Leeds United AFC: Legendary…

When “Sniffer” Clarke opened the scoring in the home game against Southampton on 4th March 1972, it was nothing out of the ordinary. Even when “Hotshot” Lorimer lashed home for a 2-0 halftime lead, it looked like the Whites were simply enroute to a routine victory. However, as the game entered the last 30 minutes, the White Army witnessed a sensational 5 goal blast that is still talked about to this day. “Sniffer” & a “Hotshot” hat-trick made it 5  & with the Whites in cruise control, Charlton rose to head home the 6th. When Jones marked his 300th league appearance with the 7th, the game became legendary & tales of how the Whites toyed with the Saints have since passed down from generation to generation…

Revies team would go on to pick up the FA Cup, but miss out on the double in the infamous defeat away at Wolves, just 2 days after the FA Cup final. In the 39 years that have passed, no other Leeds United AFC side has managed to equal or better 7 goals in one game. In that period, the Whites have been on the receiving end of 7 goals twice, once at Arsenal (League cup 1979) & once at Stoke (League 1986). Given the way this season has gone, a 7 goal haul for ourselves or the opposition is not beyond the realms of possibility. As Doncaster rolled into town, we were happy to just nick a 1-0 win, as Rovers did on their last visit in 2008…

As it turned out, we were treated to 7 goals, but the 39 year old record remains intact. On the back of the Swansea defeat, Grayson saw fit to change the defence, however it wasn’t the predicted left back switch. Reverting back to the 4/5/1 formation, Bromby slipped into centre half. Johnson also returned, with both Somma & Bruce dropped to the bench. With perhaps a point to prove, the Whites set about Rovers with a ferocious intensity. Gradel’s shot was saved by Woods before Howson hit the rebound over. Snoddy was next to let fly as the Whites began to ease through the gears. The positive start was rewarded on 11 minutes, with both sides temporarily down to 10 men…

Becchio was having his head bandaged on pitch side as Gradel picked the ball up in the centre of the park. Driving forward the inspired winger saw a gap & blasted home from 25 yards to ignite the home faithful. The goal injected confidence & we proceeded to produce a master class that should have ripped Rovers to shreds. Gradel fired over from close range, before Kilkenny forced Woods into a fine stop. Becchio then shot wide, before the move of the match so far. Kilkenny linked up with Snoddy on the edge of the area & Snoddy’s quick feet bamboozled Woods, but the Scot lost his footing & shot wide. The slick passing must have transported some in the crowd back to that glorious 7-0 win, with even the odd ¡Ole! getting thrown in…

However, after Becchio fired over from a Gradel cut back, we began to wonder how many chances we would need to kill the game off. Those fears became reality in injury time as quite unbelievably, Rovers were level with their first real chance of the half. A poor clearance by Kasper got us into trouble &  gave Oster the chance to float a ball over the top. With the Whites defence easily undone, Kasper was only able to parry Sharps effort & the striker netted the rebound from a tight angle. It changed the halftime mood of the crowd from celebration to despair. It could have been 5-0, instead, the second half got underway at 1-1 with the Whites on the front foot. Snoddy fired just wide & it awoke the crowd, but also the visitors…

Just 3 minutes later, Shiels headed a simple ball over the statuesque Whites defence & Moussa took full advantage, slotting home for 1-2. Heads dropped, but Gradel raced 40 yards to retrieve the ball from the net, before racing back to take the centre. The Rovers fans were still celebrating by the time Howson battled & won the ball in the centre of midfield, before charging towards goal. With defenders closing in, Johnny lashed home from 20 yards for 2-2 & utter  relief soaked joy. However, that goal didn’t quite fire the Whites as hoped. Rovers had a chance through Mouassa, before Sharp forced Kasper into a save as the Whites defence continued to look fragile…

The game was opening up & Gradel had 2 wonderful chances to restore the Whites lead when sent clean through. Firstly shooting wide under pressure, before Woods  smothered the 2nd. Woods also saved from Kilkenny before Snoddy headed over. Just as the crowd began to get anxious, Bromby flicked Snoddys cross into the path of the unmarked Becchio. With Rovers claiming offside, Becchio smashed home for 3-2 & nervous jubilation. Still not looking safe, the game nearly took another twist thanks to the referee Probert, who had been pretty good. Woods went unpunished for pole axing Gradel on the edge of the area. Rovers broke & were awarded a soft freekick on the edge of the area, with Bromby adjudged to have fouled…

Thankfully, Mills sent it just over the bar. Paynter replaced the hobbling Becchio & we looked to kill the game off. Woods pulled off the save of the game from Gradel, but minutes later, Max wasn’t to be denied. Snoddy’s cross found Paynter 2 yards out & the strikers shot was saved by Woods, but Gradel smashed home the rebound for 4-2. Seconds later, only a flying header from Johnson denied Paynter what would have been an easy goal. The ball went wide, but Bradley ended up tangled in the netting. Rovers so nearly got a 3rd through Coppinger, before a Revie Stand groundswell began to focus on Paynter. “Come on Billy” encouraged the White Army & it visibly lifted the goalless striker…

Indeed, Billy had a hand in the 5th goal as he chased back 40 yards to win the ball deep in the Whites half, before slipping the ball to Snoddy. The Scots peach of a through ball released Howson & the skipper kept his composure, blasting past Woods for the 5th. Naylor & Watt managed a run out for the 4 minutes of “Billytime”, but despite a header from a corner, the striker was to remain “Billy no goals” for at least another game. It was another 3 points won the hard way for the Whites & despite the fact we could have scored 10, no one was convinced we could hold on until the late 5th goal. With results elsewhere going our way, it was the beginning of what will need to be a robust defence of 6th spot…

So, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that a fix will be found for the defence & frankly, the view of “just enjoy the ride” is already proving a tough ask. Conceding 10 goals in 4 games is definitely taking this “Keeganesq” style too far & we head to bottom club Preston looking for a clean sheet win. To do that, we also need to end that midweek “Jinx”. Is it really too much to ask to get that particular “Job Done”

Leeds United AFC… “It’s almost cruel”… Keep Fighting…

Youtube clips with thanks to STEVIEDLUFC & LEEDSUNITEDRHINO – if you want your match clips used, email a link to keepfightingblog@hotmail.co.uk

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Posted March 6, 2011 by keepfighting in leeds united, Uncategorized

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