Wolverhampton Wanderers (Wolves) v Leeds United 18th March 2022 at Molineux

Wolves A 18th March 2022

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I was up extra early for the game today due to appearing on the BBC 5 Live Breakfast show alongside an Everton fan. As he mentioned beating Leeds, I made sure that I said they had raised their game to play us and then reverted to type. I just asked that the team fought until the final whistle tonight. After stopping at Walsall pre-game, we arrived at the ground in good time for kick off. It was nice seeing our stewards at the game today too. Thanks to everyone for their kind words about my blogs/reels, wanted photos taken, the fact my brother had finally returned to the UK yesterday with his Ukrainian family or about my husband. We see the consultant on Monday to find out whether the chemotherapy has worked so fingers crossed he has got more time to spend with us all. It was also good to hear from our younger supporters that they like watching what I do. As always, the support from everyone is greatly appreciated.

Team: Meslier, Ayling, Rodrigo, James, Harrison, Dallas, Llorente, Bamford, Klich, Struijk and Forshaw.

Subs: Greenwood for Bamford (injured 23), Koch for Llorente (injured 40), Cresswell for Klich (injured 45), Klaesson for Meslier (injured 50).

Subs not used: Cooper, Phillips, Kenneh, Summerville, Gelhardt.

Leeds won the game 3-2 after being two goals down at half time with Harrison (63), Rodrigo (66) and Ayling (90+1) scoring the goals to win the game.

Attendance: 31,200 with 2,900 Leeds fans.

Referee: Kevin Friend.

Booked:  Cresswell, Struijk, Forshaw, Rodrigo.

Before the game kicked off, I saw Bamford taking his boot off and it looked like his recent injury was already causing him issues. He swapped the inserts in his boots then, but it wasn’t a surprise to see him break down in the game and taken off injured early on. After Bamford went off injured, we lost our way where we were a goal down only three minutes later. They also hit another shot that looked like it was going straight into the net but cannoned back off the upright and away to safety. To make matters worse, we had Llorente and Klich both injured in the first half too and had used all our subs up by the break with Cresswell’s being a concussion substitution for the latter. With eight minutes of injury time played in both halves due to injuries plus the blatant time wasting and cheating from the Wolves players dropping to the floor, the final straw was Wolves taking a further lead just before the break with a second goal in the 11th minute of added time. We looked down and out, demoralised and like a team heading for relegation, plus there didn’t look to be a way back at all at that point. As I headed back up into the stand for the start of the second half, I said to some of the Shropshire Whites that do you think we could have a miracle, although I never expected to see what happened next. It’s certainly never dull being a Leeds United supporter that’s for sure.

To me the game changed when their player clattered into Meslier with another horrendous foul and was sent off. As Meslier went off injured too in what was adding to an unprecedented injury list, Klaesson came on as a sub in goal to make his debut for the first team in the Premier League. Some of the tackles from Wolves were off the scale and close to GBH for me. In my opinion, they weren’t accidental but downright dangerous and deliberate with at least another player who should have seen red for a foul on Dallas. Our players kept going despite all the pain and the knocks though and can hold their heads up high that they don’t resort to cheating and play acting. I knew immediately that the players would battle their hearts out to protect Klaesson as they did when Meslier made his debut, and I wasn’t wrong, but he also produced two world class saves to keep us in the game. They produced a battling comeback that they can take heart from and sent the fans on the terraces and around the world into jubilant and mad celebrations with limbs all over the place.  Harrison brought a great save out of their keeper and pulled a goal back not long after to give us a chance, Ayling had first hit the post, tried again and then Harrison got the ball into the net at the third attempt. The team got straight back on with the game but only three minutes later first James hit the crossbar, before Greenwood won the ball back with sheer persistence as Rodrigo took over to hit the ball into the net, equalise then send everyone into absolute delirium that we weren’t down and out. The lad in front of me tried grabbing me as I was trying to stay on my feet to take photos which proved impossible, as the team raced to celebrate all piling into the fans. After that I said I would be happy with a point but could not have predicted what happened next. As the Leeds players swarmed all over the penalty area with that fighting spirit to the end, Ayling got his final shot in that hit the back of the net and produced absolute fantastic scenes as the team and the subs all raced over the pitch from the far side to join in with the celebrations. Unbelievable scenes but also wonderful to see and be a part of as the impossible had happened. We were a step closer to getting a further welcome three points instead of facing another defeat and relegation looming.

As the fans stayed on the terraces to celebrate and clap the team off the pitch, there is nothing like the euphoria you feel with an ending like that. Singing, happy fans all going out of the ground was a wonderful sight and long may it continue. With the international break upon us once again, I am grateful our players have got some recuperation time because the injuries we have been ravaged with this season have become even worse. Seeing a photo after the game of Cooper hugging a distraught Bamford in the dugout, I will be surprised if we see him again on the pitch this season. To me he has been brought back too soon and although there may have been good intentions to get that buzz back, I only hope this hasn’t caused Bamford to relapse. Enjoy the break and look forward to seeing you at the Southampton game at the start of April. LUFC – Marching on Together!