|Mullet added 23:29 - Sep 15|
In a game that provided little in the way of clear cut chances it was Ipswich that played the better football. Whether Mick had threatened to give Natalie a taste of his media-savvy tongue or not, who knows? But Douglas began and spent most of the game playing like a man again. Whilst head tennis often broke the momentum of some nice football served up when he and Skuse got their foot in, McG and the rest of the attack got theirs on the ball and went to work.
Fraser put in a superb MOTM display and stretched and push Leeds the whole time he was on, and on song he was. Linking up with his team mates and ably supported by Knudsen it was the left that produced the better play and chances to pull in front. Leeds might have lost Bamba after only a few minutes when he flew through and threw Fraser, and then was shown a card. The early timing of such a recklessly late tackle ensured it stayed the more lenient shade.
Maitland-Niles on the other wing got little service but when McG picked him out with a lovely pass, the bobble and the onrushing man beat him to the punch and again showed that being in the right place, needs to be accompanied by being there at the right time too.
Leeds’ main attacking threat came in the large form of former Town loanee Wood, who was still impressively physical but bafflingly goalshy tonight. When Leeds had their first penalty shout from an offside breakaway and neat dive in the box, the Whites’ noise rose and soon fell as quickly as their man. On 18 minutes they had a stonewall shout denied when Kiwis clashed and Tommy’s outstretched arm clearly blocked Woods’ attempt to cross. Town would not give the referee time to pause as they broke impressively through Douglas and the front two.
On just over half an hour a defensive mix up saw an easy claim for the keeper diverted out for a corner. Swung across unchallenged, before dropping back across goal and into the net off of Tommy Smith’s head – one might be forgiven for fearing the worst. Luckily it was at the far end and the right end. A deserved lead and the small travelling contingent burst into life for the first time.
McGoldrick nearly doubled it with the next attack. A world cup winning flick and turn over the last man, but a finish more akin to the world cup starting Friday as he sailed it over the bar without converting. Such great heights this winning away on a Tuesday night in Yorkshire suddenly seemed.
The half petered out without the wobbling sense of it all coming crashing down. Leeds started to look more like the home side at times when they hadn’t really for much of the 45. Town’s star men of last season Murphy and Berra both looked a yard or lapse short of former glory. The Irishman was excellent in the air but not as quick on his feet when perhaps the attackers needed to see the final ball or run.
At the back Town had remembered to double up on their men when needed and row Z it too. The non-existent middle would not come back to haunt us as few ghosted past Blue shirts without finding a foot or flag to curtail their progress.
The second half saw Daryl find his stride as he hit a low shot from near the byline to not really trouble the keeper like he had the ponderous Bamba. What a man so slow has to think about – f@ck knows. Fraser would go four better as completely surrounded it was Bamba who touched his hip, but seduced by the scent of glory the little Scot fired off a shot honestly, when he had clear grounds to hit the deck and claim a spot kick. Fouled yet fair. It wasn’t going to cost us.
Leeds had as ever a spectre of threat about them, especially as the game drew on. Dallas nearly joined Town apparently, but was withdrawn after an hour or so of graft but little return from Knudsen. When the left back had finished giving the odd pass away as his concentration seemed to go for a brief period, he won a freekick from another nasty tackle. Murphy headed wide and over from it.
Mick rung the changes with around 15 left on the clock. Tommy rose moments earlier like a one man Maori war canoe, and Cole Skuse was the victim of his splash down. Hobbling off with the impressive Fraser, for Parr and Coke as Town kept their shape but dulled their knife-edge advantage for more solidity. It worked to a frantic fashion.
Leeds really pushed as the game drew to a close. Winning corners from deflected shots and poor defensive headers. Twice Leeds scared Town on and off the pitch as the palpable sense of what might happen – didn’t. The lively AMN came off for Pitman as Leeds looked to push and punch through a tighter blues line. Longer and bigger balls were needed to see out the victory.
A final penalty scare came when Knudsen again put himself in harm’s way. The much-improved Launchpad for Fraser’s forays had also covered the backline like fancy paint. When Byram was sent through and splattered and splurged into the box seemingly over the full-backs ankle it seemed inevitable.
Yellow card and a freekick for diving. For a team that had spent 90 minutes chanting its name like a boisterous toddler, the tantrums were spectacular. Surrounded but unmoved the referee made an excellent decision. Town found little in the way to relieve themselves as Leeds pissed away time and possession.
A desperate six minutes of injury yielded little joy in a niggly and tense atmosphere. Town clung on and to a man redeemed the shame of the last outing. It was a win years in the making, not least because of the hard luck this fixture so often threw up, but the fact that for once we played well, did our duty to a man and took three points away in the manner of a side that just wanted a win as much as they needed it.
A fair result, that looked to get away from Town at times. A typically scrappy and satisfying Championship affair that all in all smiled on us, when so often they haven’t. Mick might be stubborn, he might be plain, but he’s got it right so soon after getting it so wrong and the slide becomes more of skidmark for now.
Ryorry added 00:03 - Sep 16
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