I found it a little amusing that some fans were referring to the game in Colchester as our first “six-pointer” of the season despite the fact both teams had so far played just four games. Looking at the League One fixtures before the game it was indeed the stand out fixture with Colchester winning three of their opening four and Leeds 100% so far, but to call any fixture a six-pointer this early on seemed a little ludicrous.

Still nursing an hangover from a late night at the hotel bar (much of which I’d spent explaining to a Scum fan why Lucas was better than Rio Ferdinand), we set out to find the first pub of the day with the logic that “what makes you bad, makes you better!” Whether that was the case, or we simply ended up drunk three times faster than usual is debatable, but we quickly found ourselves in the mix of both sets of fans. A few pints, several songs and a League Cup draw later, it was time for game.

The Leeds fans were in good spirits. The 100% start to the season and the 3-0 battering of Tranmere had given us a confidence I’d not felt in a long time. Whether Beckford would stay or go remained a talking point, but a lot were starting to believe we could still win this league without him.

Both teams started brightly but it was Beckford who struck first blood. Twice! Only for the linesman to rule both attempts out for offside. Although I’ve not had time to watch the replays yet. the first one looked a good enough call but Becks looked well onside for the second and the linesmans delay suggested he wasn’t sure himself. There were few appeals from the defence or the home fans either, so this was probably the first of many poor decisions made on the day.

Following Becks’ two disallowed goals, the Colchester defence decided they had to kick lumps out of him to stop him scoring. How Colchester’s centre-back remained on the park is anyone’s guess but the whistle-happy referee continued to let him get away with it.

It was hard to distinguish whether the referee was blowing for half time or just for the fun of it, such had been the quality of his performance so far but when the teams started walking off the pitch I was almost certain it was indeed half time. Colchester had threatened in the first half, but Shane Higgs had few problems. Leeds had looked the better team and will have been disappointed to go in level.

The refereeing decisions in the second half failed to improve. It wasn’t any kind of injustice to either team as the calls he made went for and against us both. 90% of the time it was baffling trying to figure out what he’d blown for and which way he’d given it, but one things for sure, he certainly wanted to be the star of the show.

Not much change in style of play from both teams. Colchester continued to give a good account of themselves, although their defence wasn’t brilliant and they seemed to rush things infront of goal. Whether that’s a credit to Leeds or a lack of ideas in the final third for them is anyones guess. I was too busy trying to figure out what it was the referee was doing to get any in depth read on the game itself.

Leeds deservedly took the lead shortly after the hour mark when Bradley Johnson continued his impressive run of form to send us 1-0 up. The change in him so far this season has been nothing less than remarkable. The goal came from a Robert Snodgrass free-kick (which in itself was another questionable decision from the legend in black) and Johnson rose to head home.

The lead was short lived though as the ref continued to enjoy the attention and awarded Colchester a penalty. Rui Marques got beaten by a player and stumbled him in the chase. The Colchester player jumped to the floor like he’d been shot and the attention seeking ref got another chance to blow his whistle. Well, it had been at least 30 seconds since his last opportunity, Colchester converted and the scores were level again. 1-1.

Colchester had the bit between their teeth now and pushed for a winner. It seemed inevitable that we’d lose after being the better team all day, but Leeds kept their composure and found a winner courtesy of Jermaine Beckford. Some laughable defending by Colchester was punished by the frontman and the scoreline once again reflected the game.

Leeds were worthy winners. A tough game where the woeful referee and linesman looked set to be our downfall, but we kept our composure and were good value for the three points. I lost count of how many yellow cards he handed out over the 90 minutes, but most of the Colchester side must have had one by the time he blew the final whistle. Beckford got himself another too, although I still aren’t sure what for! I know it sounds like I’m rattling on a bit, but I’m really struggling to explain how inept the officials were.

After the match, it was back to the hotel to watch the Manu v Arsenal match (which produced another classic display of refereeing). The lad from the night before was in the bar watching it on the big screen. I couldn’t resist asking him why he wasn’t at the game. He told me that living down south made it inconvenient for him. I suggested that Manu should move their stadium to London in jest, but he failed to see the joke and seemed to be in agreement. By this point he’d discovered we’d drawn Liverpool in the League Cup and told me he wanted us to beat them and he’d be supporting Leeds that day. I think I want us to lose!

TSS man of the match
As impressive as the referee was it has to be Patrick Kisnorbo for me. He was solid at the back throughout and weighed in with some important challenges. He’s brought a lot of strength to the defence and I’m eager to see him paired up with Richard Naylor.

  • dave shack

    great article mate, dont think we can win the league witout becks tho!

  • Robert Bapty

    the worst referee I’ve seen since Gillingham away 2 seasons ago courtesy of Danny McDermid!

  • Paul G

    ….. the difference in Johnson is surely down to the fact that he’s actually got a run in the team!! First time for about a year and a half that he’s played more than a bit part …..

  • Craig

    Quite right about the ref. He ruined the flow of the game – but I reckon that, on balance, more of his decisions went in our favour than against us. On the day both Becks’ disallowed goals looked offside to me and I was pretty much in line with the linesman amongst the home fans. The replay on the Football League show seemed to agree with your opinion though.

    Becks was booked for a blatant push off the ball – another ref might have given a red, so I reckon he was lucky.