After visiting the likes of Barrow, Macclesfield and Northwich over the past few seasons, the chance to visit Elland Road, home of Leeds United was not one I was going to turn down!
After dispatching (all be it on penalties) Bournemouth of League One in the first round of the League Cup, we deserved the chance of a tie at one of the bigger clubs in the competition. Many injuries in the squad meant first year professional Tyrone Marsh and youth teamers Sam Long and Dave Lynn all travelled with the squad with Marsh and Lynn taking their place on the substitutes bench.
As is often the case with an OUFC away day, there was some sort of game taking place amongst the U's fans in the away section. This time it was "guess who the new bloke is warming up with the fitness coach" as a figure no-one recognised arrived late to the pre-match warmup and spent time with Alisdair Lane on his own. It emerged that this mystery figure was infact Daniel Boateng, a young centre-back signed on loan from Arsenal just a matter of hours earlier and who had only arrived at Elland Road at 7pm having driven up from Oxford. Still he made his debut as an 87th minute substitute and had time to shove a couple of Leeds players off the ball. Talking of shoving Leeds players, Adam Chapman took El-Hadji Diouf out within 5 minutes of the game kicking off! Chappers lined his man up from about 20 yards away and connected with a sliding challenge that sent Diouf flying into the air. Chapman was probably doing what most footballers and fans have always dreamt of doing but it was a stupid foul in a dangerous position but thankfully didn't prove costly.
As the title of the posts suggests, we more than matched Leeds for the first 20 minutes. Chapman and Heslop were controlling the midfield and both Alfie Potter and Sean Rigg looked threatening out wide. For all the possession though, we created very little, just a few potshots from 25 yards that didn't threaten the Leeds keeper. Ironically, it was a 25 yard shot that gave Leeds the lead, Austin beating Clarke with a low drive. It was an annoying goal to concede as Leeds had done nothing up until that point. The second goal when it came was far from annoying, infact it was absolutely top class. Ex Joseph Rowntree School (like myself) pupil Sam Byram skipped past Sean McGinty and Jake Wright before chipping Ryan Clarke. The game was over as a contest from that point. Oxford tried as hard as they could to get back into the game, Constable tested Ashdown and a few crosses were cleared but there was no real threat from the Yellows. Leeds added to their lead in the 75th minute, Tom Lees heading home an incredibly easy goal for the hosts to score. Well beaten but not thrashed, I was proud of the boys for giving it a real go and of the fans for staying right until the end to give the team a well deserved ovation.
We move onto York on Saturday, a tough place to go and I'll be happy with a point!
My match report from the Leeds game can be found here
and a chat with a York fan ahead of Saturday here