West Ham v Leeds United 16th January 2022 at the London Stadium

West Ham v Leeds United A 16.1.22

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For the second time in a week, it was a very early start for our trip back to London only this time in the Premier League. I didn’t have the best preparations beforehand as instead of an early night, I was up painting until gone 11pm eventually only having a couple of hours sleep. The benefits of travelling by coach from Leeds means at least I will be able to catch up with my sleep. One thing is for sure though, I hate painting and will never be a painter and decorator as I get more paint on me! At one point I thought I may as well stay up and just go straight to Leeds but thought better of that idea. For the second week running I decided on doing a message of support to Leeds that I shared on social media before leaving home. Once again, a big thank you to everyone for your support with my personal circumstances or your support in buying our CDs of the chants and songs from the terraces in times gone by. It was good to hear they’d been played on coaches on their way to the game and to me it felt there were a couple being sung that found their way on the terraces today. We have been getting excellent feedback which is good to hear so thank you for buying them, even those without a CD player! A great piece of history from the terraces and all profits after costs have been made will be paid to the Leeds United Academy / Foundation. I felt like a bit of a celebrity today with so many fans asking for their photos taken and I can certainly say that my self esteem has risen dramatically because of that.

Whilst having a catch up with my daughters yesterday, I broke into song with ‘we all hate manu, we hate Chelsea too’ as the tune was played in the restaurant so I put the blame totally on Paul Wilson who created the song. As my daughters were saying they couldn’t take me anywhere (I did have my Leeds things on as usual), it must have been an automatic reaction after seeing a manu fan sat two tables away from me oops!

Team: Meslier, Ayling, Harrison, Struijk (for his first game after being injured), Klich, James, Raphinha, Firpo, Dallas, Koch, Forshaw.

Subs:  Bate making his Premier League debut for Forshaw (injured 22), Hjelde for Firpo (injured 23), Rodrigo (for his first game after being injured) for Bate (65).

Subs not used: Klassson, McKinstry, Jenkins, Gray, Kenneth, Moore.

Leeds won the game 3-2 with Harrison getting a hat trick (10, 37, 60).

Referee: Mike Dean.

Attendance: 59,591 with 3,000 Leeds fans.

Booked: James, Koch.

Leeds were up for the game from the start despite still having so many injuries within the squad. With us attacking the far end, I should have put my glasses on but there again when Leeds took at early lead, everyone jumped up in front of me so I couldn’t see anyway. Klich saw his shot saved but Forshaw got to the rebound first and passed to Harrison to score the first of his three goals today. Leeds were on top then and were very unlucky when James saw his shot go over the bar. The linesman in front of us could have done with wearing glasses however, as he put the flag up saying the ball had gone over the line but was overruled by the referee. I thought that the ball had indeed stayed in so that was a correct decision. The linesman then surpassed himself which could have led to a West Ham goal. The whole ball crossed the line and there is no doubt in my mind that we should have had a throw in. When Forshaw went down injured it was like the curse of signing a new contract had happened again as he went off the pitch to be replaced by Bate. A minute later Firpo went off to be replaced by Hjelde. That was a big blow just when it looked like we had a more settled side with those returning from injuries. It took the sting out of the game for a while and put us on the backfoot. With West Ham starting to put pressure on us, they hit the side netting but then got an equaliser which was a blow. Leeds didn’t let that bother them though as we went on the attack and took the lead again three minutes later with Harrison scoring again from a corner. West Ham hit the side netting again before Leeds should have extended our lead, but James shot straight at the keeper. He had another chance just before the break, but his shot went agonisingly inches wide.

As I went back to my seat at half time, the West Ham stewards were asking to see tickets not once but twice which was over the top. The next thing something started kicking off as the police all went running underneath the stand. It was to do with checking tickets and started by their stewards apparently and one of our fans told me he’d put a complaint in to the police after being hit in the face. No doubt more stories will come to the fore shortly.

West Ham started the second half on the attack, and it wasn’t long before they equalised. The ball looked to be having a charmed life as it ran favourably for them before ending up in the back of the net. Once again, Leeds playing some fantastic football, didn’t let the goal conceded deter us. Raphinha was involved once again as Harrison scored his hattrick.  I think Bamford was the last one to score one if I remember right. Raphinha saw his free kick hit a post before James headed the ball over the bar. James’s speed was proving difficult for West Ham to deal with. After some more fantastic play which caused mayhem on the terraces as Klich put the ball into the net for a fourth goal, someone mentioned offside. With that VAR decided that Rodrigo had been offside and disallowed the goal which was such a shame. When West Ham looked to have equalised it was good to see the linesman at the far side had put his flag up, so their goal was disallowed too. Meslier made a good save to keep them out as the team battled to get the win and a welcome three points. Well done lads, I’m proud of you. The performance despite further obstacles was good to see and our youngsters in Hjelde and Bate played very well and have bright futures ahead of them. I’d already said there was nothing to be afraid of today and it probably helped that we’d played here last week. With a home game against Newcastle on Saturday, let’s build on this momentum. LUFC – Marching on Together!