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Thursday, 22 September 2011

Leeds v City: An unlucky day at the office?

Saturday’s result at Leeds was disappointing and caused a number of fans (who admitted later they hadn’t been to the game) to react with severe disappointment on Twitter.  There was an instant retort and a handful of arguments broke amongst some of those fans and others who had been to the game and were on their way home.  It’s one of the fascinating aspects of Twitter and online forums that you can have such an instant discussion, particularly for away games when fewer fans actually see the live performance.
So was it good and unlucky?  Was it bad and deserved?  I have enlisted the help of some of those that attended - Dale Merry, Melissa Spencer and John Milsom - to put their view across of the game and the performance.  A Leeds blogger, Thomas Hill from www.Leeds.theoffside.com has also been kind enough to offer a view on City based on what he saw at Elland Road.

The general consensus appears to be that the performance was decidedly improved on many recently, although we started slowly.  Dale explained that he made the trip not expecting much….started off shakily at the back and when Clayton scored it seemed like a case of ‘Here we go again’.  Then Andy Keogh went clean through but James made a brilliant save to preserve the one goal deficit.

John also commented on the slow start, commenting that City gave the ball away in the middle several times (Skuse the main offender) which led to two great chances for Leeds and could have finished the game almost before it had started

Dale went on to say that the save from James seemed to spur us into action and we went straight up the other end and scored a cracker.  A well taken goal according to Melissa, John said it was a great goal and Thomas, the Leeds fan who knows Kilkenny well, said it was both a lovely goal and surprising!  He also added he liked the touch of Kilkenny running and pointing at Chairman Ken Bates – obviously not one of the fans Bates feels might have been offended in his ridiculous posturing this week.

The goal appears to have transformed the side into a confident, football playing side with all in agreement that for nearly an hour City were the best side, controlling the game and leading ultimately to Kisnorbo’s red card and Maynard’s missed penalty.  Melissa felt this was the crucial moment, but Neil Kilkenny appears to have been at the heart of this performance, and when Millen said after the game that the missed penalty wasn’t the turning point, both Dale and John tend to agree, instead pointing to Kilkenny’s surprise substitution as definitely being the moment we lost control of the game.  John called it “ridiculous” and his view of Kilkenny’s performance was that he ran the midfield, fetching and carrying to create. He did a great job.

So what next?  Did Leeds suddenly improve?  Well neither John, nor Leeds fan Thomas thought much of their overall performance with John explaining they were looking rubbish and could barely string two passes together and Thomas feeling it was a terrible performance.  John feels that without Kilkenny’s influence even against 10 men the game plan changed to running around like headless chicken, long balls and a lack of urgency and shape and eventually our fallibility to a lack of concentration at the back came back to haunt us.

In summary Thomas felt the visitors showed some promise with the wide men in particular impressing him and some good quality attacking moves causing the home side problems.  Interestingly his neutral view on Maynard was that he didn’t look interested and that’s got to be a worry now we’ve tied him to the club until at least January.  He echoed my personal view that an over-reliance on Maynard as a lone striker appears to be affecting the team’s scoring chances and John also chipped in at this point, suggesting Stead created two opportunities in the short time he was on the pitch.  Stead and Pitman looked so potent together last season but have had little opportunity to shine in their normal positions so far this season.

In summary, Dale felt we deserved ‘at least a point with the performance a lot better than in previous weeks’, Melissa “felt City were incredibly unlucky not to get a point” and Thomas claimed we “deserved more from the game”.  However, John was perhaps more cynical, with a general view that we were terrible at the start and the end and could have conceded more than the two goals we did.

A final view from Yorkshire was that the number of fans City took was the lowest he’d seen in a long time.  Sadly that is not something likely to change, home or away, until performances and results show a decidedly upward trend.
Many thanks to @Dale_Merry, @MelissaSpencerx, @JohnMilsom and @LeedsTheoffside for their contributions

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