Some of my older readers might remember when we were rubbish. We got murdered by team like Southend and got knocked out of the League Cup by teams like Bury. Thankfully those days are long past. Today’s team cast in the mould of Roy Keane bears no resemblance to those far off dark days.
5,000 of us travelled down (well up in my case – but you know what I mean) to West Yorkshire, not exactly expecting a win – but certainly anticipating that a victory was within us. It is amazing to think that we went from 1962 for over 40 years without a win at dirty Leeds and now we have won the last three.
Keane was certainly using his “no-one is guaranteed a place” system as Brown, who had had his best two games by some miles in the last two matches wasn’t even on the bench while. Murphy, who hadn’t made the bench at Derby, started. It certainly pays off. You could see that in the effort and commitment shown by Murphy throughout the game and in that shown by Lawrence when he came on as a second half sub.
Leeds actually started off getting a couple of early corners but didn’t do much with them. That was pretty much the sum total of their threat to us. They really are in a sorry state. Our old mate “Pies” Butler (good lad but moderate footballer) was head and shoulders above most of their sorry lot. They had been expecting a somewhat larger crowd – but take away our 5,000 and they had no bigger a crowd than they had had for Wolves on Sunday.
Pretty soon we took over the game. Kavanagh in particular was supreme. Has a player ever looked more like his manager than Kavanagh? His body shape, his composure, his ability to know when to stand off and when to tackle in – and his ability to support the attack. The SAFC crowd spent large parts of the match singing his name – quite right too. Given that we still were starting the night in the bottom three, it seems nothing short of a miracle that we have him. Varga too was again imperious. You just can never see him losing a header. This was illustrated hilariously in the second half when a ball was pumped forward and the Leeds attacker hauled Varga down from behind – sitting on his arse, he still won the header!!
Two of the goals came in the first half when we were kicking away from us. The first one I sort of lost track of – it seemed to be all over the place and then suddenly Neil Collins (playing at right back – and so in our line of sight) leapt up in joy – it seemed rude not to join in. Connolly’s first goal for us –and hopefully one of many. Then Whitehead played Kavanagh through for a wonderfully taken second from some distance.
Being the nervous types at half time we were still saying “but if they get a goal, then the match is wide open again” – god only knows where we thought they were going to get a goal from. As it happened the point quickly became moot as Elliott (on for the injured Connolly) was fed through in the inside right channel and struck as sweet a shot as you could ever wish to see. 3-0 and that was it. It was a wonder we didn’t score more. But certainly we made sure Leeds were going to do nothing. Poor Elliott also went off injured. I really like the lad. He has been struggling so hard to recover his promotion season form after last season’s injuries. Scoring set him up beautifully to show what he could do but then the chance was ripped away from him.
Connolly and Elliott will both now miss out on Saturday I understand. But it shows the strength in depth that we can play the rejuvenated Brown as well as Murphy plus possibly start with Yorke or even give Stead a chance to show whether he can join in the magic carpet (© Sir Niall Quinn) ride.
This bubble might burst – but it sure as hell looks like a sustainable change at present. I left Elland Road already looking forward to the Leicester game at the SoL on Saturday. If you are in any doubt, get along there and see what the Keano revolution looks like first hand.