Who'd have thought it? Leeds United fans worshipping the words of the once (still in some parts) hated Neil Warnock. His comments after today's match have given everyone a lift, something to smile about which is what we bloody well need. Despite the positivity there's a long and hard run in until the end of the season but at least we have a manager who will get some fire in the bellies of the players.
Back to the game and Warnock's appointment before kick-off meant Neil Redfearn was taking charge for the final time. He moved Danny Pugh to centre midfield, recalled Andros Townsend to left wing and gave Alex Bruce a start at right-back. In windy conditions the Whites started poorly (I've said this too many times this season) and Doncaster had a glorious chance to take the lead when Habib Bamogo's back heel hit the post. With the pressure on due to Neil Warnock's attendance in the stands the home side continued to struggle and were playing route 1 instead of keeping the ball on the floor.
Doncaster took the lead when the Leeds defence went to sleep and James Hayter's original run/shot was smothered by Longeran, but the ball fell to Mamadou Bagayoko who slotted the ball into an empty net. It was no more than the away side deserved and the Leeds players and crowd were once again looking despondent. The boos and jeers kept coming from the stands as the first-half came to a close and Leeds needed a major lift to get back into the game.
Although we didn't know it Neil Warnock had entered the dressing room at half-time and gave the players some instructions on how to improve on the poor performance. The changes saw Robert Snodgrass move into a more central role and Andros Townsend into a roaming role from one wing to the other. As the second period begun Leeds were almost caught on the break from a corner. Donny worked the ball brilliantly to the edge of the Leeds box but James Hayter's effort cannoned off the bar. With just less than 40 minutes to go Doncaster made it 2-0 and it was that man Bagayoko again who had another easy chance to double the lead.
Despite the mixture of 'Bates Out' and 'We Are Leeds' chants United levelled within minutes of the Doncaster second goal. Andros Townsend found space on the edge of the box and drilled the ball low into the bottom corner to make it 2-1. The goal gave Leeds an instant lift and they were piling on the pressure. Townsend went close from range and Becchio was unlucky from a header. Robbie Rogers' long awaited debut finally arrived with twelve minutes of time remaining. The introduction of Michael Brown saw Adam Clayton push further up the pitch and he was rewarded with 10 minutes to go when he stuck a leg out to meet Snodgrass' cross and the ball went in off the bar.
Just as Leeds had the momentum disaster struck for Rogers after he looked to impress and jumped for a header. In the process he collided with Tommy Spurr and both were stretchered off with what looked a pair of nasty head injuries. The duo were finally removed from the field (after some diabolical efforts from the medical teams) and Leeds looked for the winner. It somehow came in the 99th minute and it was Luciano Becchio with the goal. His original shot took a deflection of Mikael Forssell and the Argentine stepped up and leathered the ball into the top corner.
Every football fan will agree there is no better feeling than a last gasp winner and Becchio showed his class by celebrating the goal with caretaker manager Neil Redfearn. In the end it was another lucky win, but a win that takes the Whites to tenth and just three points outside the play-offs. It's going to be hard for Warnock and his new team but he's the man for promotions and with the fans seemingly on board you sense a push late on. It's been a torrid few weeks and if I'm being honest a season for fans having to put up with the constant disappointments, but the time for positivity is now.
Redfearn has had it tough and the celebrations at the end were deserved. Yes he wasn't the man for the job, but the immense pressure he was under was always going to be a problem. Hopefully he will return to his old role where he has worked wonders with some of the youth team.
As for the future well...welcome Mr Warnock. The post-match interview has given me and others a sense of belief. Warnock knows the game and he gets the best out of his players. Some of his comments suggest that Michael Brown could play a pivotal role in his squad, as well as some added confidence for Luciano Becchio. His goal at the end could see him kick on for the rest of the season. What the club need now is a fighting attitude, fighting for the shirt, the fans and each other. Nobody expects us to get promoted and we know full well nobody wants us to get promoted.
So why not push for 6th and really really piss everyone off...typical Leeds United style.