Game 24: Saturday 31 January 1998
Crystal Palace 0 - 2 Leeds United
(Half-time: 0 - 2)
Referee: U D Rennie (Sheffield)
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|Leicester City »
|Martyn, Kelly, Robertson, Radebe, Wetherall, Wallace, Hasselbaink (Matthews 86), Ribeiro, Hopkin, Kewell, Molenaar (Haaland 61)
|Bowyer, Beeney, Halle
|Miller, Edworthy, Gordon, Roberts, Linighan, Dyer, Brolin, Bent, Smith, Ismael, Hreidarsson
|Nash, Quinn, Emblen, Boxall, Ginty
|Wallace 7, Hasselbaink 13
|Lee Matthews' makes his debut on the ground where he scored in last year's Youth Cup Final
|Wallace, Radebe, Haaland
|Hreidarsson, Bent, Gordon
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers
|Sing when you're losing - you never sing when you're losing
|Draperstown finest reporting from Palace...
|List Meet Report
|The Sunday Times
|Early strike deepens Palace's home misery
|Noades finds no home comfort in Palace slide
|The Electronic Telegraph
|Battered Brolin stands out for wrong reason
|Links to Reports on the net
|Soccernet match report
|Carlingnet match report
We lined up looking something like
Martyn Kelly Wetherall Molenaar Robertson Radebe (man marking TB) Hopkin Ribeiro Kewell Wallace Jimmy
As it was, the Brolin-baiting got underway from the start, and when an early clash with Bruno left him bleeding from a head wound and he had to leave the field after a lengthy writhe on the turf, it looked like that was all the entertainment we were going to get. He'd barely left the field when a through ball from Kelly found the Palace defence flat-footed as Wallace chased into the area and slotted the ball neatly between Kevin Miller's legs.
The Plonker then managed to get himself booked as - just after the restart, Palace were awarded a free-kick. They tried to take it about 6 yards in front of where the offence took place, Wallace complained, didn't get out of the way and picked up yet another stupid booking.
Brolin came back on with a white bandage wrapped round his head, but before he'd touched the ball again, Jimmy wriggled free of the Palace defence and hit a cracking shot (that may have taken a slight deflection) to make it two.
Another first half highlight was the loss of Brolin's bandage: a well-hit clearance (from Kelly?) smacked him on the side of his ample jowls and left his bandage on the floor.
George's half-time team-talk obviously went something like: "Okay lads, we've got it sewn up - I want you to practice defending under pressure in the second half. Under no circumstances pass the ball to each other when you're attempting a clearance: always try to give it to their defenders on the halfway line - or better still, their midfielders about 25-yards out". Well - that's what it looked like anyway.
Molenaar picked up an injury and looked totally dejected (as well as being injured) as he went off. He's worked hard to get back into the team and played a very solid game today - hopefully he'll continue to do so while Lucas is on national duty - he deserves his chance after performances like this one.
Lee Matthews came on with a couple of minutes to go: he looks like a big, strong player who's still got some filling-out to do, and it would be interesting to see if he could keep up the effort level he showed over 5 minutes if he had to play for 90. Still, to come on and with your first touch flick an excellent ball on to give Wallace a chance and to figure in 3 other attacks is not bad going.
A few other points from the game:-
MOTM: probably Jimmy by a whisker: made an excellent second-half run that took him to the edge of the area before being yanked back by Dean Gordon; the resulting free-kick nearly gave us a third goal as the square ball found Hoppo volleying wide.
Strangely ineffective: Ribeiro - with Robertson getting forward occasionally and Kewell very active on the left wing, Bruno found himself in no-mans-land and didn't see very much of the ball at all.
Pass of the day: Jimmy's 60+ yard clearance from a Palace corner that sent Bruno forward on one of his few visible contributions to the day.
Save of the day: Nige (obviously enough) with an excellent stop of a bullet of a shot, but Miller also made a good save from Wallace near the end.
Miss of the day: Wallace - through on goal with a reasonable amount of time puts it wide; Hoppo - well-worked 1-2 to get into the area past a brain-dead Palace defence only to blast it over the bar; Hoppo again as he & Harry both turned up for a back-post header and placed his unchallenged effort over the bar.
You greedy b*&**!@ Wallace: great work down the wing, cuts inside - Jimmy and Hoppo (?) arriving in the middle unmarked - shoots at the goalie.
Maybe worth keeping an eye on: Dean Gordon - pretty good performance from their left back - great pace and a very good shot from the edge of the area.
Palace: how the hell did we lose to this lot at Elland Road. I guess the answer is that we didn't: we lost to a team containing Lombardo. Much more of this and we'll have one less trip to Selhurst to face next year.
Palace fans: loudest noise they made was when a bit of a ruck broke out in the Holmesdale Road stand just before HT - about 20 police and stewards waded in to pull out one man and that seemed to be the only thing that provoked any noise out of them.
A reasonably good performance, some parts good, some scrappy. It could have been tricky, of course. Abysmal home records have to end somewhere.
There was plenty of abuse for Tubby Tom, who tried and played some good passes, but our lads were far too keen to make sure he had no time on the ball, at least two men regularly pouncing on him - presumably they saw him as the main threat in creating chances for Palace. After only a few minutes him and Bruno went up for a header, and Brolin went to the floor (cue plenty of cheering). He went off to have some stitches.
A couple of minutes later, against 10 men, Kelly put a ball through their defence for Wallace on the right, who shot confidently between Miller's legs.
Not long after that Brolin came back on to more jeering, sporting a head bandage and shortly after that Jimmy scored our second. After shrugging of a defender on the left outside the area, he hit a hard shot along the ground, which was maybe slightly deflected, and went into the far corner. So 2-0 already and we were looking forward to more.
I don't think the score reflected the 1st half though - we weren't a whole lot better than Palace, and a few of their players caused problems. Bent (I think) down the left gave Kelly a run for his money, Dyer was strong up front, although Wetherall had a very good game throughout, and some bloke on the right capitalised on Roberston's inability to play football. Out of position much of the time, he had brief forays going forward, but his passes consistantly went to the opposition - if he managed to pass before being tackled - and Wetherall and Molenaar gave him some stick in the 2nd half when Palace attacks down the right frequently had to be stopped by Kewell or one of the other defenders. I actually felt sorry for him at this point. He had a terrible game and he knew it. He tries like fuck but just doesn't have the ability.
One of the highlights of the 1st half (apart from 2 goals that is) was Brolin having his bandage knocked off when the ball hit him on the head. Another was a superb pass (you may have seen it on MOTD) by Jimmy hit from the byline which landed in their half for Bruno to run onto.
Wallace got booked for not retreating on a freekick given when Kelly brought down Bent, but Palace never really looked like scoring. Martyn made a couple of good reflex saves, but although Palace had good midfield movement, with Brolin playing his part, most of their attacks were dealt with by Wetherall, Molenaar, Radebe and Kelly, and by the offside-trap.
The second half was not particularly good to start with. Although we had plenty of chances throughout the game, in between there was much poor long ball stuff, with Wallace and Jimmy again failing to win, or bottling out of, headers. Can't blame Wallace I suppose, but Jimmy should do better.
Jimmy again, and rightly, bemoaned poor service, and Kewell tried more than most to rectify this. He had a really good game playing on the left wing, frequently coming back to bail out Robbo and going forward to get crosses in.
An inventive free kick almost produced a goal for Hopkin. He was stood on the left outside the area unmarked, and the ball was passed to him, he hit on the volley but it went just wide. Jimmy had a go at Hopkin for not giving him the ball and shooting instead, and Hopkin had a real go back. Jimmy seems to forget that when he gets possesion he invariably fucks up.
Lee Matthews came on for Jimmy 5 minutes from the end and was keen to impress. His first touch was an ace through ball for Wallace, Matthews ran free into the area and Wallace should have passed back for him too shoot, but Wallace hit a hard shot himself straight at the keeper. Matthews ran about as much he could ion the short period he had, he looks like he'll be able to handle the long balls, and looks strong enough to hold off other players.
I'm not sure we would have done so well if some of Palace's injured players had been playing (Lombardo, Shipperly & Padovano), but I think we can be confident going into next week's game against Leicester, and be pleased that the current crop of youth players really look as if they can make it. We shall see.
Wetherall, Molenaar, Radebe, Martyn, Kewell, the Referee
Ribeiro, Hopkin, Kelly, Haaland, Wallace (for missed chances), Hasselbaink (for not doing much other than scoring, although a theatrical dive in the 1st half was quite funny)
Footballing-wise, Leeds never really broke a sweat what with the game over after 15 mins thru Rodney and Jimmy. Jimmy, has definetly come on in the few months, and would be lethal if he'd a Ferguson/Dublin character beside him. Spurs have nothing to worry about if they grab a few victory's pretty soon, as Palace definetly won't survive this season bar a Lazarus-esque recovery.
Anyway the match wasn't a classic, but it's always nice to see the team in the flesh especially as they strolled thru a victory. Very good on the counter-attack, but as i said, Palace were rubbish.
Points of Note:
1. The treatment of Brolin was absolutely hilarious. No-one deserverd the abuse more than he did, in fact - controversial - he may well have deserved it on a par with C**tona. At least Le C*** kept himself fit and tried even with his huffing. Brolin was a fat money grabbing bloater who tried to use LU as rehabilliation to get back to Serie A. Anyway, the boos at Brolin etc descended into great fun all round as we laughed at his every touch & mistake. Did Riberio twat him on purpose? Do you think GG gave tacit approval to the team to leave a foot/elbow in? AND then the COUP DE GRAS ! Kelly clearing the ball at Brolin and thumping him on the head and sending his bandages flying. I have to say, for a split second I felt JUST A TAD sorry for the lad as he was then a helpless sight... but it soon passed. Overall, Brolin ran around a lot, looked busy but never contributed significantly to the match.
2. Although on for a mere five minutes, and the fact that Palace are woeful, Lee Matthews did really well when he came on at the end. A couple of nice touches during his time on the field. I assume he was a Youth player star? Any chance of McPhail making it through? How's he doing in the reserves?
3. Martyn's amazing ability to land the kick-out's onto Kewell's head, and for Harry to then win each ball (easily against his smaller marker) and nod it on.
Martyn. 'We've got Martyn you've got Brolin". Indeed.
Kelly - Very good, although has an annoying habit of punting the ball anywhere, when there are passes on..
Molenaar & Weatherall - The pair of them didn't do anything wrong, and their mobility wasn't tested..Molenaar was particulary good.
Robertson - Definetly the weak link in the team and has poor distribution. Did OK on satdi, and his heading ability has improved since I last saw him. Admittedly he's quite good at going forward.
Lucas - Good defensive job.
Hopkin - Did alright, but not as influential as you'd think.
Riberio - Nothing special. Must be applauded for the Brolin incident though.
Kewell - Not bad.
Jimmy & Rodney - A pair of speed merchants, although the hoofing the ball up to them doesn't really work as they're obviously tiny, and so they wait on a mistake on the part of the defender. Nicely taken goals though. Rod should have had a few more.. I hope he stays though..
The palace fans are obviously resigned to going to places like Crewe and Reading next season, and so were VERY quiet. Even fought amongst themselves.
Overall, a useful three points gained with thru little effort.
Managed to get into the Ship without resorting to the password, which was a shame really - I'd really been looking forward to muttering 'internet' under my breath to some big mean pub bouncer.
In fact it seemed that everyone managed to get into the pub with no great hassle, as lunchtime went on thee were a few forlorn faces at the window, but they didn't have to wait long.
There was a belief that Oddvar made contact by phone, John Brauns couldn't understand a word this bloke said when he was rung, and I couldn't return the call when I failed to hear my phone ring.
Not hearing the phone ring was a repeated theme, John Brauns completely missed a call from Gav, which was made across the length of The Ship in an effort to save Gav having to go to the bar himself.
Damian managed to prove that is was possible to go to a Leeds game, meet your mates in the pub and bring your dad, Voicey take note !
Having missed out on the list fax, I experienced what it is like to live a really exciting life, and sat on my own next to a bloke who was probably old enough to be my dad :-)
The 1st half was by far the better of the two, Leeds started very brightly, and we wee 2 up within 13 minutes, the first an excellent through ball from Kelly that Wallace slotted home through Millers legs, the 2nd a shot form Hasselbaink after he'd shrugged off two challenges that only a month or so ago he'd have gone down after. He does seem to be adjusting to the physical side of the premiership far better now, although his head still goes down when he's not getting the sort of service he wants.
Bruno clashed with the tubby one, resulting in fatty being taken off the pitch for treatment, the spell in which we scored the 1st goal, and got the 2nd as he returned with a fetching headband on.
Other highlights of the first half were Kellys clearance which took Brolins bandage off - with the blood still streaming down his face the fat one should've been taken off for more treatment shouldn't he ?
Hasselbainks 60+ yard clearance into the path of Riberio was superb, but nothing came of the move.
Leeds just seemed to stop trying in the 2nd half, almost as if they had realised that Palace just weren't going to score whatever happened. Robertson continued to mess things up at Left Back, but Kewell and Riberio rarely covered for him, relying instead on the incompetence of the Palace forwards to capitalise on the chance.
Kewell won virtually every ball in the air on the left wing, but every time there was no one on the end of his header. You'd have thought Jimmy would've realised where the ball would be going after three or four times, but no.
With about 5 minutes to go, Hasselbaink was subbed for Matthews, who with his first touch sent Wallace through clean on goal, a shot straight at the keeper denied Rods 2nd, when a placed strike or a return ball to Matthews would have sealed the game.
Matthews had a good fast 5 minutes, how he fares over a whole game remains to be seen but there's certainly promise there. He's massive now, so what he'll be like when he finishes growing is anyones guess.
Martyn : 7 rarely troubled, but solid
when he was
Kelly : 7 solid steady game
Wetherall : 6 Ok game, spent a lot of the time shouting at Robertson.
Molenaar : 8 Best game I've seen him play in a long time, didn't frighten me once. Hope his injuryisn't too bad with Radebe being away for the next month.
(Subbed for) Haaland : 7 Bolts in his neck were at just the right tension.
Robertson : 5 Best going forward, but even then he still messes up.
Radebe : 8 As usual a colossus, marked Brolin out of the game
Riberio : 6 Quiet game
Hopkin : 7 His best game for Leeds for a long time, missed a few chances but remained composed throughout.
Kewell : 7 Won every ball in the air down the left wing, good runs forward and tracked back very well, although gave up covering for Robertson after half time.
Wallace : 8 Didn't fall over much, final shot on goal always blasted rather than thought about.
Hasselbaink :7 Working far harder than he used to, rides rough challenges better, but needs to push for that little bit more I think.
Subbed for Matthews 6 : Great first touch, not on long enough to really rate but a promising five minutes.
Their fans : 1 There was more noise
Our fans : 7 Plenty of noise (as heard on MOTD),
Top 6 chants :
1 We've got Martyn you've got
2 90 Pies an hour
3 Where's your bandage gone
4 Fatty whats the score ?
5 Have you ever won at home ?
6 Bye Bye Fatty (after 5 minutes)
Went back to the Ship afterwards for more beer and more cliqueyness, but I've got work to do so I might type more later.
Brolin... A separate "game of it's own inside the game" I think is the best explanation. Luke and Ribeiro didn't give him any time on the ball at all all afternoon (and I fail to agree that Ribeiros elbow could have been anything other than unintentional - he just isn't a dirty player, despite being a good tackler). It was also evident that Tubby lacks a whole lot in the fitness department, which isn't that strange for anyone knowing what he's been up to the last year. Us Leeds fans really gave him something to think of as well. I still wonder though how much crowd banter really affects a player (C*ntona apart). I wouldn't like to be coaching a team of professionals that play more against the opposition crowd than the opposition.
The jury is still out. Despite evidently not being fit the (very rare) times Tubby received the ball with space to control, to his credit I think he passed it well on most occasions, and I also think he could be quite instrumental in the Palace team if they manage to get back into winning ways. Not much evidence that they could though on this display alone, but everyone knows as well that they had quite a few first influential team players out injured. On that evidence alone I also think we should have hammered them more than we did... As for someone that commented that when they won at ER it was Lombardo against Leeds... I agree he was "instrumental", but face it - we were CRAP that day!
GG's comments on Tubby - brings a smile! I can report GG is now twice as hated as he ever was in Sweden. Everyone remembers his treatment of Limpar at the Arse, and this does certainly not help his cause. But who really cares?
Both managers insisted beforehand that Tomas Brolin - long-time Leeds malcontent, short-time Palace lodger - was a diversion. They were right. He was the diversion that, by his comings and goings, decided the game. He did more for Leeds in the first dozen minutes than in two fat and fatuous years at Elland Road.
After five minutes he suffered a gash above the eye in a challenge with Bruno Ribeiro. As he disappeared for repairs Gary Kelly's through-ball picked up Rod Wallace's run and that was 1-0.
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