45 places seperate Leeds United and Grimsby Town in the footballing pyramid and for me, it wasn’t hard to see why tonight. It’s not that Grimsby didn’t play well or have their chances, but a pretty much full-strength Leeds United were a class apart.

Don’t get me wrong, Leeds United were by no means on top form. They were massively frustrating at times when totally bypassing the midfield and insisting on booting the ball long. They also had a tendancy to rush things far too often which probably led to a respectable scoreline for Grimsby.

In the oppositions half you’d often find the majority of Grimsby’s team behind the ball, with only the forward hanging about near the halfway line for counter-attacks. Leeds meanwhile had pretty much all our team in Grimsby’s half, which could have cost us had the afore mentioned forward managed to stay onside at any point.

Perhaps one of the most amusing moments of the game came when a Leeds United shot was blocked by a Grimsby defender. Not something worth mentioning usually, but to block the shot the player decided to take on the role of the goalkeeper and did so by diving infront of it. Looked suspiciously like handball from the Kop, but I’m told it actually came off his knee. Interesting way of keeping the ball out of the net either way.

As half-time drew closer it looked like we’d be heading in at 0-0. That was until Max Gradel drove a cross along the front of goal and in a panic to stop it reaching Beckford or Vokes, a Grimsby defender turned it in. 1-0. A deserved lead, but not one that came as easily as hoped.

After that, Leeds calmed down a little and started to pass the ball about. One such move where Leeds looked like Arsenal saw Leeds stetch the lead to 2-0. A quality passing move found Kilkenny in space who played a nice one-two with Beckford before striking sweetly from range into the bottom right hand corner.

Half-time and Leeds deservedly leading. Grimsby had one or two chances on the counter, but most of the time when they broke, they found themselves offside which must have been extremely frustrating for the travelling fans.

Second half and most of us were expecting one way traffic. It was no longer about the result, but the scoreline as some of us started to predict how many we’d eventually win by. It took less than ten minutes for Leeds to widen the margin too as Bradley Johnson found Beckford who somehow created space to shoot in a crowded box for his 12th of the season. Excellent work by the frontman to find space there.

Then the inevitable happened. Former players always seem to play a blinder against us and Peter Sweeney had probably been Grimsby’s best player so far. Grimsby had earnt themselves a corner, from which Casper came and punched clear. Whilst I was complaining about him not catching it, getting some distance on it, or at least directing it into touch, the ball fell towards Peter Sweeney who struck beautifully on the volley, which bounced off the bar and went in from outside the area. Unquestionably the goal of the game and perhaps the best I’ve seen this season.

3-1 was to be the final score. Robert Snodgrass was denied by a great save from his back-post header before being substituted and Andy Robinson seemed a little too eager to score with several long-rangers after he replaced Snoddy. Grimsby had a few more chances but I don’t think our lead was ever really threatened.

Fair play to Grimsby. For a team so much lower than us, they did have their chances and at times gave us a good game. However, this wasn’t the greatest of performances from Leeds. We rushed things a lot throughout the game and rarely passed the ball about as we can – resorting to booting the ball long instead. That said, it’s job done and we’ve progressed to the area semi-finals.

TSS man of the match
I think it has to be Neil Kilkenny tonight. He had a couple of dangerous looking shots before the goal which he thoroughly deserved. Don’t know if he did enough to warrant a first-team place, but he’s definitely made his presence known and will have the first-teamers thinking.

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