It was coming, we could all feel it coming. So many nearly moments before a clipped cross from the returning Charlie Taylor was headed back across goal. It was a crazy moment inside Elland Road, fans lifting the roof, fans that believe we can do what has eluded us for over a decade.
The ratings are high tonight, bloated after a huge effort from every single player on the pitch. Let’s start with the team selection and I hold my hands up, I had buried Liam Cooper before a ball was kicked. Liam Cooper was flawless on the night and I hold my hands up, as will the majority of Leeds fans I’m sure. Pontus Jansson was left out for the good of the group according to Garry Monk so something has clearly happened during the week, and Monk got it bang on. Will Jansson be back? Yes, before to long I’m sure but for the purpose of tonight, it was bang on and he didn’t put a foot wrong. I’m willing to say when I’m wrong, and I was well out tonight.
Back to a key moment, as important as the Wood opener, the Rob Green save. Charlie Taylor committed himself and Beram Kayal, a player who struggled to match up to the power and energy of Ronaldo Vieira got the ball into the box. Cooper was helpless as it flicked up and Green clawed it out from a position that seemed to be beyond him, a quality moment to celebrate the new contract he has signed with the club this week. We began to dominate the game and half chances came but nothing really to worry Stockdale in the Brighton net. It was a decent first half but Leeds were about to lift the tempo and give one of the halves of the season.
As the second half began we started to move Brighton about and a Wood chance came and went as Brighton just about held on but it was coming and when it did it was a moment to savour. So many people ask you, “why do you waste all that money on a season ticket?” A staggering comment for those of us who do and couldn’t imagine life without that blue card that pings you into the ground every second week. When you watch Chris Wood head that ball back across goal and into the corner just have a look at the South Stand…just look, that is why. The goal was all about Ronaldo Vieira, somehow keeping the ball and finding Taylor, great work from the left-back and a glorious header, glorious.
Doukara off the bench, can he make a difference? I have a theory about Doukara, when he isn’t expected to do much, especially at home he comes up with something to make you reconsider what you previously expected. He turned about three Brighton players inside out for the penalty and Wood was never missing, the Kiwi striker closing on 30 goals in all competitions, just take a minute to let that sink in. 12 last season, 27 so far this. Incredible. The whole team was immense tonight and it was Derby at home but better.
Man of the Match – Liam Cooper – Everyone has a claim tonight but given the circumstances he gets it for me.
Green – 9 – Save of the season at 0-0, claimed everything that came his way.
Berardi – 8 – Did Brighton play a left winger?
Bartley – 8 – Solid, commanding and won most balls.
Cooper – 9 – Proved us wrong, me certainly, had the game of his life.
Taylor – 8 – Great for the goal, up against best winger in league, dealt with him comfortably.
Bridcutt – 8 – Lead the team tonight, grew into the game, showed Brighton what they are missing.
Vieira – 8 – Running out of words for the 18 year old. Brilliant.
Sacko – 8 – Best game in months. Ran at players, worked hard, used ball well.
Hernandez – 7 – Got us going at times, moments of quality.
Pedraza – 7 – Had a good game, worked very hard and had nothing left when subbed.
Wood – 9 – What a player he has turned into this season, two more.
Doukara – 7 – Key moment winning the penalty, very good when he came on.
Dallas/O’Kane – N/A