ROBIN HOOD ATHLETIC 3 LEEDS CITY 1
By Matt Wright
Leeds City were the visitors to the Coach Ground on Saturday in a mouth watering league clash.
Possibly my favourite team to watch and a club who play football the correct way. A possession based playing style. One of the league favourites and rightly so.
We were facing a mini injury/unavailability crisis at the club this week. Players half fit but kitting up and the loss of important players due to holidays. Out of the team today was Joey Ritson, Lewis Richardson, Luka and Josh Corbett with Richard Coupe, Harold The helicopter and Chris Coupe replacing them with Danny Bridges and Corey joining Declan Parker on the bench.
A clear message to the players, hold your shape, don’t get bored of defending well and break with pace.
The game started in a typical way, Leeds getting hold of the ball and plenty of possession moving the ball looking to find an opening. The ability on and off the ball was there to see but a great deal of discipline was held by my Robin Hood players keeping the shape well. For the first 10 minutes it was a case of hold the shape pinch the ball and attack with pace, and that we did. Some great interplay down the right hand side created 1 or 2 openings but the quality was short at the vital moment. The first and best opportunity of the opening 20 minutes occurred when we broke with pace down the left, where Mr consistent Paul Mitchell was in an advanced position pulling it back across the edge of the box for Dale Pickering. Dez displayed great technique and only for an outstanding save by the keeper touching it wide prevented us making the first mark. Leeds not to be fazed, came back with typical pressure built around speed of use of the ball. A delicate ball over the top was found by a the fwd who headed goal wards, but Alex Cottrell was alert to make a tremendous save. 20-35 minutes we dropped the tempo and whilst defending well we were much slower and were finding the pace hard. To our Credit though John Tunney Matthew Gould and Chris Coupe worked incredibly hard in our engine room to stop Leeds making that killer blow. To our frustration from a cheap corner, the Leeds skipper found a free header to nod home 1-0.
We responded in the right way though and a James Finlayson free kick from 35 yards was spilt and Dale Pickering poked the ball goal-wards which appeared to cross the line before been cleared. A big call from the linesman and one on reflection talking to players of both teams after the game he may have got wrong. Just before the half we had 3 great chances through Jamie Lister and James Finlayson who were looking lively in their combination but no goals as a result.
At HT we spoke about not been so down, we had created the better chances as despite them having a lot of the ball we looked good and well in this game. A few things mentioned for the players to take on board…. but most of all we could win this!!!
Despite a slow 5/10 minutes where both teams sized each other up we really stepped up the tempo. We looked sharper in attack and we were playing 10 yards further forward. Our equaliser came from a fine move down the left where again, Paul Mitchell was in an advanced position to find Jamie Lister, who superbly found the bottom corner. 1-1 and deservingly so! Declan Parker came on for an injured Tunney who again had played through the pain barrier for me and played to his usual high standard. Chris Coupe was replaced by Danny Bridges, and coupes had really played his part in a high energetic display, neutralising the midfield anchor. An instant impact as the two replacements combined from a free kick as a great ball from Dec was met by Olè Gunner Bridges to volley home. 2-1 and yes we did deserve it. To put the cherry on the cake just before Corey came on for an injury to James Finlayson, a bridges Flick on was ran onto by Jinky who’s first touch was tremendous and he then lifted it 1v1 over the keeper… 3-1.
Corey came on with 10 left to freshen up the midfield and he contributed in restricting Leeds to minimal chances. The game finished and a fantastic 3-1 result was achieved by the lads.
The Leeds City Manager was complimentary about our display which was humbling to hear.
Everyone played their part today, our defence and Alex were solid, our midfield worked incredibly hard and our fwds took their chances when they came. Tactically we were spot on and didn’t deviate from the game plan. Tunney and Widgey both played carrying but as every were top draw, rich came in after a 2 week Holiday and Harold the helicopter was a clear MOM a performance beyond his years.
Ultimately a day where how we played off the ball would have more of barring on the result really came to fruition.
Good luck to Leeds, a tremendous team full of talent.
We move on to Sherburn White Rose at home next week looking to back up this great performance.
Current league table, up to and including 25/9/17