Leeds United 1 (Hernandez 57)
My wife was at the game with me this week and her only comment at the end was along the lines of: “Crikey, I couldn’t be doing with that stress every week!” “Welcome to my world!” I replied!
Once again Leeds made hard work of achieving the result needed despite dominating the game as we always do. However, the only statistic that really matters at this time of the season is the result and, for a second week running, we found a goal from a piece of opportunism in the heart of the opposition goalmouth. This time it was Pablo Hernandez who was the Johnny on the spot to twist and turn and stab the ball home just before the hour mark, in much the same way that Luke Ayling did the job last week.
The rest of the game followed the regular Leeds United match template that we’ve seen all season: 66% of the ball, significantly more goal attempts than Reading, twice as many corners, but too many half chances wasted through poor or inaccurate shooting.
It was pretty much a carbon copy of the game last week against Bristol in every respect, even down to a last gasp effort by the visitors to spoil the party. Last week we had to rely on our old foe Nahki Wells to get his legs in a tangle, thus missing a good chance near the end. This week we had a divine redemption moment from Kiko Casilla at the death, as he did brilliantly to block a goal-bound effort from makeshift striker Liam Moore. On such moments are promotions won and lost.
We’ve all said it many times before but I will reiterate once again: I fully expect every Leeds game to now follow this template. We will dominate the possession, we will create more half chances than the opposition and, sadly, I fear we will miss most of them in every one of our remaining 12 games. But, limiting the opposition to so little ball means they will have few chances to hurt us so, as long as we can find a way each week to snatch a goal from somewhere, then, more often than not, we will win.
On occasions, the odd chance given away will continue to blight our record: on another day Nahki Wells would have burst the net or Liam Moore would have beaten Kiko at his near post and three points could have become one or, if we fail to find that golden moment at the other end, a point could become none.
The personnel will not change significantly now unless we are hit by injuries to any key players so, other things being equal, expect every game to look like this one today! At least now though my wife will understand why I crawl into bed every week a gibbering wreck and why my late night malt is so vital to calming my nerves! Cheers!
Leeds Utd Reading
Possession 66% 34%
Shots 18 8
On Target 5 2
Corners 6 3
Fouls Committed 12 10