Spirited County Fall To Leeds
Monday 28th December '09
A massive show of determination and guts from County today was not enough to take a deserved point or three from league leaders Leeds Utd at Edgeley Park today.
The game was an early kick-off at 12pm, and as I made my way into the ground, the pitch was appalling. Cutting up easily, basically a mud-bath.
Excitement ruled amongst County fans as news filtered through that Jim Gannon had been sacked by Motherwell, citing 'his repeated refusal to sign a new contract' with the Fir Park club, and that Jimbo was sat in the Main Stand for the game today. Probably nothing in it, but we'd all love a Jimbo return to save us!
Leeds were ahead after barely two minutes when Jermaine Beckford appeared to handle the ball but the referee waved play on and Rob Snodgrass curled the ball into the top corner via a Michael Raynes deflection.
Everyone surely feared the worst from then on, barely two minutes in and the first goal had gone in already. But County fought back tremendously and deserved to be level when the goal came.
Carl Baker, departing to Coventry City next week, went on a mazy run beating three United defenders and being hacked down on the edge of the box.
Baker dusted himself down and stood up to take the resulting free-kick, slamming the ball low into the bottom corner. 1-1, game on!
Leeds still looked potent on the break even on this crap surface, but it was the Hatters who should have been in front when David Poole was played in down the left, and cut inside before seeing his shot palmed away by Casper Ankergren, and Poole was unlucky to see his return shot deflected off Snodgrass for a corner.
County more than held their own for the remainder of the half, and we went in at the break at 1-1.
Again, it was the favourites who started the second-half strongly, with Argentine striker Luciano Becchio seeing his 30 yard effort superbly clawed away by fon Williams, also reportedly departing EP next week.
The Cheadle End was sent mental a few minutes later though, a short corner played to David Poole who chipped a lovely ball into the box for Johnny Mullins to score his second goal in 2 games at EP against Leeds by stooping to nod home, and the County fans were loving it!
All eyes were now on the time, even with half an hour to play. Every clearance was greeted with a cheer, but County could only hold out for 6 minutes before Beckford was left free in the box to head home the equaliser.
A point was still a superb point for us, to stop the rot and give some confidence back to the depleted side. But that wasn't to be either, as with three minutes to go Leigh Bromby smashed home from 20 yards, and this time the Cheadle End was silent. The effort from the team had been immense, working and grafting for every ball but it wasn't to be. Let's hope the confidence isn't completely shot now, and we can bounce back at Bristol.
Beckford added another on the break while County were chasing the game, but the inept referee - who had been shocking all game - wanted to steal the show and gave David Poole a straight red for a lunge on Max Gradel, whilst conveniently ignoring Patrick Kisnorbo booting the ball into the Main Stand and hitting a fan, or Tresor Kandol twice swinging for Oli Johnson. To be fair though, it IS Leeds United, the biggest club. Ever.
The final whistle went and the County players were given a standing ovation, more-so Baker and fon Williams who probably won't play for us again.
One person we would love to see back though is Jim Gannon. I'd hate to build hopes up (even my own!), but if there's any chance that Gannon, Ward and Lord could return then our potential new owners should be wise enough to take it. I feel desperately sorry for Gary Ablett working under these conditions...but he's no Jim Gannon.
Animo Et Fide.