Leeds Utd 4 (James 20, 34 Summerville 31, 45+4)
Huddersfield Town 1 ( Helik 70)
28th October, 2023, EFL Championship.
Well, that was more like it! The best first-half display from Leeds in a very, very long time. We needed a response after the various tactical and on-pitch errors at Stoke and boy did we get it. The only regret being the almost certain knowledge that, had we played today’s starting XI at Stoke, we’d have three more points than we have tonight, but what’s done is done.
After an initial spell when Huddersfield managed a shot that skimmed past the post, Leeds settled to their task and from that point on were superb for the rest of the half. The writing was on the wall for the Terriers when Joel Piroe put the ball in the net soon after that Terriers’ shot but that one was ruled offside. On the 20-minute mark though Leeds were deservedly ahead and it was a goal that looked very familiar; not dissimilar in fact to our third at Norwich last weekend. Georginio, in his own box, hooked the ball into the path of the marauding Summerville and he set off at a pace no Terrier could live with. This time Cree was supported by both Joel Piroe and Dan James. He chose Dan James while Piroe made the dummy run to the left and Dan James’ finish was unerring. It was the pace of Leeds that Huddersfield found a problem throughout the first half with Thomas Edwards looking like he was pulling the proverbial caravan and Tom Lees looking all at sea in the middle.
The only surprise was that it took Leeds another 14 minutes to score again although we did spurn a couple of excellent chances in between that just reminded us that we haven’t completely sorted our finishing yet despite what was to follow! The second was another piece of trickery from Crysencio as Piroe rolled the ball into his feet on the left of the box and he shimmied and jinked one way and then the other before clipping the ball across the face of goal and into the far corner past the unsighted Lee Nicholls in the visitors’ goal. Cue a lovely little cameo of a dance routine between Cree and Willy Gnonto who was warming up on the touchline. We didn’t have to wait long for the third.
It was Georginio again the instigator as he cleverly touched the ball to Summerville while under the pressure of an attempted tackle deep in his own half. Once again Summerville set off at pace with half of Huddersfield in his wake. Once again Dan James had the pace to race along with him on the right and once again Joel Piroe provided the distraction by pulling away to the left and taking a defender with him. It started to look like a well-rehearsed training move! Cree played the ball into Dan James’ path and inside the covering defender and, with one touch to set up the shot, Dan fired the ball across the keeper into the left corner.
Still, we weren’t finished and in added time at the end of the half we had a fourth. Again it was the vision of Georginio breaking down the left, a cut-back to the ever-available Summerville and more dancing lessons for the Terriers’ defence as they tried to live with Summerville’s twists and turns but failed miserably and Cree swept the ball into the right corner with his left boot. It was game, set, and match to the Mighty Whites.
As so often in games that start like this, the second half was a bit of an anti-climax. Huddersfield made changes at the break and no doubt had orders to stem the tide, while Leeds had little incentive to bust any guts with a four-goal lead. Leeds made sensible changes to protect certain players with the game won and off came Sam Byram and the sensational Summerville to be replaced by the far less effective Luke Ayling and Willy Gnonto. Defensively we were not then helped when Joe Rodon was withdrawn with an injury to be replaced by Liam Cooper. None of that caused the goal we gave away though; that was down to Illan Meslier failing to hold an admittedly fierce and swerving shot and merely spilling the ball at the feet of Helik who was able to follow up and score from six yards. I was particularly annoyed by that… I’d predicted a 4 – 0 scoreline before the game!
Let’s not get hung up on the second half though – let’s rejoice that the XI we started with totally destroyed Huddersfield and scored four terrific (might I even say Terrierific?) goals with some sumptuous finishing. If we can play like this at Leicester then surely we have hope for bringing something away from the King Power next Friday? We need to try to halt the Foxes from running into the distance.
Leeds Utd Hud'field T
Possession 74% 26%
Shots 20 5
On Target 5 2
Corners 4 2
Fouls 7 11