If you remember, ROSS BELL has taken Leeds United to the brink of the Premier League. With the anxiety-soaked sweat dripping from his forehead and onto his keyboard, only Wigan Athletic stand in his way of clearing his first major managerial hurdle…
It’s all come down to this; one game for all the Championship marbles. Wigan vs. Leeds, FA Cup legend Dave Whelan (he broke his leg, you know) vs. Massimo Cellino, Keith Millen vs. Ross Bell.
Wigan are already relegated, that much we know. Nothing they do today will change that. Life in League 1 waits for them yet again. For us, however, and more importantly for the purposes of this save, nothing less than a win will do. I need not remind you that a win here coupled with a Derby loss sees us go up as Champions. We could finish as low as 4th if things go disastrously wrong here.
After selling first choice left-back Charlie Taylor in January, we have been using Gaetano Berardi in that role and he has done a bang-up job up to this point. He is a big fan if a yellow card; that big of a fan in fact that he is suspended for our most important game of the season. Filling in for him for the final game of the season is youngster Tyler Denton who had to be recalled from his loan spell at Millwall two days before the game.
Other than that we are at full strength playing a 4-3-1-2 formation that has served us well throughout the season.
I did intend to give you a break down of the action throughout the game but frankly, the first 45 minutes passed without a single highlight. I have it set to only show key highlights. Rather than play it cool at half time, I gave the lads a right bollocking as this scoreline is simply unacceptable in the circumstances. Thankfully, they agreed and take the full force hairdryer method in good grace. Heading out for the second half fired up and determined, we immediately create two chances that half time substitute Kemar Roofe proceeds to miss. I decided to bring on January signing Kevin McDonald in the 73rd minute to try and open up the defence, but while he is stood on the sidelines waiting to enter the fray, club caption Liam Bridcutt bursts into the box and is taken down.
PENALTY TO LEEDS!
Up steps talisman Chris Wood with undoubtedly the most important strike of a football in his whole career.
In case you didn’t just watch that, HE SCORED! Tucked away with the calmest of finishes to put us a goal up with 15 minutes to play.
And with that the action ended, not even a whimper from Wigan as we controlled the rest of the game with no difficulty and did what we needed to do. But what of Derby though? They needed to lose for us to claim the title. They to were playing an even poorer team in also-relegated Rotherham (24th) on the final day. Would our Yorkshire “rivals” do us a favour? Turns out they only bloody do, coming away 3-2 winners and sending Derby County into second place.
Leeds United, Champions of England’s second tier and back in the big time! My season review and Premier League preview is coming up in the next post so keep an eye out for that. WACCOE!
ROSS BELL – @RossBell1984