Leeds United 2 (Ayling 3, Bamford 51)
Huddersfield Town 0
…and breathe! That one was a lot more comfortable than many thought it might be. I had it down as a 3 – 0 win ahead of kick-off and, to be honest, it could easily have been!
As we did in that magnificent seven run before Christmas, we are once again getting the results our play deserves and which any team serious about going up this season ought to be achieving against poor teams.
It is perhaps no coincidence that the teams we are now beating, one after the other, are largely the same teams we put to the sword in that famous seven game run. Huddersfield now join Boro, Hull City and Reading from that sequence and we still have Luton and Blackburn to come! We’ve now got six “doubles” to our name as well, adding Birmingham and Bristol to the four we’ve just reeled off. If we manage another run of seven wins on the trot it would mean we’ve won at Cardiff and beat our main rivals, Fulham... but perhaps that is a bit too optimistic!
I do find it fascinating how this season is replicating last season In so many ways. On a Tuesday night in early March this time last year, Leeds won their 37th league game of the campaign 3 – 0 at Reading to go back to the top of the table, a point above Norwich City. Funnily enough we had 2 more points then than we do now but, more significantly, we were only 2 points ahead of third placed Sheffield United; we have a bit more breathing space this time but it’s all remarkably similar. The test now is that we do not follow last season’s trend in the final nine games when we only took 10 points. We probably won’t need too many more but I doubt 10 will do it!
The win today was comfortable in the extreme; another early goal of course makes all the difference and what a cracker it was; Luke Ayling will be running short of celebrations if he carries on like this. It must have been like a dagger to the heart of the Huddersfield players who must have known they were then in for a torrid afternoon. The only real surprise was that we could only find the one additional goal but that one will hopefully be a real boon for Paddy Bamford, albeit it was a shame Ben White’s header was saved as I’m sure he’s desperate to get off the mark too.
16 goal attempts is a decent return and had Harrison’s first half volley found the corner of the net or his second half curler gone in-off, instead of back-off the post, then I’d have got my three-nil. Jack Harrison will surely see one of those curling left-footers of his ripple the net soon.
There’s little more to say now, it’s all looking good, we continue to play well and we’ve rebuilt that gap to third place. I’d expect a much tougher game at Cardiff next week and then we have “the big one” against Fulham. That could well now be the game that as good as seals our fate! I'll leave it to Huddersfield manager Danny Cowley to tantalise us with his post match comments today as reported on the BBC:
"If you are going to be out-managed, then be out-managed by a genius," said Cowley.
"I'm not sure we've ever got to that level of performance that Leeds did today. You look at the energy and intensity. He must be relentless in his demands of them to play with that physical output. I will be interested to see how the Premier League copes with them when Leeds go up."
There will be more twists and turns I’m sure – let’s just hope the dreaded Corvid-19 doesn’t prevent us being there in the flesh to witness the final act and to celebrate the achievement if we make it.
Leeds Utd Huddersfield T
Possession 61% 39%
Shots 16 6
On Target 5 2
Corners 2 3
Fouls Committed 13 18