Leeds Utd 4 (Struijk 8, Davis og 25, Summerville pen 45, Piroe 52)
Ipswich Town 0
23rd December, 2023, EFL Championship.
I think that was the most complete Leeds performance of the season, we hardly put a foot wrong throughout the 90 minutes against perhaps the most fluent side in the Championship (apart from Leeds obviously!). Certainly prior to today they were the division’s top scorers. The only thing that perplexes me is how the match stats don’t really describe the full extent to which we dominated. Did we really only manage 9 goal attempts? I guess this was the clinical finishing we’ve been demanding all season finally arriving.
Very few Leeds fans could would have predicted quite such an overwhelming victory – I had us down to win, but I felt it would be a very close encounter similar to the game at Portman Road. However, Leeds came out and pushed Ipswich back from the first minute with a relentless press that completely stifled any Ipswich attempts to play their flowing football. Taking an 8th minute lead helped of course, that got the crowd up and showed the players that the game was there for the taking. A rare Leeds goal from a corner too – a Piroe header that was saved on the line and Pascal Struijk, always a presence in the opposition box, to follow up and nod the loose ball home.
I guess it was always likely that Leif Davis would play a starring role on his return to Elland Road but, sadly for Leif, the sound of “You’re Leeds and you know you are!” reflected only the two big helping hands he gave us. The first, hardly his fault, saw a fellow defender fail to cut out a Summerville low cross and he couldn’t react quickly enough to stop the ball ricocheting off his legs and into the net. The second most definitely was his fault, as the flying Summerville went past him and then had his ankles tapped by the hapless Davis sending Cree headlong to the turf. It was becoming a Cree masterclass as he walloped the spot kick superbly past the Ipswich keeper. Cree also delivered the corner for the first goal of course!
That was pretty much the story of a devastating first half; Leeds three to the good and Ipswich having just two sights of the Leeds goal – a Chaplin first-time strike that struck the outside of the right post and another shot that flew well wide. There would be no further goal attempts from the misfiring Tractor Boys in the game, not a single shot on target, not a single corner, just a whole flurry of yellow cards as they resorted to kicking lumps out of us in their frustration.
Leeds put the game out of reach of the visitors just seven minutes into the second half as the dancing feet of Georginio were matched by some twinkle-toes work by Joel Piroe in the box and a fine finish. That Status Quo inspired rallying cry was now writ large on the scoresheet: “Here we go-oh, Summerville, Struijk and Piroe!”.
You would think that this set-back might well set some alarm bells ringing for the Tractor Boys, it is the heaviest defeat they have ever suffered under manager Kieran McKenna and the four goal swing now has the Leeds goal difference superior to those of Ipswich – 19 to 15. The points gap more importantly is down to seven and there is a glorious chance on Boxing Day for us to reduce it further by winning our game at misfiring Preston while Leicester can hopefully inflict another defeat on Ipswich at Portman Road – a game we’ll hopefully be back in time to watch live on TV while tucking into our Turkey Sandwiches. The chase is on folks, but please Leeds, as RuPaul often tells us (I do like a bit of RuPaul’s Drag Race!) : “Don’t f*** it up”.
Happy Christmas everyone and hope to see many of you at Preston on Tuesday!
Leeds U Ipswich T
Possession 55% 45%
Shots 9 2
On Target 4 0
Corners 5 0
Fouls 10 15