I like things that are reassuringly simple to understand, I’m a ‘Luddite’ in that respect. Change doesn’t as much un-nerve or scare me as make me feel a tad apprehensive. You walk into work and your Boss is overly nice to you; you don’t think ‘What a refreshing change,’ but instead wonder ‘What have I done’ or ‘Were there cameras around last night at the office party’. Being a Leeds United fan has none of that uncertainty or apprehension; I wake up after every game day, be it League or Cup, with the same, reassuring feeling that we played as badly last night as we did in the previous games. Then the football merry-go-round kicks in and the hope springs eternal for the next game.
Last night was the League/Carling Cup 2nd Round against local rivals and oft thought ‘noisy neighbours’ Bradford City. Result-wise, a 2-1 loss was reassuringly bad and slotted easily into my Luddite-esque manner of football thinking. We were beaten on the night courtesy of a well-struck half volley and, mere moments later, a headed in effort resulting from calamitous defending between Jason Pearce and Liam Cooper. But, how bad/good/indifferently apathetic was the performance last night from Leeds United?
- Bradford on target/shot ratio 0.50 (14 shots – 7 on target – 50% accuracy)
- Leeds on target/shot ratio 0.22 (9 shots – 2 on target – 22% accuracy)
- Bradford saves/shots on target ratio 0.50
- Leeds saves/shots on target ratio 0.43
Leeds actually found themselves in a position they aren’t accustomed to in the first 30 minutes of the game; they were in the ascendency and, in a manner, controlling the game. Then, just as at Primary school when the ‘one kid’ does something reprehensible that leads to the teacher screaming “There’s ALWAYS one who spoils it for the rest,” Luke Murphy went in with a recklessly daft challenge that meant a second yellow card and a sending off. That’s when the game changed and momentum began to turn the way of Bradford City.
They showed composure on the ball, working it around, making the Leeds players move and thus depleting their energy; for these Leeds players it was going to be one long hour. Manfully, Leeds’ players stuck to the task and chased and harried as best they could against Bradford’s superiority in numbers. Half time came and it was still even at 0-0, honours shared I guess you could say.
The second half started well for Leeds who took the initiative and brought the game to Bradford. To be fair to Leeds, for 29 minutes of the 2nd half it would have been hard to tell that they were playing ‘a man light’. On 82 minutes Leeds took the lead courtesy of a Matt Smith header after an excellent cross into the box from David Norris.
The Bradford reply can only be termed as swift because on 84 minutes they were level thanks to a sweetly struck half-volley from Billy Knott after Leeds failed to deal with a corner; two minutes after that they struck the winning goal from James Hanson after a defensive mix up between Jason Pearce and Liam Cooper.
It was a disappointing way to end a tight game played with passion after a very silly sending off. In front of 18,750 fans, including around 4,000 travelling Leeds United fans, Bradford City emerged victorious and progressed to the 3rd round where they will face MK Dons who destroyed Manchester United 4-0 in their second round match-up.