Back to Elland Road tonight following the mauling we received at the hands of Bolton at the weekend during the 5-1 loss. The idea was that we would have “Bounce-back-ability”against Reading and be able to come out all guns blazing and put the past behind us. We had five changes to the team too, with everyone’s favourite scapegoat Jimmy Kebe not even allowed anywhere the team, much to the delight of 95% of Leeds fans who booed him off the pitch just three days ago.
So we were all set to bring back the type of football which crowned our fine stadium “Fortress Elland Road” a few years back…and then the game kicked off!
First of all, the kickoff was late due to an accident on the motorway…we should have known then that those who couldn’t make it would be the lucky ones.
It started off pretty boring. Nothing really doing for either teams. No real pressure going forward and certainly no belief that we were able to get back to winning ways.
So it came as no surprise that we became our own worse enemies again on 25 minutes. A badly played backpass from Zaliukas followed by both Jason Pearce and Jack Butland to seem unable to decide who was going to get rid of the ball gifted the ball to McCleary who put the ball into the empty net.
We looked poor and looked again like we were not going to be able to create much in the way of goalscoring opportunities,
The half finished 1-0 to Reading…the same scoreline that the game on Saturday was at the same point in the game…surely it wasn’t going to go that way again…
The second half started and just a minute into it a freekick was given away to Reading who curled a very well taken shot into the goal. It was the side of the goal Butland was meant to be covering but he just didn’t get anywhere near it.
And just a couple of minutes later, we were 3-0 down. A free header and a third goal.
By now, the Leeds heads were dropping. We were playing with zero passion and conviction and everyone looked defeated. I noticed that McCormack wasn’t moving out of his centre-forward position at all throughout the game. He normally likes to move around and have more play of the ball but it just wasn’t happening. Was this something he had been explicitly told to do?
On 54 minutes, Reading scored a 4th.
The Leeds fans were now really getting on the back of the players. Something certainly wasn’t right.
But a glimmer of hope in the 63rd minute as substitute Matt Smith scored. Could it be possible?
All of a sudden…we looked lively. McCormack went into a more free role and wanted it more and just a minute later, Rudy Austin scored a screamer of a goal…2-4…would we be able to pull of a miracle?
Five minutes before, we were the worst team in the world, the manager wanted sacking and every player on the pitch needed selling to a non-league team…but now, all of a sudden there was hope and chances. We started creating and making chances and the belief was there and………
….and all this was just papering over the cracks. Yes, we had a good ten-fifteen minute spell…but on the whole, the performance of the team was absolutely woeful and atrocious. The defence were non-existent, too many long balls were played whilst McCormack was up front and it wasn’t working. Too many long balls were kicked straight out of play. Zero effort from anyone out wide. McCormack wasn’t in the game for most of it and it was an absolute embarrassment to watch.
Just because we scored two goals does not make up for the fact that around 80 of the 90 minute game we were piss-poor.
The two goals spared the team more boos, prevented any “McDermott Out” chants and generally gave false hope.
And on the case of McDermott, we were saying around us at the game that McDermott won’t get sacked. GFH Capital can’t afford to sack him and Cellino ain’t in charge yet…so he’ll be there…but whose fault is it? Manager? Players?
Who knows…but one thing for sure is that if something doesn’t change very quickly, we’ll be seeing sub 17k crowds all the way to the end of the season.
Still…we’ll be there…Marching On Together!