Sunday, 11 March 2012

Firing Blanks

Tuesday 6th March
Football League Championship
Hull City 0 Leeds United 0

I underwent "minor surgery" two days after this game, the details of which are alluded to in the title of the post, and which put many of my recreational pursuits (such as blogging) on temporary hold.  
Still, it was somewhat considerate of these two Yorkshire “rivals” to serve up a similar no-score affair to mark my snip. 
But is the effect of this result set to be as terminal to the Tigers’ play-off aspirations as that of the surgeon’s scalpel is for my prospects of ever siring anymore Slushettes?   
Perhaps not.  Since this intro was first typed, City have bounced back from a similarly frustrating draw at home to Ipswich (in which they surrendered a two-goal lead) to win 3-0 at play-off rivals Cardiff, courtesy of what Graham Clutton described in the Daily Telegraph as a “sublime” performance.
As for this game, it reminded me in so many ways of the previous season’s Leeds fixture at the KC.  Unfortunately, this time round we never got the two-goal lead held back then.  But we should have had.  Indeed, new Leeds boss ‘Colin’ couldn’t have complained had his side been out of the game at the midway point given the dominance of a home side still buoyed by their late point secured at Blackpool in Friday's televised game.
Along with the frustration of more dropped points (which was compounded by a below-par second half display) and seeing a Leeds side play the part of pantomime villains to the full thanks to Becchio & Snodgrass’s constant success in hoodwinking referee Stuart Attwell into some fairly deplorable decisions, the main talking points for me and my companions were the pitch and the atmosphere.
On the former, much had already been said and written about the threadbare nature of the KC playing surface, and rightly so.  It’s little short of a disgrace and may yet prove to be the biggest obstacle to City achieving a top six finish.
As for the atmosphere, I feared the worst when Adam Pearson appeared to backtrack on his programme notes for the previous season’s corresponding fixture, in which he referred to Leeds being allocated the entire North Stand and wrote “this has to be the last time that happens if at all possible”.  Hmm. 
One thing you can usually be guaranteed with Leeds fans – aside from their misguided belief that they are still one of English football’s main powerhouses – is decent vocal backing.  To this end I’ve got to say I was disappointed and after the initial opening fifteen-minute blast they were actually outshone by the notoriously lethargic East Stand.  Well that’s how it sounded in the South-West corner anyway.
As we sat in the traffic nose-to-tail along Castle Street on the way home from the game, listening to Saint Nick give yet another post-match interview that seemed to border on tetchy, we were at least all agreed that seeing this current City side remains a pleasant experience.  As such, to read the manager’s subsequent pledge to not ditch his footballing principles in search of a quick-fix to his team’s goal scoring problems came as something of a relief.  As did that win at Cardiff no doubt?!
In the meantime, I am now well on the way to recovery following my trip to the surgeon – though I could perhaps have done without Mrs Slush’s choice of listening on the way there…

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