POST MATCH RAMBLE: Leeds United -v- Wednesday

POST MATCH RAMBLE: Leeds United -v- Wednesday

It’s been a while since I did a Post Match Ramble and I never really seem to have the time these days, mindstya, I don’t seem to have the time or spare cash to make many away games either, in fact this was the first of the season.

Normally by this time I wouldn’t have missed a game home or away, cup or league, but times are hard and money is tight so picking the right games isn’t easy anymore.

As it turned out, this time the Young Un was the one that had booked the tickets so she was in charge of it all this time around, which made a nice change.

It’s not easy to shoulder the responsibility of matchday organisation and preparation ya know….it doesn’t just land on ya lap; things need to be planned and booked and sorted. It’s like a fine tactical operation and something kids usually know little about but it was good for her to have some of that to look after…even if I did search the house a few times looking for where I’d put the chuffing tickets before realising I hadn’t actually got them…I even went back into the house having left and locked the door just to make doubly sure for the umpteenth time.

I’m never keen on these early kick offs but before ya knew it I was outside her house ready for her and ready for the off…it’s not a long journey to Elland Road for us nor is it a difficult one so we’d be there in no time at allRoll your eyes

We were a mile or so down the road sat at traffic lights when I casually asked, ‘you’ve got the tickets haven’t you?’ confidently expecting the answer to be accompanied a huge sigh of exasperation and rolling eyes ‘of course dad calm yaself’

Well there was huge sigh and there was rolling of eyes but the answer wasn’t the same…’OOOOOH NO!

Ring Adam and tell him to meet us round the corner…which she did…and he did…with the tickets….

Of course I didn’t let it drop…

‘I give you one task…just bring the tickets with you…that’s all I asked…it’s not a lot…a small responsibility really…not too weighty for you…well obviously it was too weighty for you because you forgot them’

There was more sighing…and more rolling of the eyes…but I was enjoying the moment. Every parent knows you have to make the most of these moments.

We were back on track though and even though the traffic was a little heavy at times we weren’t going to be that late and if we legged it we might only miss a minute or two. We got parked up, the young un handed me my ticket…we gathered everything together and set off for the ground.

As we left the car I chanced my arm again…’don’t worry, we won’t miss much of the game…and it doesn’t matter really’…obviously said with just a slight air of ‘it does matter really and it’s your fault’ but also with that loving, understanding father look too…most dads know how to pull that off, it’s a good weapon in our armoury against the kids.

DOH! 3We’d gone several hundred yards when I had that nagging feeling…I quietly searched my pockets….slightly less quietly and more franticly searched my wallet before asking ‘have you got my ticket?’

‘No’ came the reply…’I gave it to you in the car’ obviously accompanied by that loving, understanding daughter look that has more than a hint of smugness about it.

We turn on our heels and dad jog back to the car…as we approach I can see the chuffing ticket on the dashboard…

’Don’t worry, we won’t miss much of the game…and it doesn’t matter really’ Says the Young Un…with that look that kids give their parents…the one they have in their armoury for when we use those in our armoury. I shudder…grab the ticket and we about turn back down the already well trodden path towards the ground.

As we approach the gates I look at my watch…and catch a smile from the Young Un…cheeky chuffer!

THE MATCH

It’s always difficult to report on a match that pretty much everyone has seen due to it being televised and when that happens pretty much everyone has a much better view of the game than you do at the ground but you don’t see everything and you certainly don’t get the ‘feel’ of the game and a game like Leeds vs Wednesday always has plenty of feel about it…

Despite missing the first few minutes it didn’t take long to get the measure of this game just as Leeds seemed to have the measure of our team…for those opening few minutes I hardly saw Wednesday with the ball and when we did have it, it was briefly as Leeds seemed to remove it from our players easily and stroll casually away on yet another attack.

Even when we did get the ball and string together a line of one pass in a row we couldn’t create anything…the movement ahead was poor and we seemed to lack ideas and spark.

Westwood a1

We’re not doomed!

By the time half an hour had come around I was beginning to think we’d have been better taking longer to get to the ground…time after time when we had the ball a Leeds tackle would result us losing the ball and these weren’t full blooded angry derby match tackles, these were casual saunters over to our players and simply walking the ball away uncontested. Fortunately for us for all their possession Leeds were just as hopeless in front of goal and the odd occasion they did muster a decent shot the best player on thye pitch bar none, Keiren Westwood was equal to the challenge.

What a revelation he’s been this season…I admit to being a total Chris Kirkland groupie and loved that we had one of if not THE best keepers outside the Premier League and also to being a little dismayed and alarmed not to see him maintain that Number 1 spot this season, especially after anxiously waiting for that signature on a new contract…I worried that Westwood would be nowhere near as good and as someone used to say ‘We were doomed’

I couldn’t have been further from the truth because not only has Westwood stepped into the big boots of Kirkland he’s filled them well and has arguably been our best player this season pulling off brilliant save after brilliant save and today he continued with that form including in this first half with a stunning athletic tip over from a superb shot by Austin…the shot had everything…skill, flair and above all incredible accuracy…right into the top left corner…the ‘red zone’ where shots don’t get saved from….unless Westwood is in goal…for all the beauty and skill involved in that shot it was matched all the way by the incredible save from the Wednesday stopper…a wonderful piece of footy.

We needed it to be honest….it was like an oasis in the middle of some very average dull to watch football…it followed the same formula throughout the game…We have the ball…Leeds take the ball from us…Leeds do nothing with the ball…we get the ball…make a poor decision in the final third, give the ball back to Leeds who again do nothing…rinse and repeat for the first half…

Maguire Leeds

Less impressive Chris Maguire

As impressed as I was with Westwood I was less so with our wingers Maghoma and Maguire who flattered to deceive once again. Time after time they would do the difficult stuff, taking players on, getting forward into a good position only to become the chief culprit in handing the ball over softly to a Leeds player…their decision making, especially in that final third was awful and it led me onto a massive chunter about Maguire and how overrated he was by Wednesday fans and how some players weren’t given half the grace and respect he gets yet deliver more consistent performances time in, time out…I’d get the chuffer off and sit him out for a while.

There was little for Wednesday fans to get excited about and the home fans were getting just as frustrated at their own team for lacking the very same spark we did…

The Leeds fans to be fair to them had been in fine voice in front of us which is in contrast to the last time we were here and they were full of doom and gloom. Even the top of the new stand opposite was starting to get fans back in and I’m pretty sure they’d boycotted that during the Ken Bates era so something must have perked them up of late about their club.

In fact we had a moment of spontaneous mutal agreement at one stage which totally threw me…The Leeds fans started about hating Sky TV and not only did some Wednesday fans join in but applauded them for the chant…not the first time we’ve seen this anti-Sky stuff and I’m liking it a lot, the more impetus it gathers the better.

There was another smashing ‘fan moment’ shortly after that when the ball ended up in the back of our net but the linesman’s flag was up pretty early for offside, obviously unseen by one or two Leeds fans in front of us who were celebrating prematurely as ya do and giving us some right stick about….one youth jumped about a yard into the air, fists pumping the air, his Burberry cap an inch higher than his head, elation oozing from every pore and his face the very picture excitement…Youth Jump

I swear to you now…the moment they all realised it was off side and disallowed every stopped dead…including him…only he was still in the air!!

He was like Dynamo or David Blaine…or for those of us a little bit older, like the Magic Boomerang…Oh yeah, there was a programme called the Magic Boomerang, you better believe there was…he was suspended in mid-air for that millisecond and the world had stopped…when he finally landed his face had changed from rapture to torment and embarrassment…it’s not an isolated incident, of course it isn’t and we’ve all been there and done that at some point…it’s a fantastic moment when you see someone else do it and one of the worst when it’s you caught doing it and it’s those moments that I still love about football…the little things.

Our own moment came right at the end of the half when we had settled in for a 0-0 half time scoreline….Maguire whips in a decent ball for a change and Stevie May is there to meet it virtually unchallenged between two Leeds defenders…the ball heads, literally, towards the home goal and we are so convinced it’s going in we prepare to celebrate….only to see it go agonisingly wide of the post… he really should have done better…against the run of play yeah but who cares? We should have been a goal ahead.

We’d only been in the ground half an hour but that first half was so poor as a spectacle it had felt like a week…and despite that boost at the end from May I just couldn’t see us getting anything at all from this game.

DoomedI kept tweeting and posting online for that matter that I couldn’t see us getting anything out of this game…other than that isolated late chance we just didn’t look capable of mustering a positive driving meaningful attack and looked to be on the back foot all the time…if we came out of this with a draw, which looked unlikely it would seem like a win as it looked an inevitable home win to this tired old eyes.

Oh chuffin hell…why do I put meself through this crap?

The half time interval was the best part of the game so far though the lacklustre clapping for the local kids walking round the pitch was extremely poor…Whenever this happens, wherever and whoever we are playing, both sets of fans usually respond well to kids parading round the pitch but this time only me, Hollie and one old guy in front of us with a silent clap were applauding…the strangest applause I’ve ever seen from anyone…there was literally no sound at all coming from the mans hands and looking across at the home fans they didn’t give a chuff either…about the kids not the silent clapping bloke…they won’t have seen him.

When the players came out for the second half we settled ourselves down for what we expected to be more of the same…not even the thought of a good Stuart Gray half time talk, of which there have been plenty to galvanise the players, could lift our expectations…even less so when we saw that Nuhiu had been replaced by Madine…I’ll not go into my thoughts on this lad again, suffice to say me and the Young Un are not his biggest fans and his presence simply added to our feeling of inevitable despair.

Madine Leeds Header

Madine won’t make any headers this game

The Young Un posed the question as he strode onto the pitch…how many headers do you think Gary Madine will miss today? Fans belt on about Nuhiu not being the greatest header of a football but they never give the same gripes to Madine who is a far worse player on every level and the question was a rhetorical one as we knew without doubt he’d never make a header for the rest of the game.

However, it didn’t pan out like that and as much as I hate to admit it, Madine did make a difference to the side and what’s more I don’t think he missed a header for the whole of the half and every time he headed the ball me and the Young Un looked at each other as we’d been asked for a stoat. How the hell has this happened?

The half started a little brighter than anything we’d seen in that first half with Leeds almost capitalising on a very poor Glenn Loovens header back to his keeper…like most of our play so far it lacked purpose and conviction and caused Westwood to rush from his goal only to be caught in no-mans land as the Leeds player lofted the ball over him towards goal…fortunately for us Liam Palmer was covering and managed to mop up the mistake from Loovens…what the hell is happening to the Wednesday captain? Not the rock he was last season by any stretch of the imagination.

I don’t know whether it was that moment or not that galvanised us but the up to now sleepy Maguire intercepted a Leeds pass on the halfway line and was immediately on his bike hurtling towards the Leeds goal, as he approached the angle of the box he rifled a shot towards goal which again, from our angle looked all over net bound….our hopes were dashed as it clumped harmlessly into the side netting but at least there was a bit of a lift about the game now.

Westwood was called into action once again as Leeds burst past our back line with a sublime, perfectly weighted pass and a decent shot that was kept out once again by the Wednesday keeper…

We’d seen more intent in these opening minutes than the whole of the first 45 and there was better to come for the traveling Wednesday fans…

Maguire celebrates

Chris Maguire: Hero…allus liked him

One of those uber consistent accurate kicks upfield from Westwood finds Maghoma out wide…he digs out a cross that somehow eludes everyone in the box but finds its way across to the waiting Chris Maguire who hits it first time rifling it hard and low across goal and into the far corner….

Of course we went nuts…you’d expect nothing less…I grabbed the Young Un we went mental as we celebrated the goal and doubled the pleasure by looking down at the crestfallen Leeds fans in front of us…

The blokes behind us went nuts, the lads to the right went nuts…the woman and her husband in front of us we’re giving it some and so were we…to our left though…The young lad was looking for someone to join in with…he turned one way, nothing….he turned behind him to the big guy arms up almost like a little kid wanting to be picked up…nope…he looked forward to woman and husband and did some awkward kinda shoulder touch thing on the woman in front, she turned and looked a little puzzled so he quickly pulled his hand back and then jumped up and down on the spot, in his own little celebration, fist clenched, again like a little kid, before I grabbed him and pulled him in with us…

I love Maguire I do…I’ve never doubted it at all…always had faith in him…some folk just need to give players time, get behind them and support em…I’m glad I always got behind him.

Of course…when your team’s not been playing well and the game hasn’t been a festival of skill and flair but you somehow manage to find yourself ahead you don’t really care about what’s gone on before that point, it’s immaterial…the only thing that matters is, you ARE ahead and the home fans in front of us were pissed off…even more so as we let it all out in fine voice….

Wednesday fans

Belting it out…

As well as being in fine voice with some cracking singing from the outnumbered Wednesday fans there was also some very poor chanting from our fans as well that really does grate on me…I won’t go into them too much but I’m pretty sure you know the ones I’m on about. I don’t see the point in them…it’s not banter and it’s definitely not something I want to be associated with…BUT…amidst that awful chanting…right in there at the centre of it all was a bit of hope…

The Young Un turned to me and said…see that Young blonde haired lad in front of us with his dad? He just turned to his dad and said ‘Dad, don’t sing that song’
Call me soft if ya like, I don’t give a monkeys…I don’t go to footy for the snidey dark side and I don’t like it when it rears its ugly head. It’s NOT part of football…well not part of my football anyway and to know there are youngsters still of that same mind shows the game isn’t totally down the toilet just yet.

To be fair to Leeds our goal didn’t put them off their stride and straight from the restart they burst through our defence and blasted a shot at goal only to find the rock that is Keiren Westwood blocking their path with another fine save.

That Leeds chance aside I felt a little more comfortable about our play now and at this stage wasn’t too bothered by the Leeds threat. We were creating our own chances too and Stevie May showed some lovely skill inside the box to turn and shoot but again put in inches wide of the post.

It was just a matter now of keeping it tight and concentrating right up to the final whistle and we could get away from here, burglar masks in place with a smile and three long overdue points.

Semedo Leeds Ref

Come ooon ref, really?

This wasn’t a bad tempered Yorkshire derby by any means but deep into the second half the tackles started to get a bit more meaningful and it seemed almost inevitable that Semedo would end up in the book and he did just that but he continued in his ‘committed’ way after that too and I really wanted him to be replaced before he got the second card otherwise he was gonna be pushed too far even for his mild mannered attitude….he may be one of the nicest blokes at the club and ever the consummate professional but once on that pitch he gives 100% every single time and puts everything he has into the game and into each and every tackle…total commitment…but he needed taking off or we’d finish with 10 men.

It was from the free kick from that Semedo foul that Leeds finally got themselves back into the game…a floated ball into the box that somehow landed easily at the feet of Bellusci who seemed to just place the ball through the masses and into the far corner of the net leaving the unsighted Westwood with no chance…

It was the homes fans turn to celebrate and that they did as we slumped into our seats ready to take to taunts but more than a little bit sloughened by the soft goal we had finally conceded….barely 10 minutes left of the game and we’d finally caved in.

I was back to being downbeat and obviously expected Leeds to go on and win this now…I’d gone from reasonably relaxed about the outcome to feeling just a little bit tense…chuff my old boots, I hate this game sometimes…

Those last 10 minutes…PLUS THE FIVE EXTRA! Were indeed very tense…

I said to the Young Un…’Fancy making another claim about Madine similar to the never winning headers one so he can prove you wrong’

‘Madine never scores a winning goal in extra time to win at Elland Road’ she says….

And ya know what? This time she was right…

I mean five chuffing minutes! Where the hell did that come from?

Beastie Meter

Every Ref has one

I’m now convinced that all referees carry a Beastie Pissometer (not what you would expect it to be) that tells him just when to crank it up, make bad decisions and how much to add on at the end to really piss me off.

The game did finally reach it’s inevitable Madine winning contribution free conclusion and the honours were shared and despite the home side having just about the best of it throughout, certainly in the first half, the result felt about right and I was more than happy to leave with a point.

By the end of it all I found I’d quite enjoyed it…OK, it still hadn’t been the greatest game ever and the football on show simply served to underline to fans that neither team was as good as they thought they were and have upper bottom half of the table stamped all over them, though having seen some of the teams at the top of this division neither of these two teams is that far away from them so perhaps it simply underlines the sheer averageness of the Championship. Either way there had been enough about the game, on and off the pitch to make it an enjoyable afternoon.

Me and the Young Un quick marched our way back to the car with not a single sign of any trouble anywhere only stopping on the way to gather a bagful of assorted pastry products from Greggs and sit for an hour in the car whilst the traffic died down.

That’s what I call a good end to the game.


Steve:Beastie
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
Twitter: @Owlsalive or @Beastie_


2 Comments

  1. Fair and an interesting read lad . Good luck for rest of season . Until we play YA that is .. Tony
    Leeds fan

  2. Thanks Tony

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