An improved performance in an enjoyable League Cup game saw us progress into the last SpeedLeeds16 thanks to some decent performances from the fringe players and a welcome return to goalscoring form for Papiss Cisse.

Backed by a noisy 6,000 travelling fans, Leeds almost took the lead within the first five minutes and it would have been an absolute pearler, with McCormack advancing forward and attempting a chip from 20 yards which beat Krul only to come back off the bar. Both sets of fans stood to applaud Gary Speed on the 11th minute in a heartwarming tribute and the tempo of the game remained as lively as the crowd.  We were equally lively in the opening exchanges though and Cisse had a couple of half decent chances, but couldn’t find the target or in the case of an air-shot in front of goal, the ball itself.

Leeds looked dangerous going forward for large spells of the half and clubs have obviously sussed out that any balls over the top have us all over the show and a ball played over Debuchy caught him out and led to a cross evading Coloccini and landing to Smith who thankfully fluffed his lines, presumably not expecting the ball to land to him.  It was Newcastle who took the lead on the half hour through a tremendously worked goal. Dummett, who had a very encouraging game, played a lovely ball down the line to Sammy and he whipped over a fantastic cross which Cisse planted past the keeper – great header, great cross, great move.  We didn’t really hammer the advantage home though and Leeds threatened again before the break with the match still up for grabs.

We celebrated the lead by continuing our tradition of enjoying a cup of tea with a couple of Tramadol in the dressing room judging by the familiar lethargic start to the second half and for the first twenty minutes, Leeds had the majority of the possession and looked by far the most likely to notch the next goal, heading narrowly wide with their best chance.  However, we regained our composure and wrapped the game up with just over twenty minutes to go.  Again, Sammy was the architect, slipping a ball into Gouffran on the edge of the 18 yard box but he still had a lot of work to do.  The Frenchman swivelled and cracked home an absolute beauty beating Kenny all ends up and securing the victory for us – pity he can’t do that from a yard out but it was a lovely strike.

With the game wrapped up, Pardew took Cisse off to a standing ovation and he had looked livelier all night, to be replaced by Obertan.  The ‘enigmatic’ Frenchman had two good chances to extend the lead, both times played in on goal and both times showing signs of his pace to outpace the defence and also signs of his utter fuckwittedness in front of goal, putting both efforts straight into the body of Kenny.  Leeds never really threatened to get back into it and we comfortably held on for the victory.

There was a lot to like about tonight.  Sammy had possibly his best game for us, Dummett hasn’t had a bad game since he’s been asked to step up and of course Cisse has got the goal we have been desperately willing him to score, hopefully boosting his confidence no end.  Despite the ground being far from full, the match felt like a proper cup tie as well, helped no end by the fantastic travelling support.  They’re still twats like.

We’ll not get carried away mind, at the end of the day they are a mid-table second division side and as such you’d expect to beat them and although it’s a home draw, Man City in the next round will be a different proposition.

Keep the Faith

Newcastle United – Tim Krul 7, Mathieu Debuchy 6, Fabricio Coloccini 7, Mike Williamson 6, Paul Dummett 8, Sylvain Marveaux 4, Chieck Tiote 6, Vurnon Anita 7 (Dan Gosling n/a), SAMMY AMEOBI 8, Yohan Gouffran 7, Papiss Cisse 7 (Gabriel Obertan 6)

Ref – Jones – 7 – Minus one for the ridiculous purple blouse he was wearing

Our Fans – 7 – Minus one for singing ‘Shall we sing a song for you’ late in the game when they had been out-sung all game.  I don’t think it was irony anyway.

Their Fans – 9 – Minus one for being Leeds, otherwise as good an away following as we have seen at SJP in recent years

GARETH HARRISON

Follow Gareth on Twitter    TF_INITIALS_LOGO