Leeds United 1 (Rodrigo pen 90+4))
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 (Hwang Hee-Chan 10)
This was a bit of a Curate’s Egg of a performance from Leeds – good in parts as the tale goes. With Raphinha on the pitch it always looked at least possible we’d find an equaliser having given away another early goal to give Wolves a lead they looked well versed in protecting, one way or another. But when he left the pitch, hopping on one leg, I think many of us in the ground thought that might be our chance gone. Then enter ‘Joffy’ Gelhardt!
I anticipated this would be a tough game, as had many, and we all knew it was key not to offer Wolves a cheap early goal. What do we do? Well you know what we did of course. With a depleted side, missing important players through injury and with so many other senior pros failing to turn up lately, and against a decent and confident Wolves side looking for a record fourth straight Premier League win, that sloppy early goal made it far tougher for ourselves than it needed to be.
Raphinha was always the one bright hope; he was all over the pitch and the swap of Roberts for Raph’ seemed to have made a big improvement over what we saw at St Mary’s last weekend. But, as time went on, Wolves settled into protective mode, falling to the ground at every opportunity to waste time, conning referee Rob Jones and annoying the increasingly raucous Elland Road faithful.
At the break I did wonder if the Wolves nut would be too tough to crack, but with Raphinha on the pitch there was always a chance. When he went off just ten minutes into the new half, I have to say I was almost sure we wouldn’t do it. For ten minutes we looked completely lost. Tyler Roberts had replaced Harrison at the break but, yet again, try as he might, nothing came off for the hapless Welshman, while our collective shoulders seemed to have drooped a tad. Harrison may have picked up a knock or he may have paid the price for allowing Semedo to get away from him and skip into the danger-area to create the Wolves goal. Crysencio Summerville was lively enough when he replaced Raphinha and the Leeds faithful was at its noisiest best but there was just something missing. Our shooting remained dire with only 4 on target all day from 18 attempts. Enter Joffy Gelhardt.
Joffy has already become a bit of a cult hero with his Under 23 exploits and that huge roar we gave him when he came on at Fulham a few weeks ago was repeated today in Spades! It was perhaps a shrewd move by Marcelo to throw the youngster on, this time still with half an hour to go and once again, as at Fulham, at the expense of Matty Klich. It was a bold move but, if nothing else, it whipped up the crowd even more. We were already at fever pitch due to those time-wasting tactics by the visitors and we’d raised the roof when Illan Meslier dummied Raul Jiménez right in front of the Kop leaving the Wolves man on his backside.
We all know what happened. From that point, roared on by the crowd, the Leeds machine finally clicked into gear and Gelhardt revelled in it. The former Wigan striker had already brought a superb save out of Jose Sa and fired another shot over the bar and then, as Leeds piled forward again he weaved and twisted his way into the Wolves area in front of the South Stand and drew the foul from Nelson Semedo. Penalty! We were all nervous, well everyone around me on the Kop was, but Rodrigo showed the class he has with a cool spot-kick sending Jose Sa the wrong way. Who knows, that moment may even change the Spaniards fortunes too.
What this game-changing cameo from Joffy will do for him, we will have to wait and see, but if he doesn’t start at Arsenal on Tuesday than I really think we are missing a trick!
Leeds Utd Wolves
Possession 64% 36%
Shots 18 8
On Target 4 4
Corners 6 3
Fouls Committed 15 14