Leeds United 3 Leicester City 1 Keep on winning

Leeds United 3 Leicester City 1.  Leeds United had done the double over Leicester City. Local hero Archie Gray finding the net. Leeds just keep on winning.

Leeds United 3 Leicester City 1. Keep on winning.  This was my second visit to Elland Road this season with my son.  The first was a regulation 3-0 win over Rotherham FC that started with an early goal that set the tone for the rest of the afternoon.  The match, against the team at the bottom of the table, was won in the first ten minutes.  A packed Elland Road settled down to enjoy a Leeds dominate the match.

Leicester City was an altogether different affair.  Leicester City had a double figure advantage at the top of the table for the first part of the season, they were that prolific but it was never likely to last.  A defeat at Middlesbro FC in their last match, and Leeds United on what was to become their best ever run of wins in a row – nine so far – meant this was a potentially a season defining match. Going into the match it was evenly matched.  The difference being the twelfth man – the Leeds fans.

With Southampton FC and Ipswich Town, having recently played their games in hand, breathing down Leeds’ neck in third and fourth position, this was not a match Leeds could afford to lose.  Pressure? Buckets of it.

As we entered the stadium the buzz of anticipation fizzed around the stands.  This time we were in the North Stand with a definite hardcore feel to it as no one was spared their vitriol – not the travelling fans in the far end of the ground, not the referee for his loose decisions, nor the Leicester players for their time-wasting.  Nor Sky Sports for (again) moving the date and time of our matches.

The pressure on the pitch soon became apparent from the start as Leeds failed to be tight enough on their slick passing with Georginio repeatedly being robbed of the ball and falling over.  Rodon was also not as confident at the back especially with the effective Leicester high press. Gray and Firpo worked hard tracking back as Leicester City sought to float the ball behind them.  At the other end of the pitch Leicester City were ruthless, counter attacking on the wings with quick passing that inevitably led to a corner and a set piece goal as Leeds failed defend.

Leeds had their chances before and after the Leicester City goal with Piroe spurning a clear chance and Gnonto taking too many touches in front of goal. When Leeds came out in the second half their attempt to force the play nearly backfired.  Summerville missed his opportunities and Leicester City continued to pick up miss-placed Leeds passes, missing their own shots toward goal and having one disallowed – although it looked onside.  Both teams could have scored their way into the lead.

And then everything changed.  Farke took off a lacklustre Piroe for Bamford, a struggling Firpoe for Roberts, and a misfiring Gnonto for James.  Leeds got their mojo back and forced Leicester City back into their own half.  Fans were could see the difference but at 70 minutes the frustration was mounting as Ampadu and Gruev played the ball sideways looking for a gap. With James’ pace on the right Leeds now had the player to cause Leicester problems.

As Leeds passed their way into the Leicester City penalty box Roberts, unmarked, picked up a deflected shot and planted it firmly into the back of the net.  Elland Road erupted.  Within three minutes Gray popped up on the left and had a speculative shot worm its way through a pack of defenders foxing the keeper into the net.  Now Elland Road was rocking – their home grown talent had scored to put Leeds ahead.  Within three minutes Leicester City’s control of the match had crumbled.

It was not over yet ,as we went into five minutes extra time, a hard working Georginio managed to win a free kick in front of goal.  James stepped up to take it. With a shot straight at Bamford in the wall a careful deflection trickled into the corner of the net.  We were on fire, my son was screaming and jumping with disbelief.  Leeds United had done the double over Leicester City and just keep on winning.

I predict a riot

Practically all the fans stayed behind to celebrate the end of the match with the players with the DJ playing Joy Division – the fans sang ‘Leeds are falling apart again’ – oh the irony.

Man of the match: Archie Gray who kept on top of Leicester throughout the match, and that goal.


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