Leeds United v Brighton 16th January 2021 at Elland Road

If anyone hasn’t seen the thread I posted yesterday on social media, make sure you head over to the link on my website to be taken back to the terraces on the Kop in 1974.

https://www.followmeandleedsunited.co.uk/a-blast-from-the-past-leeds-united-kop-v-derby-6th-april-1974-authentic-recording-done-by-heidi-haigh-contains-swearing

A blast from the past! Leeds United Kop v Derby 6th April 1974 – authentic recording done by Heidi Haigh. Contains swearing.

This is a blast from the past! An authentic cassette recording from Leeds United v Derby County on 6th April 1974. This was recorded by me, Heidi Haigh, a loyal Leeds United fan of over 50 years when I took my cassette recorder onto the Kop to record the singing of the fans. Enjoy listening to it and taking you back to a time when Leeds United were crowned First Division Champions a few weeks later! To say the cassette has survived for nearly 47 years to keep those memories alive is brilliant plus it includes Ronnie Hilton’s records at the end and thank you to him for giving us a chance to sing those songs on the terraces.

The rumours about Meslier not playing turned out to be true and with Phillips suspended for the game today it meant a reshuffle of the team.

Team: Casilla, Dallas, Ayling, Cooper, Alioski, Struijk, Raphinha, Rodrigo, Bamford, Harrison and Klich. Subs: Roberts for Rodrigo (62), Hernandez for Alioski (67) and Poveda for Raphinha (75). Subs not used: Caprile, Davis, Llorente, Jenkins, Roberts, Costa and Shackleton. Leeds lost the game 1-0. Attendance: Zero – behind closed doors. Referee. Kevin Friend.

With all the recent snow and rain, the pitch looked heavy and was cutting up in places very quickly. The good news is the pitch is going to be replaced at the end of the season according to Kinnear’s programme notes today.

Leeds has a good chance early on after a great cross from Harrison saw Rodrigo put off by their defender in front of goal and he couldn’t stick the ball into the net. Brighton ran through us from a throw in and their player went down in the penalty area under a challenge from Ayling, but the referee waved play on. Klich had a shot over the bar on 15 minutes. From the goal kick somehow, Brighton suddenly ran through us and when I expected their player to pass to the wing, they passed into the penalty area. The final cross to the far side of the goal saw their man in the middle all on his own to put the ball into the net on 17 minutes. Leeds had been ball watching rather than the man who snuck in behind Ayling.

Bamford was flagged offside which I disputed as he was behind their man and shouted to the linesman to get a grip. Brighton still looked dangerous and were running rings around us when the ball deflected off Ayling and hit the underside of the crossbar and away. It felt like a practice match from our perspective with extremely poor passing and at one time I felt like I could go to sleep.

To me it was the aftermath of our FA Cup loss to Crawley where instead of winning breeding winning, we looked down and out at times. Raphinha was robbed of the ball as White now playing for Brighton ran forward into our box but Ayling and Struijk between them, in the penalty area, got the ball away. Leeds tried to attack but the ball rebounded off the referee in a good position, but the new rules meant the game was stopped. I was expecting a dropped ball but the next thing I saw the Brighton keeper had the ball so I’m not sure what happened next? We continued to attack but our final balls were rubbish. I felt really frustrated by the way Leeds were playing when first from a corner Raphinha’s cross was easily picked up by their keeper in the middle, then instead of going forwards, we passed back for the move to start again. Harrison playing his 100th game for us had played really well on the left-hand side but then switched sides with Raphinha very early in the game which didn’t make sense to me. As it turned out Harrison is the only player today who did something. Any time we did manage to get forward the keeper easily gathered the crosses. It feels like our pitch is impeding our players for some reason at this moment, more than it does the opposition. Brighton still managed to do one touch passing whilst ours seemed to have disappeared. I was feeling at a loss on how to change things as Raphinha kept trying long passes, but none were reaching our players. Ayling was booked when he caught the toes of their player, but I didn’t think it was too bad a foul. As it was coming up to half time and their player stayed down, time wasting came to mind. It was a relief when the whistle blew on what had been a rubbish half for Leeds United.

We certainly needed to up our game in the second half as we have been extremely poor. My thoughts were that we should make changes but at the time did not know who, apart from changing our formation and try Rodrigo and Bamford up front.

There were no changes at the restart and after a few minutes into the second half, I felt totally demoralised. As Brighton attacked, we were standing watching them before letting them shoot wide. Leeds started attacking more as we changed formation with two up front and a good move ended with a final shot from Harrison that went wide across the goal. Some good work from Ayling saw him cross the ball to the left which was picked up by Raphinha. He did well to get past their defenders, but the final ball was too long and nowhere near any of our men. As we gave a silly ball away again it gave them a chance, but luckily for us the shot went over the bar. Our passing was way too short as we kept giving the ball away and if that’s not a wakeup call for Leeds, I don’t know what is.

Roberts came on followed by Hernandez as we tried to get back into the game as to me getting back on level terms would make a difference, but I could not see us scoring. Roberts had our first shot on target on 65 minutes that was saved by their keeper after a great pass from Bamford. At least we were looking more balanced now as we had a good 10-minute spell of attacking although we never got any clear chances on goal. Roberts won a free kick after having his shirt pulled but it came to nothing. Despite the game being so frustrating, getting a goal would be a relief. Our passing never improved though, and we always tried to keep making a final pass instead of trying to shoot.

We won a couple of corners in quick succession but with the latter one could not beat the first man. The Brighton team were dictating the play and suddenly had a shot with Casilla out of goal but luckily, he saved it even though he spilled the ball and caught it at the second attempt. Although we had a lot of possession it felt like we were trying to walk the ball into the net but with one attack, Brighton were awarded a free kick from a Bamford shot. Why I had no idea?

With Harrison being the only stand out player for me today, I have not got anything positive to say about the game. The game once again had that déjà vu feeling about it and you could just tell that nothing was going to work for us today. A bad day at the office all round as well as a frustrating one. It is a good job we have a break now due to the Southampton game being postponed for an FA Cup game to take place. At least by sleeping on things, I can forget about this bad week for football as a Leeds fan. LUFC – Marching on Together!