Leeds United 0
Carlisle United 2
Visiting the outlaws for the weekend I found myself unexpectedly, for reasons to tedious to explain, with not a lot to do Saturday afternoon. So with Harrogate Town frozen off I got myself down to Eland Road to see how Leeds are doing in the third division. I think what I witnessed can be best summed up in just one sentence.
Oh how the mighty have fallen!
Was this really the Leeds that was in the champions league a few years back? Was this really the club that was once rivalling Manchester United? The answer is yes, but on Saturday it didn’t look like it.
At least their fan base is loyal, over 22,000 turned up for what was in effect a fairly meaningless mid table third division fixture on a pretty chilly afternoon. True it’s not the 40000 that were turning up a few years back but at £21 a shot for the cheap seats (bizarrely the cheap seats have an unobstructed view in the south stand, the most expensive seats in the west stand have pillars in the way, you figure it out because I can’t) it’s pretty good going at that level!
So I took my seat in the community stand (complete with numerous adverts for Television X, that’s right, adverts for porn in the community stand, only a man with a nose for PR like Ken Bates could have come up with that one) and watched events unfold in front of me.
Leeds fans can’t complain about a lack of effort from their team, they were full of energy and pace and running and tackling. The trouble is Leeds can complain about a complete lack of competence. Their strike force consisted of a fat no.10 who had 4 decent shots, all of which he hit straight at the keeper and a skinny no.28 who used his incredible pace to consistently run away from the ball. These two were aided and abetted by a right winger with loads of tricks who couldn’t cross and a left winger who kept drifting into the middle where there was no space.
The defence weren’t much better. Both Carlisle goals in the first half came from the defence going completely AWOL. Carlisle were competent but not much more but by half time were completely in control. Leeds fans celebrated this fact by fighting amongst themselves at half time. How pleasant.
The second half started much the same but by the end Leeds were reduced to lumping aimless balls forward that Carlisle simply mopped up. There was no great finale, the Leeds substitutes were woefully ineffective and Carlisle were quite happy to take their two goal lead and sit on it.
I have no great love of Leeds United, but watching this, as a once big club floundered aimlessly around in the lower reaches of the football league was sad to watch.