After Tuesday night the prospect of a trip to Ipswich was not one I was particularly looking forward to. And the day didn’t start to well as the train I expected to catch to Leeds didn’t run on a Saturday, leading to a half hour wait in the chilly morning air.
Eventually a Wetherspoons breakfast bloomer cheered me up enough to look forward to the four hour drive down to new ground 49 on my football travels. Leaving at 9am I was very impressed by the driving skills of our driver for the day, Jonny Spence, who got us into Ipswich for 1130. It did then take us another hour to find the only pub open to away fans, but the day was certainly looking better with a pint in my hand by half twelve.
The Station Hotel was the designated Leeds pub, but there weren’t many from Leeds in there. A huge Essex Whites flag outside the door announced the prescence of many of our Southern supporters so our Leeds accents seemed strangely out of place. The bar staff had very kindly all opted to wear “We love Leeds Utd”. T Shirts and coped very well with the demand of a thirsty bunch. Located right opposite the station there was a constant flow of Ipswich fans making their way to the station and the sunshine outside ensured that the Leeds fans gave them a warm welcome. However 20 odd choruses of “Small town in Norwich” got a bit dull in the end. And one young bloke in Ipswich will be able to tell his mates how he was serenaded with a chorus of “Jermaine Beckford” as he crossed the road.
On to the game and Leeds obviously made changes following the debacle of Tuesday night. Alex Bruce was shifted to right back and Richard Naylor returned in the centre of defence. Amdy Faye sat in front of the back four with Howson, Kilkenny and Johnson across midfield with Snodgrass just behind Somma.
I never have much faith in a ref who can’t even get a game kicked off properly and Mr Hill took two attempts to start proceedings.
When the game did kick off Leeds started in workmanlike fashion. Faye seemed always to have time and was confident on the ball. However as seems to be the case when you are having a bad trot our first real mistake was our downfall. A terrible decision saw McCartney penalised for having the temerity to put an Ipswich player under pressure down by thier
corner flag. As he was forward, Johnson was covering left back but Ipswich broke down that side and Livermore slid a ball between the defence and Jason Scotland expertly rounded the keeper to put Ipswich ahead.
Throughout the game Leeds looked in total control without ever threatning the goal. When we did get close we either shot too early or took too much time. Somma either side of half time showed this, curling an effort round the post in the first period then taking a couple of extra touches and missing his opportunity after the break.
Still in command of the match, Leeds lost Shane Higgs who looked to have pulled his hamstring. Jason Brown came on and made a terrific save turning a header round the post. Leeds then got a break as two Ipswich players went for the same ball, and some determination by Sanchez Watt saw him slide across goal for Snodgrass to tap in.
The referee then decided to intervene sending off Alex Bruce when he clearly won the ball. At least he did from where I was standing. I have just watched the Football League Show and it was the clearest booking I have ever seen, so now I’m baffled as to why he appealed so much. His dismissal caused a reshuffle at the back, and while we were still organising Ipswich took advantage with Tommy Smith heading in.
Ipswich then proceeded to waste as much time as possible and be allowed to get away with it. The whistle soon went and Leeds had lost again. Not a disaster as we didn’t actually move in the table, but frustrating as it was a point thrown away due to mistakes.
There was a bit of a skirmish outside the ground at the final whistle and we made our way to the quayside for a quiet reflective pint. The journey home was a little longer arriving back in town at half nine.
So the day after how do I feel. I think we were a little unlucky. Ipswich were not that great and I never felt we were under the cosh at any stage of the game. 10 games in we would probably have taken the points and position we are in. I think it is time for us to temper our expectations and settle for consolidation with a hope for a playoff push. A string of results either way can see you pushing for promotion or fighting relegation. Let’s hope the break gives us a chance to regroup and come out strongly in front of the nation against Middlesbrough.