Leeds Pole-Axe Walsall
Forgive me if bits of this are wrong, it’s two days on from our wonderful victory and by the time that I slumped down in front of the telly with my hangover well and truly intact still there may have been bits and pieces I missed out on!
Within 5 minutes Leeds, who had started easily the brighter team had been gifted a guilt-edged chance on a silver platter as Ian Roper’s misplaced everything allowed Beckford to slip in for a 1 v 1 against the rather portly former Trinidad & Tobago international keeper Clayton Ince, only for the no-goal-in-five striker to side foot his effort narrowly wide. You’d have thought this would have deterred the former Chelsea trainee but just a few moments later he was shrugging off the Walsall centre back pairing to fire the ball just over the bar and leaving me and perhaps many a Leeds fan wondering if this was a sign of things to come.
Leeds then stepped up the pressure as Ince had to be on hand to punch away a dangerous looking shot/cross from Freedman, before Neil Kilkenny knocked the ball forward with me screaming at the TV for him not to do it. My reasoning was that there was a Leeds player running wide of him and an aimless ball forward seemed like a waste of just about everyone’s time. It turned out that his pass became a good one as Beckford made up for his previous misses, and those ridiculous gloves as he nudged off the Walsall defender before his first touch took it past an apathy filled sliding effort from Ince before slotting home from a tight angle. Welcome relief to the player, the manager, and just about any Leeds United fan concerned at Becks’ lack of goals recently!
The start of the second half saw Leeds re-start where they had previously left off as Freedman forced Ince into a smart save. Walsall just about struggled back into the game as Lee Holmes popped a free kick just over the bar, with goalkeeper Casper Ankergren, doing a brilliant impression of former Danish International Peter Schmeichel’s ‘Rudolph’ look, scrambling across goal at the last moment. Not Walsall’s best (nor funniest) chance, but we’ll get to that later.
A special mention goes to David Prutton here for two reasons:
1.) For the way he ran the midfield battle for the entire of the match.
2.) Sideburns with long hair? Even the Sky Sports commentators had a swipe at your barnet, son sort it out!
Prutton provided brilliant pass followed by a run that put him into the perfect position to cross for Dougie Freedman, I was already off the chair in celebration of the once “oh no he’s signing for us” striker as from 6 yards out, I expected the man-made net to bulge as he nodded it past the former Crewe #1. It wasn’t to be on this occasion as Ince got down to save from the on-loan Palace strikers nod-on.
Walsall’s best chance, and possibly one of the funniest things that has happened at Elland Road of late, fell as Holmes put in a great cross, knocked back (completely unknowingly I made add by Kevin Betsy) towards the penalty spot for Tommy Mooney to perhaps side foot home in a somewhat comfortable manner.
Unfortunately for Mr Mooney, Mr Money and Mr Walsall Fan, Mooney had other ideas, plumping for his top-drawer Jonny Wilkinson impression. I hope the proverbial row-Z supporters came away with their teeth intact! That was, largely it for Walsall as Leeds took the hint, and stepped things back up. Sheehan popped up for a free kick that was well saved by a surprised looking Ince despite the shot being relatively right at him!
With Leeds pressing for that second killer goal, Clayton Ince was on hand again to deny Johnson with a superb one handed stop before Freedman’s handball-cum-effort was cleared off the line. If it wasn’t for the fact we had super Casper Ankergren, I’d be telling Macca to have a look at Ince for when we gain promotion to the Championship this season!
Goal number two came as Walsall gave the ball away, and Leeds United, full of confidence as they looked to dominate the game pounced. Kilkenny picked up the loose ball and put the kind of pass that must have been the reason as to why Birmingham City picked him up through to Beckford, who found time to take the touch of a proverbial sex pest and yet still managed to recover to lift the ball out of a (slightly more controlled) advancing goalkeeper for goal number two.
2-0, 3 points, job done. An honourable mention for Jonathan Douglas who managed the last 8 minutes and looked about as un-match fit as I do following a night out on the ale, Tresor Kandol for his 30 second cameo, and Jonny Howson for whipping one over the bar late on.
If we don’t go up this season, we will be unlikely to keep hold of him come the summer transfer window.