What. A. Game. That. Was.
On Saturday afternoon, Leeds United welcomed Sheffield Wednesday into their back yard for what we here at TIAT called a crucial match, one of the most important games of this season, make or break... and rightly so. A lot was on the line in this one, and United needed to deliver. Thankfully, they did just that.
I haven’t said this in a while, but Leeds started out strong in this one. There was a lot of back and forth action early on, with Leeds dominating the first ten minutes and Wednesday earning a couple free kicks and elevating my heart rate. Thankfully, nothing came from those.
Finally, in the 23rd minute, Gaetano Berardi found Chris Wood all alone in the box and the big man calmly, coolly put Leeds ahead 1-0 with his 23rd goal of the season.
Wood’s goal didn’t slow anything down though, and the back and forth action ensued. The atmosphere at Elland Road may have gotten to Hadi Sacko: the lad had a rough couple of minutes, not converting on a few opportunities when the ball was at his feet and forgetting to cross when he had men available.
In the 41st minute, Swedish Jesus Pontus Jansson got another yellow card: it’s his 13th now, and he’s two away from a three-game ban. Just before the half, Leeds won a free kick which nothing came of, played some defense, and then the whistle blew. One of the best first halves in a while.
The second half got started, and pretty soon, Leeds were in trouble. Wednesday took chance after chance in Rob Green’s end, and then, in the 54th minute, Souleymane Doukara pulled down Sam Hutchinson in the box.
Jordan Rhodes went up to take the kick, but Rob Green was having none of it and saved the kick, knocking it off the post.
Rob has had a hell of a few games, and already has my early vote for our Player of the Month.
Sheffield came out strong and continued playing well after their stopped penalty. That being said, our defense held up nicely and did their part very well too. Kemar Roofe came on for Sacko in the 70th minute, and almost immediately had a chance to put this game to 2-0. A bit of mayhem ensued in the last 15, and Wednesday almost scored a heartbreaker at the end on a counter, but Pontus Jansson is Pontus Jansson.
The final whistle blew, and three points never felt like such a relief. We’re just that much closer to the playoffs now, a full eight points ahead of 7th place Fulham after their draw later in the day.
Automatic promotion is a doable seven points away, but all I’m asking for is the playoffs.
Next up, we travel to Birmingham City for a clash with Gianfranco Zola’s Blues, looking to keep our form up for a clash with Fulham four days later. It’s an important game that cannot be overlooked, and I’m sure our boys are aware of that.
It was a pleasure covering this one, until next time. MOT.