Game 12: Saturday 25 October 1997
Wimbledon 1 - 0 Leeds United
(Half-time: 1 - 0)
Referee: G P Barber (Pyrford)
|« Newcastle United
|Tottenham Hotspur »
|Martyn, Robertson, Haaland, Radebe, Wetherall, Wallace, Ribeiro, Bowyer, Hopkin (Lilley 79), Halle (Maybury 58), Kewell
|Beeney, Jackson, Molenaar
|Sullivan, Jones, Blackwell, Thatcher, Earle, Ekoku, Perry, Hughes, Ardley, Jupp, Cort (Gayle 80)
|Heald, McAllister, Castledine, Clarke
|Ardley 29 pen
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers
|Staring at the Sun
|First match in six years...
|Wimbledon game ramblings
|Hopkin suffers hiccups
|Graham dives into penalty dispute
|The Sunday Times
|Ardley spot on for the spoils
|The Electronic Telegraph
|Ardley a noise in the library
|Links to Reports on the net
|Soccernet match report
|Carlingnet match report
A stream of listers arrived, interspersed with the occaisonal police officer, rumour had it they were looking for Mr Woodmansey :-)
Got to the ground to see a queue the length of the Arthur Wait Stand of Leeds fans waiting for tickets. Kick Off was delayed for fifteen minutes due to the congestion, now how often has that happened for a Wimbledon home game ? The delay prompted a series of "Whats it like to see a crowd" chants, and I took advantage of the delay to try a Selhurst burger, following last seasons bad experience of the Selhurst Hotdog, my life was truly in my hands, but I seem to have survived.
The game finally got going, and we all spent the next 90 minutes taking part in a bizarre synchronised eye shielding movement, ball goes to our left, up goes the right hand to shield the sun, ball goes down the other end change hands, all match !
The first third of the match seemed to be going Leeds' way with Wallace, Wetherall, Hopkin, Ribeiro and Kewell all having chances. Wimbledon hustled Leeds off the ball and a number of dodgy challenges went unpunished by the ref. Yet when Leeds committed the same offences they were penalised.
Wetheralls missed header in the first half was a screamer, how it didn't go in I don't know, he paid the price for his bravery when diving to meet the ball, landing on the deck he was down for a good couple of minutes, and I certainly feared that we were going to lose him. Happily he got back up again and rejoined the game, so we didn't see Molenaar on the pitch.
There was no way that the Wimbledon penalty should have been awarded. Hughes was under pressure from Hopkin in the box, so decided to fall over, well actually fall over is not the truth, he performed a neat swallow dive with triple selko and flip - B*stard !
Ardley stepped up, once the whole of the Leeds team had stopped protesting the decision and sent Nigel the wrong way, one - nil.
Shortly after the penalty John Brauns received a phone call from Betty, prompting cries of "John Boocock is a Wanker", and "Betty give us a song" from the assembled listees.
The rest of first half was pretty scrappy really, Leeds appeared to resort to the long ball, got hacked by Wimbledon, the ref didn't see it and it all started again. The only times the ref seemed to give a decision Leeds' way was when he'd have been best leaving us to play the advantage, but oh no, the whistle went, and play had to come back from at least the half way line to our penalty area for Nigel to pump a long free kick up pitch which usually ended up being a Wimbledon ball.
Half time came, and a very half hearted WATC-COE finally got going thanks to Row 6, and Mike and John further back from us.
The second half started with more of the same that we witnessed at the end of the first. Hopeful punts up field to no one, Leeds players being hustled off the ball, and crap refereeing decisions.
About fifteen minutes into the half Halle went off and Alan Maybury made a first team start.
10 minutes from the end, Hopkin left the field and Lilley made an appearance, the announcer pronounced him as 'Lie-Lee', which prompted chants of "We all agree Lie-Lee is better than Lilley" and "There's only one Derek Lie-Lee".
Towards the end of the game Leeds started to look threatening again, and David Robertson (yes him) was unlucky with a beautiful shot from outside the area that just rose above the top right hand corner at the last moment.
But it was never really going to happen. After that spell in the first half when Wetheralls header went wide, and Hopkin hit the post it was one of those days when we just weren't going to score.
Overall I think that we at least deserved a draw, and after the first 20 minutes or so I thought we were on track for another win. Here's hoping for next week.
Scores on the doors
Martyn 6 - Sent the wrong way for the
penalty that should never have been. Looked lost a couple of times,
but the rest of the game was never really troubled.
Halle 7 - Steady game, Was in space going forward alot, but never received the ball for his efforts.
(Subbed for Maybury 6 - Quiet apppearance, didn't do too much wrong)
Radebe 9 - This man is truly a God. Perfect interceptions and tackles every time, didn't see him put a foot wrong all game. He surely does deserve his own chant (see below) .
Wetherall 8 - Solid game, threatened in the box on a few set pieces, the blow to his head didn't seem to put him off too much, spent a period of the first half with only one boot on, and went into a coupe of challenges sock first.
Robertson 6 - He's been worse.
Bowyer 5 - He's been better. Whats happened to the boy ? Headless ineffectual chicken mode for a large part of the game.
Hopkin 7 - Battled hard against Vinny in midfield, they spent much of the early part of the game needling each other and I think Vinny won that battle.
(Subbed for Lie-Lee 4 - It was barely worth him putting his boots on really)
Haaland 7 - Ran around alot, and shouted at Bowyer a hell of a lot, err thats about it really.
Ribiero 8 - Good going forward, hard battler going back. I do like this guy.
Kewell 8 - Still tries to beat one man too many, but he's got better since I last saw him at Southampton. Jimmy may have to fight hard for his place back next week.
Wallace 7 - Quieter than usual, I think the rough and tumble Wimbledon tactics put him off the game a bit.
Referee 1 - The worst refereeing that I've seen in a long long time. Appeared to have exercised his option on the Villa in Spain courtesy of Mr Kinnear.
Their crowd 0 - Seemed to have stayed at home
Our Crowd 8 - Lots of 'em there, but were very quiet for periods of the match.
Row 6 9 - I've not enjoyed a game so much for a long long time. By the end of next week against Spurs, Claires "You'll Never Beat Radebe" chant should have really caught on. Gradually through the match it was picked up along our row, and the surrounding area.
Got back to the car after the game to find that one of the cells in the battery had died, and the thing wouldn't start. Called out Green Flag, and while waiting for them to turn up got tooted at by the Leeds Team bus (ok so I had my door open and was blocking their way) They were away from the ground very quickly (5.45) and I got a wave back from Lucas when I gave him the thumbs up as they passed - What a nice man.
It was the longest journey of my life home last night, Green Flag finally turned up and got me started, we went back to the deopot to fit a new battery, and then I proceeded to get lost twice in Croydopn trying to get home, and to cap it all I'd forgotton the code to the car radio so I did the whole journey home in complete silence.
All in all a mixed day.
Looking forward to a better day out next Saturday (at least the cars staying at home this time, although I'm at the mercy of SW Trains).
We were poor mainly because of the inherent long ball game that is indelibly tattooed into the foundations of the club. It appears to matter not who is playing or managing, the long ball will always emerge as favourite.
I would have thought that we'd be good at it by now, but so often passes (not even long ones) went astray or out of play (I think it's known as an unforced error in tennis) Ironically, Wimbledon who used to be tagged a long ball side strung together some short ball "TO FEET!" moves which had our lot running around scratching their heads. So much so, it appeared to rub off on them and they too started to do it (Horror Shriek!) with surprising success, almost looked as though they practised it in training: but then reverted back.........
We had no ideas, no leadership. Mc Alister was always over rated in my view but at least he tried to get things started. No doubt others will offer conflicting reports with the usual "marks out of ten". For me, Radebe looked an anchor man at the back and Kewell looked like he could make things happen and certainly should have from 8 yards, straight at Sullivan. I was another frustrated fan in the Arthur Waite stand but I'm glad we weren't up against Dutch oppo as scum and newscum were midweek.....at this rate, Reading's becoming a nightmare in the making. What this club needs ( and every other) is at least one good prima donna: who cares if they score goals and win games if they miss training on Monday (GG probably) Great team spirit is all very well in the team hotel on a short team break trip to Spain or similar to rest those (oh so weary) bones but it does not win games.
I'll shut up now.
Getting in to the ground was somewhat reminiscent of the 85 match at St. Andrews - except that the plod were actually friendly and helpful (I kid you not!) and good humour had replaced violent tension. Don't listen to excuses such as "traffic conditions" or "local train network" which have been bandied about. The long and short of it was poor organization from the Selhurst Park people (remember that the ground was little more than half full!). Anyway, I found that queuing time was considerably cut by using continental manners and walking straight up to the front of the line ;)
As to the match - a waste of 18 quid, I only hope the Chancellor reaps the benefit of the 100 odd quid I pumped into the economy to go to the game. Inspite of having most of the possession Leeds never really troubled Wimbledon (once they'd sussed that Weatherall was going to miss all the free headers he got from corners anyway) and I swear that we started the second half determined to cling on to our 1-0 deficit (coming from the only goal in the game - Yes Voice it was me who criticised your scripts!).
The players quietened our fans who'd started in fine voice and the odd Wimbledon chant could be heard towards the end of the game. Martyn, Wallace and Radebe show more "class" and confidence than the rest, Kewell has confidence and I think will acquire the class. The rest were at best anonymous, Weatherall probably because of being decked after he missed his first free header (an unmissable one). I don't know if any other lister saw exactly what happenned, I think that the ball must have hit him in the face rather than on the head, which would explain why he missed a gaping net.
Radebe played well by always lifting his head (did anyone else?) and playing the simple ball, though he got us into trouble twice be being too laid back. Martyn looked good stopping some wicked shots - and deflections, but he could perhaps be more adventurous in coming off his line. Poor old Wallace was untroubled by passes to feet and spent the second half in vain aerial battles with the Wimbledon centre halfs.
Robertson and Bowyer vied for the worst-on-the-pitch award, but were beaten by the ref who did his best to make the match even more dire.
As for GG? Well I think we were beaten by poor tactical decisions. You're not going to beat Wimbledon by walking up the middle or by long balls to an unsupported Wallace -the only two options for all but the last few minutes.
Damian (ps we were crap here in 1991 too but we went on to win the league:)
First off, it was never a penalty ... the referee were shite - the Wetherall booking, never penalising them for fouls, actually awarding us a free kick for once when advantage should have been played, etc.
I thought Wimbledon were very poor, creative-wise if nowt else. In fact, the only shot they had of note that I can remember was one in the 2nd half - deflected and high, which caused Martyn a little difficulty.
We had loads of chances on the other hand, namely:
- Wetherall's header in the first
- Hopkin curling the keeper only to hit the post.
- Wetherall also failed to get a clean connection on the ball with his foot and the ball ended up being cleared to the edge of the box where someone else had a go, not very convincingly.
- I remember another Wetherall header going just wide (2nd half I think).
- Kewell shot straight at the keeper in a good position inside the area (I think - one of the posts holding up the stand got in the way! But I was so convinced he'd score from there I didn't care that I couldn't see, I was just getting ready to celebrate).
- And then there was the Kewell cross that Bowyer failed to meet with the goal gaping.
- And right at the end, Robertson cut inside and blasted at goal, a shot with wicked swerve on it and it just went over ...
So, with the dodgy penalty, it was just one of them days, bad luck, we were never gonna score.
- I did get very frustrated with the
long balls to Wallace - this has been mentioned so many times I
know ... IMHO, we seemed to lack the height to cause their defence
enough problems inside the box - only when Wetherall went forward
did I ever think we'd score, either that or a bit of Kewell magic
(or even Rod, who had a quiet game - he was well marked out of
- Bowyer was a more obvious contender to take off.Bowyer had a nightmare of a game.
- I agree, Robertson is absolute shite - he always backs off and didn't offer a lot going forward either.
- We missed Kelly.
But then again, other plus points:
- Kewell looks fucking amazing - he
showed some brilliant pieces of skill at times to fool defenders.
That said, he must have faded a bit towards the end as I was sure
he had been replaced by Lilley (but found out today it was Hopkin
who was - Doh!)
- Alfie ... I dunno yet - didn't really notice him doing a lot, creatively, but he gets stuck in, as do all our midfielders.
- Bruno impressed me with his tackling back, as well as going forward, one 2nd half run I remember being impressive but he blasted his shot well high and over ...
- Radebe was an absolute rock - he didn't put a foot wrong.
- Wetherall was solid too and as I say, IMHO, our most likely goalscorer.
All in all, it was quite a good game apart from the result, certainly better than most games I saw last season! It was weird being at a half empty ground though (still, not a bad atmosphere), and even weirder when you consider the game had been held up 15 mins for "congestion"!
Wish I'd eaten a bit more mind (well anything, basically, all I had before the game was a chicken/ham/mushroom pie!) as the beer went straight to my head, which as I say should be borne in mind when reading the above! (The Ship was a nice and friendly pub, BTW, and it was no more than 5 mins walk from Norwood Junction!!) It especially went to my head after the game ... those who spoke to me in The Rising Sun after may have noticed! Nice to meet some of you though ...
Now none of this is new. But if we all can see it why the f*ck can't the refs or the linesmen. On Saturday, everything they did, just about, was ignored, and any small offense by Leeds punished. If we had tried mixing it in retaliation we would have finished with fewer than 11, I'm sure, and a booking for every remaining member. But refs just let Wimbledon get away with it. WHY???? all it needs is for cards to come out at every opportunity in the first ten or so minutes and things would calm down. If all refs did this, and Wimbledon began to collect the number of bookings and consequent suspensions that they deserve, they would either have to learn to play football, rather than trying to stop others from playing it, or would get relegated. And good riddance too.
So yes, we were not great, but it's hard to be against that load of thugs. Why should they benefit from it every year though? Also it would have helped if we could have hit the target, of course. Row 6 was speculating about the possibility that Robertson played a bit better because this was like being back at home in Jocko-land. The physicals bothered him less than many.
Also _what_ has happened to poor little Lee Bowyer? Several anguished conversations after the match with several listers could come up with no answer to this. He really has gone backwards, and it is a sorry sight. He looked like a lost little kid at times, and there really was no comparison in ability with Ribeiro or Kewell, both of whom play with great confidence and maturity, despite their ages. In fact I was driven to conclude that if anyone knew that there was a 19 year old debutant on the pitch in the second half but didn't know who, they would not have thought it was Mayburry, which is good for him, but sad for Bowyer.
So was it all dreadful? No. As ever the company was pleasant and the beer good, except I didn't get my full set of Adnams pigs .If anyone got one or two and want to donate them, I'll gladly have them. No I'm not going to explain. Good to meet some new listers, one of whom looks like a thin version of Harry Kewell and another a short haired Geordie of OFITN (was that you Andy King??). The 'You'll never beat Radebe' chant (to the tune of the Dorigo chant, obviously) which was beginning to get going. And the unexpected fact that for once the press seem to agree that we woz robbed, and really are the better side (I guess even we aren't as hated as the Dons!) And the fact that we did get Spurs tickets after all.
Leeds and Wimbledon are rubbing shoulders in the nearly-men zone of the Premiership. Yet if one of them are to break into Europe next season on the evidence of this often muddled match, put your euros on Saturday's losers.
Joe Kinnear was in his best told-you-so mood afterwards, giving himself and his Wimbledon players so many pats on the back that he must have grown a third arm. George Graham knows all about the vicissitudes of football justice. But he also knows that in the long term his Leeds are the better bet.
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