Wolves 2-2 LeedsIt has been a while since the ‘debacle of Barnsley’ as Neil refers to it, and much has changed since, three deadline day signings in the form of Steve Morison, Stephen (Stephen, Stephen, Stephen, Stephen Warnock, Neil, Neil, Neil, Neil, Warnock) Warnock, and Habib Habibou (boo)! Brought in at the expense of the old loyalist Luciano Becchio, finally in the Premier League with our parent club Norwich City have come to rejuvenate the team and help push us on to play off glory! Leeds have knocked the in form Tottenham Hotspur out of the F.A Cup, lost in the league to Cardiff city, beaten Bristol, and more remarkably than all of this, Luke Varney has started to play football, well. It appears pigs do fly after all. So, after a season of remarkably poor away form, in fact winning three league games on the road all season, Bristol, Peterborough and Huddersfield, Leeds took on the relegation battling Wolverhampton Wanderers, and one could not help but wander whether three points at Molineux was a given.

Once more setting out from my provincial north London abode I found a strangely quiet train absent of the usual group of travelling London whites. The train arrived into Wolverhampton to the scene of light snow, a rare treat for a city dweller! And to my pleasant surprise I was greeted by a quaint little town, Wolverhampton doing well as an economic hub in the shadow of its big brother Birmingham. The pre match ritual of a few jars went down well with plentiful Leeds United fans drinking merrily in the Walkabout bar in the town centre. A good pre game atmosphere.

To Molineux and the game then, this ground is one I’ve always wanted to visit, steeped in history (if not grand) and unique with its curving stands. The emplacement of the Leeds fans was, if nothing else, a tactical master-stroke by Wolves, as the atmosphere is almost impossible to create, the fans were spread over the ‘Steve Bull’ stand like too little butter over bread. So, inevitably the usual vociferous Leeds fans had to work doubly as hard to create the common place vocals.

The game itself kicked off in a good fashion, Leeds had named four changes to the side that lost to Cardiff, including a début for Steve Morison and Stephen Warnock at the expense of the rested Diouf and benched White. The whites enjoyed the majority of the early possession, Dean Saunders obviously fancies himself as a bit of a Tito/Pep kind of style manager, as passing the ball around the defence was the reoccurring theme of Wolves’ first half, from the off Leeds looked strong, Norris having a shot deflected just over the net and Paul Green drilling a shot just wide of the upright. Leeds were taking full advantage of an evidently nervy Wolves side. The home side did however eventually get in to the game, and on 20 minutes the ball was in the back of the net after an Ebanks-Blake run and shot went past Kenny, however, to the relief of the Leeds back four the offside flag ruled the effort out. Then, on 30 minutes Kenny was called into action again as Sako drilled a shot low and hard, Kenny reacting well to save the shot from its destination of the net.

Leeds and Wolves went at it, with Leeds looking the more comfortable of the two, but Wolves looked more than capable of punishing the away side on the counter. The Leeds fans, inventive as always amused themselves with the new chant of Neil, Neil Neil, Neil Neil, Neil Neil Warnock, Stephen, Stephen Stephen, Stephen Stephen, Stephen Stephen Warnock! Throughout the half, and the reward for such inventiveness almost came when McCormack saw his shot fly just inches wide of the post. Leeds were, for the first time in a long time, the better team away from Elland Road.

Half time ensued and the Leeds fans in the belly of the stands riotously went ‘mental’ creating much more good humoured away day fun!

The second half resumed to the chorus of marching on together, however Saunders half time team talk was clearly the more effective of the two as the Wolves came flying out of the traps. O’Hara gave a glimpse of what was to come for Leeds as he headed just wide after the restart, and the pressure exerted by Wolves finally told when a low driven cross found the leg of Lee Peltier (and or S. Warnock) and into the Leeds net to give the Wanderers a largely undeserved goal.

This led the home fans into jubilation, and Leeds into despair, not another away day defeat, surely.

It was Wolves who did manage to test Leeds further though, with multiple shots forcing saves out of Kenny, the Leeds following once more feeling despondent and useless as the travelling team limped on.

The tide however was set to turn, and on 64 minutes, a box scramble led to McCormack instinctively picking out the recently rejuvenated Varney, who, with expert finishing curled a wonderful shot into the bottom corner of the home net, 1-1 and hope restored, the Leeds faithful were inspired again. The mood was nearly spoilt with Green doing well to block a goal bound header off the line, but this day was destined to be a Leeds day, and with 12 minutes left, Green picked out the on running Byram, who in turn was tumbled down in the box by Sako, penalty kick.

Up stepped McCormack, and his cool finish left Leeds reflecting on an unlikely comeback, 2-1 and promotion hopes restored. The game wound down in the normal fashion, Leeds wasted time, Wolves threw the whole lot forward, however Leeds were holding strong and the sarcastic chanting from the home end of “how sh*t must you be, you’ve only scored 2” summed up the Wanderers season.

With 90 minutes up, Leeds and the travelling contingency could be mistaken for perceiving the game to be done and buried, but, as ever, nothing is simple in Leeds. Paddy Kenny let the ball roll over the line for a corner, Wolves delivered, paddy flapped it away, Wolves delivered again, Bath headed, Kenny beaten. 2-2 , 93rd minute equaliser. A sickening blow for Leeds and the season that lies ahead.

To me, the promotion push is a far off dream, but with the equal playing field of the championship who knows, a winger is needed, and Leeds need to win away. But, I take heart from the Wolves performance, it was the best league away performance since back at Huddersfield, and providing this was no one off, it can only go toward helping the hope we really are pushing for a top six spot.

Follow me on twitter for all things Leeds @adamgeary1

  • Matthew

    Where do we go from here? Short of winning our next 5-6 games to be relevant again in the league, the season is pretty much over.

    I think we can all pretty much see a half dozen loses, a few draws and a few wins if we’re lucky in our future. Struggling to see beyond luck, how we will even hit 60 points this season.

    • Irving56

      Mathew: Unless something extraordinary happens such as acquiring a ‘special one’ or attracting some serious investment, I don’t think you should get your hopes up about next season either. In addition to reasons given in the post match blog, I think the demoted teams (Reading probably excepted) will be stronger than this season’s, whilst the ones that miss out on play offs this year, will not necessarily be weaker, and then there’s Barnsley !
      We must adjust our expectations to provide the ‘space’ for someone here Leeds to nurture and develop a team, rooted in on home grown youth, with an ethos, rooted in our one period of greatness under Don Revie. Our fall has given us an opportunity to do things differently; let’s not see it founder on opportunism.
      Leeds fans will support such a project. ‘We are Leeds and we do things differently’ should be our rallying cry. The Premier League is washed up as a force for good. It needs the cleansing force of the new Whites ! MOT.

      • Matthew

        Although I stand by my original comment made ages ago about not being promoted until we get proper investment + team building. There’s always an outside chance that luck, border lining retarded coming on our side and us slipping into a playoff spot at some point towards the end of the season.

        I don’t think we have the quality to comfortably sit on a playoff spot for most of the season, but as said, you know, perhaps the stars might aline and something in this universe might go right for us for a change? After years of Ken Bates I think the universe owes us something.

        I agree that Youth should be encouraged in the squad, as proven with Byram, Poleon, Lees etc.

        But it is kinda concerning that we had more people attending games when we were in league 1(Arguably a shit league) than we do now =/ Concerning, how long can we survive like this? The shit performances, no investment is driving fans away, how long till our attendances hit Blackburns level? Or will be relegated to league 1 before that?

        No one seems to want to buy us and invest the money that will get us to the Premier league, look at Cardiff, a little investment and boom 1st place.

  • bd

    I think like most fans we are short of a few quality players who will not come cheap, if GFH aren’t willing to invest on the pitch (which is doubtful as they are looking for investors,not a good sign) it doesnt matter who is our manager.But im still behind Leeds hoping for a miracle that we can get in the playoffs.

    I also think that if we dont go up this season GFH might sell (they will not right now if they think there is a chance Leeds can go up).

  • Woody

    Maybe this is people, maybe we are just a Championship outfit, not a very good one at that. Maybe Bates sold out cause he had got what he wanted and GFH were the only takers, maybe now GFH have realised it will take a lot more investment for Leeds to be in the running for promotion. I don’t agree with Warnock saying we are just a couple of players away, i think we are a lot further away from success than we think we are!! Just remember loyal supporters we can only be as successful as the owners want us to be!!!

    Always living the dream. MOT.

    • Matthew

      Why do we get people with no money, or people with money but not wanting to invest buying us? We don’t deserve this.

  • Ron

    What do you make of Pearson’s comments? I find it strange that the club has been for sale forever and now that GFH has come in he is speaking up after the event. I really don’t give GFH any credence purely because when they came in they said they wanted this team promoted. However, in the one window they had, they spent zero. I can see why people on here are starting to right this year off and Warnock is softening his exit by saying hold fire until the end of the campaign. If we don’t win the next 3-4 games on the trot, the ‘campaign’ is over. This season has been incredibly draining, moreso than the last seasons as unfortunately for the fans, the ‘takeover’ brought hope.

    • Adam

      Personally I think no one wanted to deal with bates, now he’s gone investors will look to us more favourably.

  • and what match did you go to? you scored against the run of play! you had a penalty thanks to your cheating low life scum of a player who dived, bloody hell I am biased but you beat the lot! play offs! if you go up the prem will have a field day, all we needed was a striker and we could have been five up at half time, maybe you should have tried bribing our lot or the officials a bit more.

  • spellz

    We need wins, for this we need goals, we wont get those without good players, selected by a good manager, appointed by a board that is willing to invest, until any of these things take place in our historic club, Leeds United will be cemented to the lower leagues things need to change NOW.