Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Match Review: Leeds Utd 2-1 Crystal Palace

Last Saturday saw my first ever trip to Elland Road to watch two teams I've never seen play before Leeds Utd and Crystal Palace. I went with two of my friends from Uni, who are both Leeds fans. One of them had been going to Leeds for years, and the other was also attending his first Leeds game. I always find going to a new ground very interesting, as you get to see how ‘they’ (ie. that team’s supporters) experience a football game.

So the Leeds game was something I had been looking forward to for a while, and we decided to experience the game in the most traditional ‘Northern’ way we could think of. We had a pint at about 12 for breakfast, a couple of sausage rolls from Greggs for lunch, got on the Leeds Utd bus to the ground and sat next to the resident racist who came out with some very... erm... different comments, and we got very cold too.

I bought a programme which was packed with stuff, a very impressive publication and reasonably priced at £3. I wasn't too taken on Ken Bates' comments, but I don't think that's particularly unusual. My friend and I also managed to get a picture with the 'Kop Kat' which was a nice souvenir of the day! Our seats weren't amazing, right behind the goal at roughly the player's crotch level, but we were near the away fans and there was something to see when the players were at the other end of the pitch.

The game was rather good too. Leeds started, and stayed, the stronger. They had most of the possession and chances, as well as two goals disallowed for offside either side of half time. Crystal Palace only really imposed themselves on the game for a 10 minute period before half-time, and, typically, they scored. It was a well worked goal; the ball was passed across from the right hand side and eventually tapped in by Neil Danns.

The Second half was really all about Leeds trying to break down a solid Palace defence, save for the odd counter attack. In the 81st minute however, Palace’s goal was breached, Luciano Becchio scored twice in the space of four minutes to turn the game on its head and give the three points to Leeds. It was a very exciting end to the game and the Leeds fans were very happy about it! Even I got caught up in it and was celebrating like a Leeds fan!

The day was good fun, although I did notice that every goal happened at the other end of the pitch, as far away from us as possible! This meant that when there was a chance, the entire South stand stood up and looked at the big screen behind us to see it properly; a little bit odd, but kind of amusing. The other thing I noticed is that Kasper Schmicheal is completely insane! One save he made was him kneeling down and punching the ball out for a throw-in, and after a shot wide by Crystal Palace, he ran towards a terrified ball-boy gesturing wildly for a new ball. I was scared for the ball-boy, I can only imagine how the ball-boy felt...

All in all it was a good day and I’d defiantly go back again, although the £25 you have to pay for a ticket is a bit steep. Championship football will be a rare luxury for me I think.

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