As we made our way to Elland Road I wasn’t looking forward to the cold, there again I think it was colder in our house than outside! After a quick trip to the ticket office and club shop we headed to the Peacock. I was meeting Garry to personalise the two books he was aiming to buy in the club shop but it turned out they had sold out of them. As it was he caught me before leaving home so I was able to bring some copies with. Thanks for the support Garry which is appreciated. After chatting with some fans about the game and others about our songs recording on 18th November, it was time to head into the ground in time for kick off. It seemed quieter outside than at recent games but as it was a different half term for many I still assumed we would have a decent crowd.
At the start of the game we had the Royal British Legion and the Yorkshire Regiment in and as it was our nearest game to Armistice Day, the last post was played on the bugle before two minutes silence. This was impeccably observed and as usual great respect shown to the fallen soldiers in the World Wars and recent times.
The team today was Lonergan, Ayling, Pennington, Jansson, Dallas, Roofe, Saiz, Alioski, Lasogga, Vieira and O’Kane. Subs were Sacko for Roofe (76), Grot for Pennington (84) and Hernandez for Alioski (84). Leeds lost 2-1 with Lasogga scoring our goal (7 minutes). Attendance was 28,565 with 852 Derby fans.
Leeds started off strongly attacking the South Stand and it didn’t take long before we took the lead. Saiz passed the ball across to Lasogga in a good position at the right of the goal who scored in the seventh minute. The one thing I noticed was that we had limited our passing back to the goalie which in itself stops the pressure on our defence. We had some fantastic moves especially from Saiz once again but couldn’t build on our goal lead. We were playing well and kept Derby at bay for most of the half although with a couple of attacks their number 17 I think it was, threw himself to the ground twice in blatant dives. Luckily nothing was given but the first dive was so blatant he should have been booked for it. I didn’t realise until further into the game that Bradley Johnson and Scott Carson both ex-Leeds players were in the Derby team. We looked in control of the game and I wanted to ensure we went into half time still in the lead to give us a good chance in the second half. As it was Lonergan was redundant for a lot of the first half although once when he got the ball he slowed the game right down waiting for everyone to get back into position. He should have immediately thrown the ball out to Alioski on the wing to set up a quick counter attack. Now that’s one thing Wiedwald was good at, being able to turn our defence into attack by playing out from the back.
At the start of the second half Derby came out with renewed vigour and were already on the pitch waiting before Leeds came back out. We immediately started passing back at the start of the half and Jansson was nearly caught out a couple of times with short passes. For some reason we had reverted to type instead of carrying on playing to our strengths. We nearly got a second goal when Alioski had Carson tipping the ball out of the top corner and had a couple of good attacks before it looked like we had run out of steam. I wondered if we should change things after the hour mark and thought Roofe wasn’t really in the game at that time. How I wished that sub had been made because from our attack that broke down, all of a sudden their player was haring down the left hand side towards the South Stand on his own. Roofe was still stood on the half way line watching him when he realised he needed to chase him but it was too late and before we knew it the ball was in the net. This also gave Derby the impetus to start attacking us although we still looked as if we could contain them at that point. I can’t remember at which point the crowd were doing a great WACCOE but when everything went quiet, you could feel the tension in the air. I still thought we could get something out of the game until the ref pointed to the spot at the far end after their player was fouled near the edge of the box. Many have said the foul was outside but I cannot be sure as I haven’t seen it. As their player sent Lonergan the wrong way to put Derby into the lead that’s when you could see the game slipping away from us. We still did have a couple of chances but Grot and Lasogga went for the same ball denying one chance. Lasogga missed a great chance to equalise when his shot went above the crossbar rather than under it sadly. I would definitely have taken a draw at that stage once again. It was a very disappointing end to the game and it feels like our fitness levels aren’t good enough. As my hubby pointed out it reminded him of when Wilko started out and we could only play for 60 minutes, then 70 and eventually managed to play for 90 minutes.
As I listened to BBC Radio Leeds on the way home and the slating both the team and TC were getting from both the panels and fans texting in, I felt quite sad that expectations had gone from high to so low very quickly. I have a coping mechanism which is I can forget what happens on the pitch very quickly and just move on to the next game. I know I’ve said there will be plenty of swings and roundabouts and ups and downs along the way, but we have to be patient. What many seem to have forgotten is that we have had to start again this season with a new team and manager and it is going to take time for things to go in the right direction. I realise with our great start to the season that it gave us all the hope that this time things were going to work out well for us until reality has set in once again.
We head for Brentford on Saturday with a tea-time kick off for the live game on Sky. I always hope we can turn things around and in one sense we were unlucky to lose today, but at the end of the day it is results that count and we really need the three points to give us some hope back. Fingers crossed we can put up a good performance and do another Bristol City please. See you there – LUFC – Marching on Together!