There's one thing you can always be certain of as a Leeds fan, no two games are ever the same and as we boarded the coach bound for Pride Park, none of us could call what the score was going to be, even though we were going on the back of three great wins in three.
Team news began to filter through as we pulled up at the ground and we heard that loan signing, Jerome Thomas wasn't included in the squad due to a hamstring injury. Immediately I was concerned, mainly because he has had a big impact since he signed. The reason we've been playing some good football is because we've had pace on the wings with Byram and Green on one, and Thomas on the other, we've been able to get the ball forward and score goals.
Hall stepped up to take Thomas' place in the otherwise unchanged starting 11.
Inside the ground, pre-match, Derby were playing what was a frankly embarrassing build up video, it wasn't quite on par with the embarrassing one at the KC Stadium, but it was almost there. Then....A siren sounded....Was it the fire alarm maybe?! An emergency announcement!? No, It was Derby's 2 minute warning that the players were in the tunnel, que more embarrassing music and 'Rammy' the team mascot dancing in front of the home fans, met with chants of, 'what the f*cking hell is that' from us.
Thankfully the teams entered the field and the pre-match tackiness was over, that was until, we all heard the sound of a team that cant make their own atmosphere began, yes, that's right, they had a drum.
We didn't begin the match brightly at all and the first real opportunity for us came in the 4th minute of play when Luciano Becchio chased a ball downfield, the Derby keeper, Legzdins was also going for the ball and got there just before Becchio could, from where we were, it looked like he may have handled it just outside the area, however it wasn't given and play continued.
Derby's first goal came from a well taken free kick after Tonge fouled Theo Robinson. Derby youngster Will Hugues passed the ball in acres of space to Conor Sammon who was being marked by Lee Peltier. Peltier lost his man entirely and Sammon slotted the ball past Paddy Kenny with far too much ease on the 16th minute. I don't know what annoyed me more, the way we conceded or the goal music. Either way, I wasn't happy.
Derby were playing a fast style of football that we were so far struggling to deal with, they knew exactly how to break us down. Our midfield wasn't dealing with their quick pass and go style of football and every time we had possession, Derby closed us down with ease.
Despite all this, we did manage to equalise just before half time. Ryan Hall sent a great ball into the box, Becchio headed to Paul Green who was in a good position to put it past Legzdins. We were still in the game as the referee blew for half time.
We came out firing in the opening minutes of the second half, Ross McCormack had a shot on target saved in the first 15 seconds.
Theo Robinson reacted well and cleared a shot of Ryan Hall's off of the line, that would have otherwise seen us go into the lead on the 52nd minute after some great build up play.
Derby looked shell shocked but soon re-organised their team and changed their tactics from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-2-1 with Sammon playing as the lone striker.
On the 66th minute, came a corner from the home side, after Tom Lees headed a Theo Robinson shot over the bar. Jacobs crossed the ball into the box after the corner and Becchio cleared it away from the goal, however a completely unmarked Richard Keogh retrieved the ball and shot at goal, Jake Buxton got the final touch and put the ball past Kenny to go into the lead. Almost immediately, Neil Warnock brought on Luke Varney in place of Ryan Hall.
Warnock changed the side again on the 74th minute, bringing on El-Hadji Diouf for McCormack, who, by his standards, had been pretty inaffective. Diouf had an almost immediate positive effect on our game and we almost equalised on the 77th minute when Diouf crossed the ball into the area where Tom Lees headed goalwards, agony though, as it smashed against the post and Derby cleared the ball away from danger.
We made our last substitution on the 79th minute and Norris was taken off for Aiden White. Becchio brought a long ball down from Peltier to Diouf shortly after, who tried his luck on goal from outside the area but it was just off target.
Our efforts to equalise were in vain however, as in the last minute of injury time Ben Davies scored a goal from just outside the penalty area.
The referee blew for full time and our first loss in three was confirmed.
Ipswich next up at Elland Road, who seem to be on a bit of a run of late under new manager Mick McCarthy following the sacking of Paul Jewell.
MOT xx <3 xx