The game felt over, we were just waiting on the final whistle coming. We hadn’t had a shot since the first half and the Newcastle fans were enjoying rubbing it in. Then one move between three players sparked chaos up in the top tier of one corner, and off we went with a huge point for the football club.
Speaking to a couple of Newcastle fans on the way back into town they were telling us it was the best atmosphere they have had at years in St. James Park and they were hoping we came up through the play-offs. The atmosphere felt like boiling point but in a good way. Every incident, corner or tackle was roared by the home fans who seemed to suck the ball in for the opening goal but Leeds had leaders on the park who kept us in the game and then leaders who got us a result. When the ball was rattled home the scenes in the away end were something to behold, and 50k fans all of a sudden had the life sucked out of them.
The goal, quality in three different stages. Pablo Hernandez who was having a very poor game skipped past a player and picked out a clever pass when all others on the park would have launched it into the box for Newcastle to clean up. What he did was surprise everyone but his team-mates and more-so Kemar Roofe who stepped inside with an inside touch which opened the picture and clipped it into a player rather than an area. Chris Wood wasn’t making any mistake and volleyed wonderfully into the top corner. A move of class in the 95th minute of the game and probably our first of note of the whole 95.
We didn’t deserve a point in terms of football but some heroic performances and spirit, heart and desire meant we deserve what we get in games like that. Pontus Jansson and Rob Green were outstanding at the back, Bartley not far behind in another off performance going forward. The reaction from Garry Monk said it all and it feels like a point that could really take us into the last four games on a high, and may be the catalyst to get us over the line. Other results went against us but there would have been some gutted Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday fans at 10pm last night when the Kiwi destined for the golden boot sent Leeds into raptures.
Man Of The Match – Pontus Jansson – Could have been Green but Jansson was quality on the night. Throwing his body into the firing line time and time again.
Green – 10 – Fantastic performance yet again, kept us in the game. Great celebrations from him at the end.
Ayling – 5 – Thought he had a very shaky game but kept on going. Gave the ball away at times. Been a revelation this season though, just an off day.
Jansson – 10 – Best I’ve seen Jansson in a few months. Passion, pride and wonderful defending.
Bartley – 9 – Bartley was at the top of his game last night and kept the lads going when they needed a push.
Berardi – 6 – Struggled to get close to Matt Ritchie at times and got sold on one occasion which is very rare.
Bridcutt – 6 – Did some good work defensively but needs to try to get us up the park on the ball. Wouldn’t have started if Vieira was feeling better.
Phillips – 6 – Struggled at times but I thought he worked extremely hard and once Bridcutt was subbed he had to keep the shape with Hernandez floating around.
Roofe – 6 – Quiet all game then a moment of genius picking out Wood. Should have scored early on. Needs to be in the team for moments like his assist.
Hernandez – 5 – Came up with a pass Newcastle couldn’t deal with. Apart from that had a shocker but was left on for one moment and produced it, fair play to him and Garry Monk.
Pedraza – 6 – Decent in the first half then faded before being replaced. Unlucky to hit the bar early on, deserves to keep his place.
Wood – 7 – Had nothing all game yet again then bang, and that’s why he’s the best player in the league.
Sacko – 6 – Gave us some running but needs to be more composed and pick players out.
Doukara – 5 – Poor when he came on, seemed to struggle with the pace of the game.
Taylor – 5 – Looked half arsed when he came on, didn’t cross the ball when he did get forward and seemed slow and lagging. Didn’t celebrate like the others when the ball hit the back of the net which I found odd, did make his way over though.