Before game time at Elland Road on Saturday, the Leeds United fanbase was talking a push for the playoff. It wasn't everyone dreaming of such high heights to be sure, but there was mathematical, if not very probable, chance of making a run, and the top ten spots seemed a more attainable goal. On top of that, three wins in a row brought 30k fans through the turnstiles for the West Yorkshire Derby against Huddersfield Town, so the buzz was intense. Maybe, just maybe, Leeds had turned the corner, and even if they couldn't make the playoffs, surely they could top the mid-table Terriers.
Instead, the dog-shaggers from Huddersfield laughed in the faces of the Leeds fans, who chanted "You're getting sacked in the morning" to Evans, exited early for the pub, and probably missed head coach David Wagner's post-game celebrations:.
What the $#*! just happened??
Well, in the span of eight minutes in the second half, Leeds shredded all the goodwill they'd garnered in March, pissed on the fans, reminded them of January and February (and all the other months), and kicked them out the door.
The first half went Leeds' way for the most part. A sloppy tackle in the box from Sol Bamba earned Huddersfield a penalty, but Marco Silvestri continued his superhuman ways by saving the well-placed shot from Nahki Wells. A few minutes later, a persistent effort from Liam Bridcutt led to a cross to Stuart Dallas who "jumped like a salmon" and headed the ball into the back of the net. That's where the highlights end, so we'll include this highlight video here...
It was 1-0 in the 22nd minute, and for the next 20, Huddersfield looked like they were done, as though they'd given up on their chance to salvage a point at Elland Road against a team that usually dominates them. They really dragged, and Leeds probably should've scored another to put it away. Still, a fourth win looked to be easily coming... until Mark Hudson used his head to put a corner past the keeper to tie it at 1, against the run of play.
Even still, it looked good for Leeds at half and continued to for the first 20 minutes after, as both sides fought for chances in a much more even affair than the first half. And then it fell apart. In the 69th minute, Harry Bunn scored after a bad back-pass from Alex Mowatt resulted in an unnecessary corner. In the 73rd, Karim Matmour slotted home an easy pass from the breaking Wells. And in the 77th, Wells found one of his own, powering a shot past a beaten-down Leeds defense. If you really need to see all the goals... go here. I don't want to re-live that.
The chants for Evans to be sacked might have started in the away end, but they were echoed by the largest crowd at Elland Road in months, and most of the stadium had left by the final whistle, probably heading to the pub. The response on social media was just as angry, with some especially pointed tweets highlighting the general feeling after the game:
Hard to fathom that second half. The phrase you're looking for is shuddering halt.— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) March 19, 2016
So fucking typical #LUFC, biggest crowd of the season, 3 wins on the bounce, play uddersfield who we always smash, and we get smashed!— Recon (@LeeRecon) March 19, 2016
The club's too big for Cellino, the job's too big for Evans, the shirt's too heavy for the fucking players, outclassed in front of 29,000— SporcoLeeds (@SporcoLeeds) March 19, 2016
Heading home now, credit to Town for a clinical demolition job. As for Leeds, where do I even start....— Katherine Hannah (@KatherineLeeds) March 19, 2016
Your tactics were absolutely awful today, Steve. For once hold your hands up. https://t.co/f2OvIMFkYt— I'd Radebe Leeds (@Radebe_Leeds) March 19, 2016
Well...— Time To Go, Massimo (@TimeToGoMassimo) March 19, 2016
What a complete and utter crock of shit that was.#TimeToGoMassimo
So... yeah. Things aren't great.
We were thissss close to an unbeaten March, to excitement during the two week break, and instead we're back to this. Guess we shouldn't expect any different. It'll be interesting to see the reactions to this loss over the next two weeks at least. Will Evans get sacked after all? Will more anti-Cellino protests emerge? Will everyone just stop caring? What will the players say?
Everyone has to take responsibility.— Giuseppe Bellusci (@peppe_ele) March 19, 2016
Well that's interesting. Tweeted right after the manager's post-game presser... a veiled swipe at Evans perhaps?
As Adam Pope said on the post-game broadcast, it's getting harder and harder to support the team when they get your hopes up and then smash them over, and over, and over again. But we're all Leeds aren't we?
Let us know what you think on social media and in the comments. Going to be a long wait for Rotherham on April 2. Thanks for reading. #MOT.