|Leeds United 2 v 0 Ipswich Town|
Wednesday, 24th October 2018 Kick-off 19:45
|Carrotblue added 21:52 - Oct 24|
oldbri added 22:14 - Oct 24
mparkyn added 22:32 - Oct 24
Mullet added 00:20 - Oct 25
Seven changes for Town, but everything stays the same. There were times tonight where the gallows humour of “Ipswich Town we’re bottom of the league” was retorted back to Leeds as they reminded us of their vantage point atop the second tier. “Sacked in the morning” echoed off silent bodies in the binary approach to support and resignation. It felt like one step closer to Hurst’s end, the drop inevitable the verdict long passed, the question of when not if it ends all there is.
It’s hard to know if Town were playing 4-4-2 or a version of 4-2-2-2 where Bart returned and so did Knudsen, in from the cold of Russia and beyond, they have travelled far since the summer, only to wind up with one eye on the departure lounge come January you suspect.
Pennington went from right back to left-sided centre back, Chambers on his other shoulder and Jordan Spence from some dim and distant teamsheet returned. Skuse and Downes sat as central columns, Edun and Nolan neither wingers, neither central, neither sure of themselves had Sears and Jackson as the only attacking outlets.
Leeds played with a far more subtle shape and oozed confidence as well as clever runs around our narrower form. If the club has been leaking like a sieve of late, the team were more of a colander. Rigid and still full of holes, the hot water of the Bielsa way of playing submerged us all too often. Town were left to wallow not bathe in it.
When Hernandez eventually broke free thanks to a simple stab from Saiz, the Leeds players knew exactly where to go, and where he would too. A crumpled triangle off the ball saw Roofe crash down upon us and nod a powerful header between Chambers and Pennington rom close range. A strong hand from Bart only punched it into the net, like Leeds had crossed us on to our heels with steamhammer force.
Once Ipswich go 1-0 down, that is usually enough this season. Clearly some supporters had had their fill as Leeds matched us in terms of bookings and not much else. Saiz had drawn an early chop from Nolan, Beradi did the same to even up the cautions before collapsing and using it as an excuse to bow out after barely half an hour. It was the crucial change for everything. Sleight of hand from the Chilean magician, but enough to cast his spell over Hurst.
Leeds replaced Beradi with Dallas and went to a 3-4-3 with double wingers on either flank, and one centre back in the form of Kalvin Phillips, who is really a midfielder. Playing the ball from deep, he was flanked by full-centrebacks Ayling and Cooper who had room and runs to make when necessary. Such was our depth of retreat, such was the little threat we were judged to possess.
In one dugout stood a broadside of tactics and confidence, across the technical area, a toothpick in comparison. Silently musing and mustering little else but a glance out at what was unfolding. By the time we got under the stand to the warmth, there was little glowing in our first half account.
Leeds had really been at their best when forcing us to palm the ball away, or hook and head it usually into set pieces they then wrought another scare from. Given the scoreboard displayed a possession stat of 67%, passes numbering 200 to our century and shots on target as one apiece, it was corners where Leeds’ half a dozen to our zero hinted at the dominance to which we had succumbed.
Bart might get a hand to one or two efforts, Chambers might smack the ball away, but that would too often be followed by a look around for team mates and then forward for the second wave of attacks.
When the second half started, Town tried to. Edun clearly handled on the edge of our box, but the referee waved play on. Town cantered forward into stiff resistance. Winning a free kick the Cottager whipped the ball towards with his feet this time, and at the back post Chambers was near naked such was the degree to which his marker had his shirt in his hands. The linesman was not for flagging. A clear penalty, it was the best hope Town would have to level, and almost fitting to see it brushed off however unjustly.
On the hour Leeds made subs 2 and 3 in between throw ins or so. Saiz who had been a sort of number 10 drifting in from the left, gave way to Forshaw. Sitting deeper he had acres of space thanks to receding line Town had drawn in front of the box. The Harrison was removed as a second winger, for another one in the shape of Pearce. It gave Leeds more legs with which to trample us slowly.
Hurst had seen us deflect and watch shots and switches of play whistle past the post or the whole open-mouthed goal Town were defending. So, he took out Edun and from the left and put on Ward who moved to the right and Nolan switched. Again, neither seemed to want, or be allowed too close to the line. They were jogging all night in a marathon they seemed destined to never finish.
Hernandez would again look to undo Town with a few dallies of his pastel coloured boots. A strong shot, a strong save from Bart. A short corner and he was again providing like the Lord, as little blue sheep dizzied themselves, penned into the 6 yard box as Cooper rifled home a second just inside the 18 yard line and far post. It was a great strike to be fair to him, but he was their nominal centre back defending on the front foot, in the wrong box.
Something was rotten in the state of our man marking, but likewise Town failed to push forward against a Leeds side who like so many others this season just kept us at arm’s length. Town aren’t even a tune up fight for most sides in the division, we are a bag, thudding and swinging at the whim and wishes of whatever men are stood in front of us.
Alioski who had caused us many problems in the same fixture a year ago with his instinct to cut deep runs into soft areas did so again. His slashing shot bouncing off the still white post like a knife hitting a rib, when the heart of the mismatch was so close to being exposed yet again.
Sears had done enough talking before the game as this week’s media man, but he had little in the way of action to show for 80 minutes of running. As he trotted past Edwards for Town’s second change, all we did was put one more diminutive man between two defensive giants to spectate upon the carnage at the far of the field.
Forshaw moved from deep to receive the ball just outside the box. An island of white amidst a sea of blue shirts, a launched a missile that might have beaten Bart with a little more precision. It was an example of many times the ball moved faster and with more purpose than anyone on the Ipswich sideline.
Chalobah came on for Skuse to see out the last few minutes. He ran a lot, he tried a lot, he got abused for his hair for the first time this season. But for a man with a “birdsh1t on his head” he had no luck either. Leeds delighted in the final warm down or what seemed like a pre-season exercise to break up their October schedule. Town fans meanwhile dreamt of far off places, like midtable or Walsall.
If Evans refuses to act, then it is hard to see similar pantomime and bad reviews that brought the curtain down on Mick coming at more appropriate time of the year. Town are as poor as we have seen under Evans, not just in terms of value for this summer’s investment, but on the field too. He now rules over an empire of dirt, soon to ravaged by mudslinging and the inevitable tide of hopelessness. Town aren’t just on the brink of difficulty and misfortune, we’re at the edge of the map. Looking at the abyss of League 1 and whatever is right or wrong about the monsters no longer in the distance, it is only the darkness of relegation looking back up at us.
You should hope that it is in fact the shadow of a new man across the threshold of Portman Rd.
Les57 added 11:51 - Oct 25
madmouse1959 added 13:54 - Oct 25
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