The ACN Match Review – Leeds (a)


A result that struck doubly deep into our fragile hearts. Once again, Nick Hayhoe dons the black beret and sparks up a Gitane to ponder the existential wound.

The line-up

‘Balance’ is one of those great words you can use in conversation about football if, like me, you don’t really know anything about football tactics and want to sound like you know what you’re talking about. So, with this in mind on Saturday, I believed we had found ‘good balance’ with the starting XI replicated with the line-up tonight. At least until substitutions happened and we became progressively more ‘unbalanced’ to the point where our goalkeeper was literally playing up front. Which is the exact opposite of ‘balanced’, really .

The atmosphere

Not much to report here because I wasn’t, physically, at the match. All I can say is that the We All Love Leeds chant is the auditory equivalent of seasickness when on a cross-channel ferry in bad weather.

Hurrah moment

I’m not a greedy man. All I ask is: make me feel when upon death that being City Til I Die wasn’t a total waste of time, through one of the following: an away day in a European competition (lol), an FA Cup semi-final, or a Norwich goalkeeper scoring a last-minute winner or equaliser.

So hurrah for Angus Gunn deciding to play as a centre forward in the dying embers of the game. Got nowhere near the ball of course, but it was automatically placed in the top five moments of the season for me, Clive. One day it will happen. One day.

Booooo moment

The goal was one of those irritating goals that seemed to occur in slow motion after several failed clearances, and the player tucking it home seems embarrassed to score it during the actual action of putting the ball in the net. It undid all the previous and future good, hard work against a side who, for my shilling, are by a significant distance the best side in the division, on paper. Rowe also spurned the unspurnable right on the stroke of half-time, which meant someone, somewhere. was writing on a wall that it wasn’t to be our night .

Oh, and special mention for the most frustrating stoppage time in history where the ball was in play for about 30 seconds over the course of eight minutes in what was NFL levels of start stop. Clearly all that great work of trying to reduce timewasting at the beginning of the season has been chucked in the bin after UEFA’s whining. Please for the love of god. Ban. Stoppage. Time. Substitutions.

Hero of the match

Had to check the stats over on FotMob for this one as, even though as a whole it was an okay performance, I literally can’t think of any decent individual performances. 

They reckon Duffy was our best player. And who knows, maybe he was? Asking who our best player was in that game is one of those unanswerable, paradoxical, questions, such as “what’s the sound of one hand clapping?,” “if a tree falls in a forest and no one’s there to hear it, does it make a sound?,” or “who won the UEFA Cup in the 1980-81 season?”

Our post-match takeaway

So all roads led to this. To the place where the man who still looms over us like a cumulonimbus is now weaving and working his metaphysical magic. Leeds supporters embracing him as theirs and singing our old songs. It’s rough folks. It is rough. 

Yet a small, near-depleted, Norwich City-shaped space in my brain was ever so slightly refilled from an undeniably positive Saturday afternoon at Carrow Road.

But, such is the fickle nature of this Norwich City side, it is up against the old gaffer that we once again wobble just as we just about got our balance on the tightrope. Leed’s riches of talent were, of course, clear to see. It took the game in terms of the actual goals scored and the actual three points given.

But it was the Farkeball high press and passing that was the gutpunch here. The bees swarmed upon every Norwich defender or slight miscontrol and Leed’s opener came from Norwich’s daliances gifting the ball back. It causes the longing sigh, that ghostlike imprint still visible like monitor burn at Carrow Road (albeit, viewed somewhat through the lens of longing) but now replicated in the flesh at, of all places, the Damned United. And this hurts. It aches. It makes me wonder, will it ever be possible to let it go?

That’s when all the trouble began. That Farkeball. That god damn Farkeball.


  1. David Fraser says:

    I’m 100% behind banning stoppage time substitutes. My family has all been saying for years that subs should not be allowed after 85 minutes other than for injury. Which manager believes that it is time wasting? The officials add on more time than it actually takes so counter productive. AND, you bring on players who are not up to match speed so more likely to make mistakes and potentially gift points to the opposition.

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