Ross McCormack3,200 travelling self acclaimed ‘vile animals’ descended on South East London for what was to be a memorable day for many reasons. The London weather was relentless, rain, rain and yet more rain. Rumours circulated on the twittersphere that the game was off, fans panicked, cursed and threatened direct action at such ludicrous claims whilst all camps squabbled around in the quagmire to see if a football could pass along the surface. It could, and with a thirty minute delay, the game was given the go ahead.

Half an hour is a long time in a pub, and evidently there was time for two more pints which of course the travelling hoards happily obliged to drink. Upon arriving to the Valley the atmosphere was rife, this was football as it was meant to be, no ‘Ronaldo’ style quiffs and Bubbleheads prancing on the wings, today was about hard hitting, smashing the ball to pass it five yards and playing with the grit, passion and determination that would make the legends Gray and Lorimer (who I met on friday) thoroughly happy. Leeds were in great voice, as always. The staff in the ground were kindly serving alcohol to soften a delayed start, despite the cold hotdog I had to endure, the game was raring up, and to our seats we went, wading through crowds of jubilant Leeds, chanting ever louder in anticipation of the start of a game that would have suited Colin Wanker’s ‘long ball game’ to no ends!

The game kicked off, the rain still steadily falling on the pitch and the pitch still soaking up what it could, the ground was heavy and the passes were short, this would be a physically draining affair and one that McDermott had anticipated, with the inclusion of Michael Brown to the line up, the conditions perfect for a player with his ‘abilities’. Charlton seemed to adapt to the pitch quicker than Leeds did, and produced an early flurry of chances that could have tested Kenny, thankfully nothing too eventful happened and the shots whistled wide and over, to the cheers and jeers of the Leeds faithful. The closest of the chances fell to Callum Harriot who shot narrowly wide of Kenny’s post. Leeds however made the breakthrough, to the chorus of ‘WACCOE’ the new boy Blackstock headed down a long ball and number 44 was on the end of it to shoot hard and low under the rushing keeper. 1-0 to Leeds and the stands erupted, the man next to me ending up some three rows in front of his allocated seat. Brilliant.

Leeds decided then to sit back, which was frustrating to say the least, after 17 minutes a second goal could have justly killed the game on a pitch that would have suited water polo over football. Charlton enjoyed the spell of pressure, forcing some fine saves from Kenny, a keeper who looked in inspired form, reacting to one shot like a cat to block a point blank shot. Charlton could not find a way through the resilient Leeds defence, looking steady as a back five. However as the much needed break approached, Leeds were undone by a wonder strike from Charlton’s Cameron Stewart, the ball sitting up nicely and him volleying home a sublime equaliser.

Charlton’s attacking intent was now making Leeds panic, and they nearly took the lead just before the break, however the away side held firm and the fans helped the lads to get into the break level, phew, was the general reaction.

Half time came and went as the beers were now no longer on sale and the coffee brigade took control of proceedings, inside the belly of the stand the chanting continued as party mode took hold in the darkening south of London town. Those who had backed a draw a sites like bwin will have had one eye on their betting slips.

The second half began to the roar of’ ‘We all love Leeds’ and within two minutes the referee was pointing to the spot, Danny Pugh (a very much unsung hero from yesterday) was sent tumbling in the box after a gut busting run to collect McCormack’s flick on. The Scotsman stepped up and blasted the penalty down the middle of the net, much to the delight of the travelling army. Leeds looked in control, and the roar of ‘Marching on Together’ could be heard all over South London it was deafening! Leeds and Charlton then started on a middle of the park battle, big tackles and nitty gritty football that Barcelona fans would wince at. Kenny was once again called upon in the 55th minute as the ever present Stewart forced a super save out of the inspired keeper. The game was edging towards the midpoint in the second half, and the Leeds fans were as vociferous as ever, song after song belting out of the away end to the sound of silence from the home crowd, yet, against the script, captain Jackson equalised for Charlton with a tap in following some neat wing play from the home team. Kenny was visibly angry as three Leeds players failed to stop the cross or finish, the defence was dismal.

The goal had knocked the stuffing out of the Leeds fans somewhat, and despite McCormack’s best effort to run here, there and everywhere, the fans found little to shout about, the home fans came back into the game and the chances of a rare away win were slowly slipping by. But just as the tides were turning, Leeds, and McCormack broke through again, a neatly timed and superbly placed volley topped of the Scotland international’s first ever professional hat-trick! The Leeds fans really did begin the party now with “let’s go f**king mental” now resonating through the stand. Leeds, surprisingly, did not buckle though and kept the pressure on. This allowed the fans to continue the party without the usual end of game fingernail biting! And, after captain Austin was brought down outside the box on the 91st minute ‘Sir’ Ross McCormack was able curl home the best of his four goals from the resulting free kick. A sublime ending to a wonderful individual performance and a great team effort, Leeds prevailed on the worst pitch we have played on for some time, and the thousands of fans could travel home happy in the knowledge that we sit one point out of the play offs going into the international break.

Things are looking up. Marching on together.

Follow me on twitter @adamgeary1

  • Tyler75

    Great report ! Away support was immense. We seem to have momentum now, key is not to lose it. Ross was outstanding but a word for the much-maligned Danny Pugh yesterday, who did not put a foot wrong all afternoon. Blackstock looked quality on his first start and linked up really well with Ross, providing two assists. Those two together will cause problems for any defence in this division. Also I thought we looked much more solid second-half when Valiukas came on – a big man with a big presence and he can play a bit for a centre-half, must be nailed on for a starting place from now on. On and On

    • paul

      I agree Pugh was great yesterday and should retain the position regardless of Warnocks injury.

      • John

        So do I. BTW, I missed the Yeovil game, but I wasn’t surprised to read that Pearce went out on the left. I’m sure he’s supposed to be able to play left-back as well as centre-half.

  • spellz

    Ross you were amazing, superior, a leader, a target man everything we need you to be and deservedly joined Deane, Smudgey and a player I really miss Viduka, in the recent elite group of putting away 4 in a mighty whites shirt (well done son) you are now the leading goalscorer in the championship, that should inspire and surely win us a few more games with you attempting to retain your position as leading scorer, absolutely outstanding display.

    As for the rest of our team if we can keep playing with this grit and determination and have the support we had in south east London every game we will shoot up the table,
    there was a sense of unity and togetherness even though the game at any point could have been abandoned, I could not fault our desire to get the result even though there was some shocking defending to put the addicks level at 2-2, we were resilient and fired back straight away.

    Despite at times we had some shocking defending mainly Peltier which McD needs to address I thought one positive in this game and the majority of the season really was Pearce who is really in his element atm, good display from Blackstock also who provided Ross with two should definitely start with Ross next Saturday, brilliant result and with teams above slipping up too we can really climb if we go on a run starting with Boro next week.

    M.O.T AA.

  • PAUL W

    A great result for Leeds at Charlton and good to see McCormack on fire at last in his natural position. You also have to admire Danny Pugh’s patience and determination, because everybody thought that he would never play for Leeds again, but he didn’t put a foot wrong against Charlton and he now has to be considered at the left wing back, if Warnock is out for a few weeks.
    McCormack always needed a more mobile striker to play alongside and Blackstock is the striker that Leeds have been calling out for. It’s just a shame that Blackstock, Wootton and Valiukas were not brought in during the summer, because I think that Leeds would be a lot higher in the league by now.

    • spellz

      I forgot to mention Pugh in my post he was solid and I am glad he put back on the Leeds shirt, he looks promising.

      Spot on about them three being brought in earlier, I definitely think we would have been up there but as a few of the leaders dropped points were actually not to far off, with three of our next four games at home.

  • Irving08

    Thank you for a most informative report. It made me feel I was there. Since you obviously enjoy writing, you wont mind my pointing out that an atmosphere can’t just be ‘rife';.it has to be ‘rife’ with something. (Perhaps ‘ripe’ would better serve your purposes.).Keep up the good work, including on the old grammar.

    • mrbigwheels

      Ha ha Irving… Excellent. Perhaps this site is heading back to where it used to be.

      Thank you Adam, an ”I felt I was there” report which as Irving says ”Keep up the good work”…

      Leeds, Leeds….. Leeds!.

  • PMH

    Great result and nice to see the goal scoring issue is resolved – for the moment at least. Of course, the consequence of success in the Championship is a raid from above. We can expect some big Premiership money chasing Ross McC as soon as may be. Until then, we have to upgrade the defending which still appears to be rather dodgy. Consistency has yet to be proven. A good game against Boro would help in that department, but it is still early days and let us not count our chickens or else they may come home to roost.

  • henrymouni

    My cup runneth over!!
    The season has begun.
    Much credit to Pugh & Brown.
    They always give 100%, and it shows the manager keeps his word.
    Brown has a strength of character, which is needed in midfield.
    Wish he was 5 years younger, but he can still do a great job for us when required, as long as he keeps control of his tackles.
    Pugh should keep his place me thinks.
    ROSS – really wants to play for us, and he would by my choice as captain.
    The away fans take a bow – they deserved the result!

    • Matthew

      I agree, it was good that Pugh and Brown stepped up when needed.

  • Matthew

    It’s important we pick up results in our next two games considering we have some hard ones in December, Wigan, Blackpool, Forest, Watford. while Donny and Barnsley would seem easy, Barnsley have a habit of playing like its their cup final against us regardless of their league position and shouldn’t be taken for granted. I feel we can get a win and a draw against Middlesbrough and Blackburn respectively.

    • spellz

      With 3 of our next 4 at home, 10 points would not be so bad. :)

      • Matthew

        I’m looking at our final 3 games of the year, Barnsley, Blackpool and Forest respectively wondering what we’l get from them. I feel slightly better about the Wigan, Donny and Watford games thinking we’l get 4-6 points from them. Thankfully regardless of what happens in December, and I hope things go well in December for us even, the January, February fixtures are more kind to us and should be a good time to pick up a run of wins. If we want a chance at the playoffs, we need to go into the March/April games with a good number of points. If we can end this year with 35/38 points, I would be happy.

        • spellz

          Well I would be happy with 40 points come January, as I think 35 is the minimum we can wish for, we are on 23 points atm, so would need to win 4 and lose 4 of our 8 games to achieve the 35 mark, which I feel we can easily do the way we are playing for sure.
          Lets just hope we can go on a run, I think them three games you mention Wigan Watford and Donny will be critical to how our December will pan out with Watford and Wigan at home if we can pick up 6 from them two we will be in real good Stead to wipe the floor with Donny at the keepmoat.

          • Matthew

            I’m focused on the 2 upcoming games at the moment, though I do think it’s too early to think that we’ve turned a corner. We traditionally do okay against Middlesbrough so I think we’ll be okay there. With Blackburn, they only have 1 guy that can score, that being Jordan Rhodes, if we cut off his service and limit his chances essentially we might get a win from this, though I have a feeling this will be a draw. I don’t see us as being good enough to get 40 points, which is why 35 to me, which is half way to the playoffs is acceptable.

  • NottsWhite

    Great result against a team who had not conceded in over 7 hours. It is important to develop partnerships within the team and I feel that Blackstock and McCormack offer a genuine threat to defences in this division. McCormack is in a hot streak at the moment but it is important that his partner can share the attacking burden otherwise we become easier to nulify. The same point can be made about the defence, although I feel that we have the components of a good unit perhaps the mix of personnel needs tweeking ?

  • John

    Good report. Looks like you were right about Blackstock being here to be first choice, one minute it’s “You could score 4 in one game soon” to Smith, the next it’s “Get thee to the bench.”. I’d rather Blackstock were used as a sub.

    Good game, agree with most of what people have said. I’m not surprised Pugh and Brown did well, Brown’s problem is that he’s too old to maintain the fitness levels need for week-to-week appearances and Pugh is obviously capable of playing in that position.

    What really pisses me off, apart from the Blackstock-Smith thing, is Zaliukas. If Blackstock was brought in to play what was Zaliukas for? We “need” an experienced defender to steady things at the back – from the bench? Why “need” at all – is it because the current unholy trio trip over each other in their haste to get into the wrong positions and can’t read the Beano, let alone a game of football? Why not drop one and put the experienced ex-captain of Hearts in the team?

    Who knows? McDermott has finally succeeded in annoying me with team selection though.

    • Matthew

      He brought him in as experience in the back, even as a squad player, every decent manager needs, would like an experienced player in reserve when needed. You don’t want a bench with players you have no confidence in.
      Pugh and Brown will be gone at the end of the season, as will Drury and a few other oldies, he’s thinking ahead to the future with his recruitments.

      • John

        Then he’s wrong, and has contradicted himself too. We need a player like that in the team now.

        • Matthew

          How? my comment was more on the conservative side, no one but McDermott can predict the next squad. I was just saying, even as a squad player Zal offers experience. He may get more of a chance, he may not. That’s McDermotts choice, my point is that he’s a good player to have in reserve if needed.

          • John

            You of all people know how bad our defence is. Pearce is in his 3rd year in this division. His first was spent being relegated, his second under Warnock. Lees is in year 2, though he did play a few games under Mad Larry. And Wootton is in his first. They are a mess. They need experience and leadership, not in goal or at full back, but right there at centre-half. Here’s Zaliukas. On the bench. He should have been in straight away.

            And what’s this recent lunacy about keeping Peltier in at the expense of Byram? Peltier is not better than Byram. Mr Door-Phobic should write that out 1000 times.

          • henrymouni

            With Zaliukas, I think the manager was concerned about his match fitness.
            He had only played international games.
            He has had his chance now and may well stay in the team.
            Pugh & Peltier are keeping their places because they have played well.
            It is the manager showing his loyalty to the squad.
            Also, the more time Sam has to get 100% fit, the better.
            He’ll be back in soon enough!

          • John

            He should explain to the squad that they have to be the best. Would Revie have kept someone out because a reserve was playing well?

            I think Zaliukas was fit, after training and practice games, and that he only got ‘his chance’ because of Wootton’s injury. Hope I’m wrong.

          • henrymouni

            As far as I know Zaliukas was without a club and had no pre-season or clubs games.
            I don’t see how he can be 100% for a month or two.
            However, he has the leadership and experience, and we really need that at the back.
            As far as the reserves/squad situation, you cannot have it both ways.
            Telling a player he will get his chance and will keep his place if he plays well, has to be honoured.
            Revie knew his best 11.
            Brian does not, and would like to bring more players in.