Leeds United v Middlesbrough |2nd December 2023 | Elland Road
I wasn’t looking forward to the freezing temperatures today but had got well wrapped up. Although it took a bit of persuading my body to get into gear and set off in plenty of time, I did reach Elland Road relatively quickly. When I realised the queue to get off the M621 was backing up, I did wonder how long it would take me to park up. Luckily once past the snarl up it was clear. Whilst queuing under the bridge my heart sank when I saw a lone magpie there. Just as I was thinking I’d have to put my superstitions behind me, I saw a second one so knew we’d be okay today. I’ll admit I was cheering when I realised it had a mate! It was nice bumping into a few of my followers from Twitter and Facebook and for me, it’s good to know that other fans appreciate what I do with my blogs so thank you. It was also good to catch up with a few people I haven’t seen for a while but as always, friendships always carry on where you left off within our Leeds United family. Quite a few fans were asking how I thought we’d do today with a prediction of a lot of goals and 4-2 to us. To be honest, it was a shock when they mentioned the goals Boro had been scoring because as always, I only concentrate on Leeds United. I still maintain that it helps to cope with expectations and keeps the pressure off, as I will always make my judgements by what I see on the pitch.
The game started off with a bang when Boro took the lead within three minutes. Leeds were turned around to play towards the Kop in the first half. As Boro launched a fast attack down the left-hand side, their player hit a long range shot from the edge of the box that beat Meslier to take an early lead. I said not to worry, we’d be okay and was proved right when Leeds hit back straight away. Byram picked up the ball on the edge of the box, then went wide and crossed the ball to the far side from the byline, where James rose high into the air to head it into the net to equalise. Things got even better for us as Leeds attacked again and took a deserved lead. Rutter passed to Gray on the wing who crossed the ball that a Boro player headed half-heartedly, only to see Summerville get on the end of it to head home our second goal in a short space of time. Seeing two headed goals from us was a rarity but good that we are trying different things.
The game was fast paced from both sides, but Leeds stepped up the tempo with some constant attacking the goal in front of us. Gray on the left was sublime with some of the footwork he did that had the Leeds crowd drooling and cheering him on. I am convinced he will go nowhere as he needs to stay at Leeds, get game time and be nurtured. We’ve seen too many players forced out or gone who find their playing time stifled and they don’t progress, so it makes sense that he stays here and develops. He is already a fantastic prospect and I love seeing him play as well as Rutter who is always smiling. What a contrast to last season with players who didn’t want to be here, who wouldn’t play for us or put the effort in, which meant we hardly ever scored goals or even had shots on target. Give me players that want to play for Leeds United as we have now and even if we do have ups and downs, they will give their all which is all I ask for. We have a lot to thank Farke for too in the way we are playing.
As Leeds had another attack Ampadu sent a great through ball for Rutter who danced around their player despite being fouled and was brought down in the area. I thought Summerville was taking the resulting penalty, but Piroe stepped up to take it and duly scored putting us 3-1 up. As Leeds fans started singing 1-0 and you fu*ked it up to the Boro fans, I was in agreement with the lad next to me that it was too early to sing it as there was still at least 10 minutes to the break. That turned out to be the case as from another corner, their player managed to get above our players in a crowded penalty area to pull one back with a header. As Leeds attacked again, Summerville got past their last man with some pace only to be brought down with a cynical foul. As far as I was concerned their player should have walked as he was the last man as Summerville’s pace meant he was past their last line of defence. He only received a booking though. Summerville, Rutter and James took some heavy tackles today and I felt the referee was quite lenient with the Boro players involved. He also let two instances go where they pulled our players back to stop them advancing only to book Rutter later on for a similar thing.
The second half started in a similar way as Boro attacked towards the Kop but headed over the bar. Rutter saw their keeper make a great save to stop him for scoring. Boro were still a threat and when their player brought James down with a late tackle for his second booking of the game, he saw a red card. I hoped this would be the difference to keeping Boro at bay with them being down to 10 men. Rutter had a shot saved before we had a lucky escape when Boro came close to an equaliser. They kept running at our defence and as the ball headed into the net, instead it hit the post and came back out. Rodon threw himself in front of the follow up to block the ball and we cleared it. That was close and I knew then that we needed to make some substitutes, as I felt there were some tired legs out there in what had been a very fast paced game. Although the changes were made later on today, Leeds saw the game out to take another three points with another home win.
It was good that we got another win and especially for all the Scandinavians who had travelled to the game. Their hospitality is second to none as I was at the Gary Speed suite last night for the LUSCOS dinner. There were also fans from Iceland, Ireland and no doubt others travelling long distances to get to the game. It also had a great effect on the atmosphere today which was so much better than midweek. We have a week’s grace now and some recovery time before our early kick off at Blackburn next Saturday with a large following of over 7,000 Leeds fans. Let’s hope we can carry on and look forward to another good game and a great atmosphere.
See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together!
Leeds won the game 3-2 with goals from James (5), Summerville (7), Piroe (penalty 38)
Team: Meslier, Struijk, Rodon, Kamara, Gray, James, Summerville, Rutter, Piroe, Ampadu, Byram
Subs: Gnonto for James (82), Bamford for Rutter (82), Gruev for Piroe (90+3), Anthony for Summerville (90+3)
Subs not used: Darlow, Cooper, Shackleton, Spence, Poveda
Attendance: 36,812 (1,900 Boro Fans)
Referee: Darren England
Booked: Rutter, James
Sent off: Dijksteel (Boro)
We have a lot to thank Farke for too in the way we are playing.
I presume you use your 'eyes' to reach that conclusion Heidi ^ ?