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Sphere on Spiral Stairs

Plymouth    0                                                                                            

Leeds Utd  2 (Gnonto 10, Rutter 72)    


17th February 2024, EFL Sky Bet Championship


As we’ve said since the beginning of the year, all Leeds can do is to keep winning football matches and see where it gets us. Few Leeds fans though would have expected us to win all eight of our league games since then! To do so while conceding just one goal is nothing short of sensational and it’s a run of results that has got us right in the mix for, at least, the second automatic promotion place.

This was as tough a game as we’ve had in that time, Plymouth are a limited side but what they lack in quality and technical ability is more than made up for by their consistent effort. They stick at it, as we saw in the three previous meetings with the Pilgrims. They were undefeated at Home Park since October until we arrived and, interestingly, Leicester and Ipswich are both still to visit Home Park this season so maybe they can start another undefeated home run to help us out!

The first goal today was a tad bizarre. A high, up-and-under from Georginio was cleverly brought down by Willy Gnonto who steered it around a defender in the same movement and then stroked it past Hazard while everyone else was still peering up into the thick mist that shrouded the little seaside ground all afternoon. The second goal was typical Leeds. A slide-rule pass from Joel Piroe into the path of Georginio and he then went to work on one of his typical ball-protecting runs. He escaped one defender and then shot through the legs of a second with a powerful left-foot drive that eluded the bewildered keeper, Conor Hazard. We’d been ahead since the 10th minute but, until we doubled the lead with that Georginio goal in the 72nd minute, the game was never quite put to bed despite Leeds generally looking in control.

The woodwork again denied us a couple more goals that would not have flattered us at all. Georginio’s first-half shot came back off the foot of the right post and then Dan James’ last minute curling free kick struck the top of the righthand angle. In between, there was just a single shot that needed any serious intervention from Illan Meslier when he beat away a Morgan Whittaker free-kick. There were only three shots on goal in the whole game, including the two Leeds goals,and that tells the story of the game really. There was far less of our usual pace and flair on show today but plenty of defensive guile as we easily and regularly repelled the stubborn Pilgrims. If I was to be critical, I would say we were not quite as careful with the ball today; several times we made poor passes that either went out of play or gave up possession – Junior Firpo had a few of those as did others. In our defence, I could mention the weather – every bit as dire as in our cup tie the other day – and the increasingly sticky pitch. Maybe this was the game when all the travelling finally started to catch up with us too, I know it did with me!

At the end of the day it was yet another three points, another three points that matched what Southampton and Ipswich managed in this round of games and of course, surprisingly, got us three points closer to Leicester. Maybe they are not quite as home and hosed as we thought…maybe that will depend on our next game, next Friday night against the Foxes! Should be some night at Elland Road! Win that and the cat will well and truly be among the pigeons!

        Game Statistics:


                             Plymouth  Leeds 

  Possession        42%    58%

  Shots                    7        9

  On Target              1        2

  Corners                 4        0

  Fouls                   14      13

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