30 min: Patrick Bamford, who’s been a little too keen on the amateur dramatics recently, takes a tumble in the Derby area with Keogh in close attendance. The Leeds fans scream for a penalty, claiming that Keogh fouled the striker, but Anthony Taylor can only see a spot of simulation from Bamford. He’s booked for diving. There really wasn’t enough contact to justify the fall from Bamford, who’s in danger of earning himself a reputation for cheating.
29 min: Leeds can smell blood. They swarm all over Derby when the visitors attempt to play out from the back. Lampard’s side lose possession, allowing Leeds to attack again, and the hosts are unlucky not to score again, Klich’s swept drive from 25 yards taking a deflection and bouncing back off the inside of the right post! Bamford goes for the rebound but it’s headed behind for a corner.
26 min: Mount’s free-kick drifts behind for a goal-kick. Derby are rattled. The volume has increased again. The home fans have rediscovered their voice following Dallas’s goal. Elland Road is bouncing.
25 min: Phillips, perhaps a little too excited, flies into a challenge on Lawrence and picks up a booking. He can’t complain.
A free-kick to Leeds on the left. Phillips, influential already, swings it in with his right foot and his fine delivery finds Derby in a horrible mess. The ball heads towards the far post, possibly via a glancing header from the unchallenged Cooper, and bounces back off the woodwork. Still no one in navy is minded to react, so all that’s left is for Stuart Dallas to puncture the tension by prodding home from close range.
GOAL! Leeds United 1-0 Derby County (Dallas, 24 min; 2-0 agg)
Leeds edge closer to Wembley!
20 min: It’s heating up now! This is ridiculous from all parties. On the right Hernandez goes to take a quick throw. Malone, however, decides to stop the Leeds winger from doing so, knocking the ball away from the Spaniard. Hernandez is less than impressed. From the turf he juts up and sends his head into Malone’s midriff. Oh dear. Malone’s booked. Hernandez sees yellow as well. Then Tom Lawrence comes over to bellow at the referee, who responds by booking the Derby man for dissent. Grown men, the lot of them, and they could all do with growing up.
18 min: Jack Marriott is warming up eagerly on the touchline. There’s a suggestion Mason Bennett might have picked up a knock. Derby are already without Martyn Waghorn, which is less than ideal.
15 min: Leeds combine down the right, beating Derby’s press. Klich finds space and lifts a clever cross into the middle. Ayling, forward from right-back, scissor kicks an awkward volley miles over.
14 min: Derby have succeeded in quietening the crowd a little. Which must count as a minor victory.
11 min: Derby continue to probe, Bogle skipping round Harrison and trying to cross from the right. Eventually he wins a corner. Leeds are struggling to cope with Derby’s system, though Cooper heads the corner away from Keogh.
8 min: Derby put Leeds under more pressure at the back, with Bennett gambolling into the area and trying to find a team-mate in the middle. Leeds work it out.
7 min: Mount’s free-kick is deflected over for a corner to Derby, which comes to nothing. Leeds escape. Derby easily could have levelled the tie because of that mix-up.
6 min: Phillips swings the free-kick in from the right. Derby can’t get it clear properly. They’re under pressure in the air, but roos eventually collects a miscued volley from Ayling. Then he boots the ball clear and Leeds get themselves into a horrible mess at the back. Lawrence makes a nuisance of himself and the ball breaks to Wilson, with Casilla stranded outside his own area. Under pressure from Berardi, Wilson sidefoots over the empty net from 25 yards – but Anthony Taylor awards Derby a free-kick for Berardi’s heavy challenge on Wilson!
5 min: Patrick Bamford, banned in the first leg, makes something out of nothing on the right, winning a high ball and charging into space, leaving Tomori gasping. Bamford cuts inside, but he’s clipped to the right of the area by Tomori, who picks up an early booking.
3 min: Derby are playing a diamond, which the Sky commentators are calling a tactical surprise from Frank Lampard. But is it? Wouldn’t Marcelo Bielsa already have known?
2 min: The next 10 minutes will focus on the noise.
Peep! Leeds, all in white and kicking from right to left in the first half, get the game underway. Derby are in navy. It is loud. The players must barely be able to hear themselves think. This is going to be a big test of Derby’s nerve.
Here they come, walking out into the late evening sunshine! It’s noisy. This could be a cracker.
The players will be out soon. At the moment the camera is panning round Elland Road, which is rocking. The home fans are up for this. Could be quite the din. How will Derby cope?
“I know what Frank meant about having to fight,” Andrew Howse says. “I just hope Keogh, Tomori and Klich don’t take him as literally as they did in the first leg. Could be 9-a-side in the second half.”
Frank Lampard speaks! “It was an even match of the weekend. We’re one goal dow. The players have to give everything on the pitch. The players have to fight. We want to start well. Because we’re one down we don’t want to concede any more. But it’s 90 minutes and maybe more, as last night showed.”
Leeds: Casilla; Ayling, Berardi, Cooper, Dallas; Phillips; Hernandez, Shackleton, Klich, Harrison; Bamford. Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Brown, Jansson, Strulik, Clarke, Gotts, Bogusz.
Derby: Roos; Bogle, Keogh, Tomori, Malone; Johnson, Holmes, Wilson, Mount, Lawrence; Bennett. Subs: Carson, Jozefzoon, Marriott, Evans, Cole, Knight, Huddlestone.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.
A 1-0 aggregate lead in a two-legged tie? Pah. That’s nothing these days, as we witnessed in the Champions League last week. You want at least a 4-0 lead now. Anything less invites disaster. One-nil? One-nil is nothing.
Not that Marcelo Bielsa needs me to tell him not to take anything for granted. The Leeds United manager, who has a game on in the background while I type these words, is the ultimate football nerd and will be all too aware that this Championship play-off semi-final is far from over. Leeds might hold the advantage over Frank Lampard’s Derby County, who are managed by Frank Lampard, but it could yet be a dramatic evening at Elland Road. Good luck if you’re feeling confident with your predictions.
Mind you, there’s every chance that the Leeds fans will be belting out their Spygate-inspired chant about Derby manager come full-time. Bielsa’s side might have blown automatic promotion, but they remain a nifty outfit and have beaten Derby in all three of their meetings this season (helped, no doubt, by those surreptitious scouting sessions). “Stop crying Frank Lampard,” was the taunt from the away end during last Saturday’s first leg and it’s bound to get a few airings here. The potential for bantz is high.
Derby, who only made it into the play-offs on the final day, will be determined to have the last laugh. They won’t want to be anyone’s punchline, not with so much spice in the air, and you never know, anything could happen if they throw caution to the wind, go for broke and find a Lucas Moura in their ranks. All available logic indicates that it should be Leeds who march on to a final against Aston Villa (a repeat of the 1996 League Cup final? Yes please!). After recent events, however, you’d be a fool to think this is done and dusted.
Kick-off: 7.45pm BST.