, Bryce Hosannah, Jack Jenkins, Clarke Odour, Pascal Struijk, Kun Temenuzhkov, Rafa Mujica and Liam McCarron.

Leeds won the game 5-0 with goals from Harrison (3, 44), Roofe (22), Hernandez (34) and Forshaw (53). Attendance was 5,108 with 2,162 Leeds fans.

Leeds got off to a great start when Harrison put the ball in the net to give us the lead in the third minute after York failed to clear Hernandez’s cross. Bamford had a shot over the bar but shortly afterwards was unlucky not to score when his shot hit the post. Harrison was playing well and his cross from the byline was met by Roofe in the box to put us further into the lead. Leeds were in fine form not giving York much of the ball and it was no surprise when we scored again after a great build up from Harrison and Bamford which enabled Hernandez to get on the score sheet. After a rare shot from York just before half time that went over the bar, Leeds increased their lead with a second great goal from Harrison from outside the box. Leeds being 4-0 up at half time had made it an enjoyable start to this pre-season friendly game.

The second half saw us carry on with the same team and Harrison was unlucky not to get a hat-trick when he was denied by their goalie making the save. Leeds did get a fifth goal when Forshaw chipped the ball over the keeper after being put through by Hernandez.

There was a mass substitution after an hour with only Casilla staying on the pitch who became captain. Youngsters McCarron and Mujica were making their debuts for Leeds. There was no let-up in play as the youngsters carried on where the first team had left off and I was impressed with the way they slotted in to the way Bielsa wanted. The one player that stood out for me was young Alfie McCalmont as he played the holding role that Phillips normally plays in for the first hour. He didn’t look out of place and has a bright future I’m sure.

It was nice to set off with a win despite York not really putting up any opposition. See you at Guiseley.

Guiseley v Leeds United 11th July 2019 at Nethermoor Park

Leeds won the game 2-1 with goals from Costa (69) and Bogusz (80). Attendance was approx. 5,800.

The Team: Bailey Peacock-Farrell (Kamil Miazek 45), Helder Costa making his debut, Mateuz Bogusz, Kalvin Phillips, Gjanni Allioski (Niall Huggins 86), Ben White making his debut (Nohan Kenneh aged 16, 74), Jamie Shackleton, Jack Clarke, Leif Davies, Mateusz Klich and Jordan Stevens.

Substitutes not used: Bobby Kamwa, Stuart McKinstry and Theo Hudson.

We missed the build up to the game as I’d to wait for my granddaughter Hannah to get back from a school trip. We also had to pick our tickets up for the game from my nephew’s house who lives near the Guiseley ground so at least we had somewhere to park. We got into the ground just as the teams were coming out so stayed at the corner where we arrived with Hannah and Vinnie getting a place at the front of the stand.

It was a different team to York yesterday with more of the youngsters playing but it was good to see Kalvin Phillips there. With all the rumours flying around that he was going to be sold, I’m hoping that’s all they are as he needs to be in our team going forwards.

It didn’t take long to see that Guiseley were going to be a different side to York as they were up for it from the start and were very quick on the attack. Phillips found this out when he was bundled off the ball and Peacock-Farrell was then beaten on a one to one to put Guiseley into the lead on nine minutes. Guiseley continued to put us under pressure and there was no free flowing football from us that had been on show at York which was a complete contrast to that game. It was taking time to get a grip of the game as we went in at half time a goal down.

As we started the second half better, we thought Alioski had equalised only for the linesman to put his flag up for offside. We should have had a penalty when our player had his foot taken from under him and although the referee was poised with his whistle looking to blow, he decided not to give one. It took us until the 69th minute to get level on the night when Costa scored on his debut after some good individual work. Miazek who had come on for the second half in place of Peacock-Farrell was called on to make a save to prevent Guiseley from taking the lead for a second time.

Leeds took the lead for the first time after Shackleton and Costa combined to give Bogusz the chance to score. It took a few minutes for the scoreboard to update and we thought that Guiseley wanted to pretend we hadn’t scored. Guiseley didn’t give up but Leeds were able to hold on for the second win in two days.

As the final whistled sounded on 89 minutes, kids all over the ground ran onto the pitch as that was the sign for a pitch invasion. It was quite funny listening to the tannoy announcer pleading with everyone to get off the pitch, even saying he’d put a notice up on the scoreboard.

Even though this hadn’t been a good game it was good for the players to start their build up to the season. Unfortunately Alioski went off injured and White was taken off with a knock. Let’s hope long term injuries are banished this year as that was our downfall last season.

I just want to wish all the fans going to Australia and Sardinia a wonderful and safe trip to either or both. To say I’m not jealous at all would be an understatement as sadly I am not in a position to go to any of the ones abroad this year. I’m looking forward to seeing all the photos from those fans who are there though and see our fantastic support on show once again.

I’m now looking forward to the season starting in earnest on 4th August with our trip to Bristol City. Come on Leeds, we can do this! See you there – LUFC – Marching on Together!

Heidi Haigh – 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
  • Working on my latest book which will hopefully be out soon

 Website: www.followmeandleedsunited.co.uk Twitter: @FollowMeAndLUFC Facebook: Follow Me and Leeds United: Instagram: Heidi Haigh @followmeandleedsunited