Team: Kenny, Orr, Hill (Hall), Gorkss, Connolly, Derry, Walker, Taarabt, Mackie, Smith (Ephraim), Hulse (Clarke).
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Rowlands, Tofas, Helguson.
Attendance: 29, 426
What a journey ! A pal of mine driving home to the Ealing area was back at 2am…and he had a Leeds fan on board for company. That must of been pleasant ! They crawled back along the M1, from J15 in Northamptonshire, pretty much all the way home. The coaches were back at Loftus Road at 1am, which of course, was not the end of the journey for the majority on board. We realised that it was too dicey getting back to the Wycombe area with large sections of the M40 and M1 blocked so we stayed with a friend who was with us at the game, in Peterborough and spent the evening watching the BBC, trying to eek out what thin material they had for their ‘Match of the Day’ and ‘Championship’ programmes. Thanks for putting us up Darren. My mates Wayne and John were interviewed by the BBC for the Championship show. They did broadcast them…but fortunately without John’s forecast of a 4-1 Rangers win !
So onto the game itself… Faurlin was ill apparently, we missed him. George Tofas was on the bench, but was not used. I’m sure he and the rest of the reserves will get their day at Blackburn in three weeks time. I thought that we did ok 1st half and looked dangerous at times. If Adel’s early effort had gone in , instead of skimming past the post with Schmeichel beaten, it could of been oh so different. However, it wasn’t to be and Leeds took the lead on 25 minutes with a good goal from Gradel, although with question marks to be asked about the Rangers defence.
I was very disappointed with what was served up in the 2nd half. We never looked like scoring and Leeds’s second from Gradel with 20 minutes to go came as no surprise. Leeds played decently but they are not world beaters. I did find it amusing that the mighty Leeds United of my youth (I grew up in Yorkshire in the early 70’s) were so overly excited about beating table-topping QPR in 2010. We must not forget that it was our first away defeat of the season. The last time we lost our first away game at Leeds was in October 1975…and look at what heights we went on to climb that season and our last match that season was Leeds at home, as it will be on 8th May.
There was a great atmosphere in Elland Road and nigh on a 30,000 gate. Not a huge Rangers turn out (hardly surprising), but decent considering the conditions and the 1,400 or so Rangers fans in attendance gave good, loud vocal support in the 1st half. By the end of the match though, there were few of us left in the stadium…most realised that it was all over at 2-0 and that it was time to start what proved to be a long and nightmarish journey home for so many people. A Derby style comeback never looked on the cards. I’m not quite sure why Neil Warnock was so wound up about the ref…other than its all par for the usual course. I thought the referee generally did well and allowed the game to flow. Many refs would have given Clint Hill a red and not a yellow in the 1st half.
So, we are still top at Christmas and the Division is wide open. We are not firing on all cylinders but, with a few changes, I do think we have what it takes and just need to ensure that we don’t panic or do anything stupid….and that applies as much to the fans and the Board as the players and club management. I have great faith in Neil Warnock to do the right thing. If you’d told me after the Peterborough away game in February that we’d be top of the table at Christmas and would only have lost one game at home and one away, I’d have said that you were certifiable.
(The above pics were taken by Martin and used with his permission)