It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Worst of Times, for Leeds Starlet Cook   –   by Rob Atkinson

For any lad that grows up supporting his local club, nursing the dream of one day turning out in that sacred shirt – and who actually makes that dream come true – there can be no sweeter moment than that precious first goal for the team he loves. Tonight, in the humble surroundings of Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium, that longed-for moment arrived for Lewis Cook, when he stabbed home a rebound of the Donny ‘keeper to notch his first senior goal for Leeds United.

Sadly, the fairytale would have no happy ending. Leeds had already been pegged back thanks to Scott Wootton‘s agricultural challenge in the United area, leading to a Rovers penalty that stand-in guardian Ross Turnbull narrowly failed to save. And then came Cook’s moment of misery to erase his earlier joy. Surging down the right on a mazy run, the youngster took a slightly heavy touch, overstretched in his attempt to keep possession – and walked for a resulting foul that looked even worse than it was. Thanks to that mad moment, it would be ten-man Leeds for the rest of the piece, and a Yorkshire derby cup tie was ruined as a spectacle. 

The Doncaster fans in the crowd, eager to see the home team compass the demise of local favourites Leeds, were suitably encouraged and filled with hope – but for the remainder of ninety minutes plus extra time, Rovers showed no real sign of being able to dispatch their numerically weakened opponents. Indeed, for much of the rest of the tie, it was Leeds looking marginally more effective going forward. But in what became a war of attrition, neither side was able to land the telling blow, and the game trudged its inevitable way to deadlock and the dreaded shoot-out.

Ironically, Leeds’ two eventual lottery losers were the second half substitutes who had done most to rekindle some hope among the Leeds faithful that United could yet emerge winners. Chris Wood and Sam Byram had given an extra dimension to United’s stubborn rearguard action, and both showed plenty going forward to suggest how vital they will be in the season ahead. But their two penalties in the shootout – Byram’s only mildly awful, but Woods’ truly abysmal – cost Leeds a real chance of victory,  an unlikely chance that had been so ruggedly earned in the ten-man struggle following Cook’s first-half indiscretion.

So, Leeds are out of this competition again, to lower league opposition again, with ten men after having taken the lead, again – and in another derby as last season’s farce in Bradford was reprised only a little less farcically in Doncaster. And, really, what the hell. We were no more likely to win the League Cup than Rovers are now.

Few United fans will mourn such an early exit. It was not the defeat that rankled, more the manner of it. Another long struggle with ten men, with energy cruelly sapped ahead of a far more important game at the weekend. Head Coach Uwe Rösler had spoken prior to the match of taking the game to Rovers, an approach that is “in our DNA”. Fair enough, but it is the suicidal part of United’s genetic makeup that needs to be addressed, that fatal tendency to give away daft penalties and lose players to red cards through rash tackles. Herr Rösler has his work cut out to eliminate such innate, self-destructive traits. 

After the dust has settled on a night to forget, we must spare a thought for young Lewis Cook, for whom a magical moment, eagerly awaited for literally all his life, was so swiftly eclipsed by a rash and reckless lunge he’ll long regret. Fortunately, there is ample time and opportunity for redemption where one of United’s brightest prospects is concerned.

Lewis Cook undeniably has the talent and character that ensures he can and will bounce back, to forget tonight’s temporary woe and enjoy many more of the best of times, in the Leeds shirt he promises – transfer follies permitting – to grace for many years to come. 

5 responses to “It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Worst of Times, for Leeds Starlet Cook   –   by Rob Atkinson

  1. chris moore

    the game was lost when Wootton gave away the penalty..the game was an uphill struggle then when Cook got sent off..anyway,Rosler needs to make sure his side keep their discipline no matter their Age. Cook is young but he is playing,it means he has to be more careful..but never mind that,i was more annoyed with Wootton.if he cannot Tackle, he fouls the opponent.too many of this sort of thing from him.. I hope we don’t play him again only use him as a sub,that where he belongs..get a Real center half in to balance the partner Bamba…before we start leaking more goals again..


  2. We need to learn how to pass,too many players giving the ball away to easily even before the penalty and sending off. We still aren’t creating that many chances average 4 last season and again tonight.

    Best overheard quote from the man behind in the east side last year.

    “Go whoots ” he exclaimed i laughed inwardly.

    this year i agree!!!!!! rubbish.


  3. Bloody hate the post match rose tinted spin taking positives out of a piss poor performance just wish rosler said Sorry that wasnt good enough


  4. Funniest thing I’ve seen all day today has been the “Dave Hockaday Column” (find on Newsnow). The “Swindon Town legend” holds forth on Nicky Ajose, cup exits and shows his shaman-like knowledge of the game by revealing that Bradford City and his beloved Robins had played “in a game of literally two-halves”. Wow, no wonder Massimo parted with big cash to secure Dave’s formidable insight.
    The Hock is even pictured in Leeds shirt, waiting in the technical area for the sack at Millwall (during a game of two halves, literally).


  5. sniffersshorts v superwoman

    explain to me our penalty policy ….. Ive seen under ten year olds do better, I am sure woods dug his heel into the spot before converting , Rhinos take note … although Wooton played his socks off, not his position he was a liability lashing out before penalty …. however Belushi was solid and he plays for the shirt he aint pretty , and defo has Mafia roots … missed the forage of Adeyemi and a starter for ten please Bamba. it was a scrap and Rosler will come under complaints from some but he set up against a scrapping Donny. Will Rotation work for us , to early to tell .Lewis I forgive that tackle on replay was not that bad two feet up and a defender rolling around like a tart. Hate that part of football, get F up and get on with it …. two games in two draws …. as you say Lottery penalties , still if it had gone our way we would be rejoicing ….. roll on the weekend and the better spirit we had with Burnley please.


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