Game 29: Wednesday 11 March 1998
Leeds United 4 - 0 Blackburn Rovers
(Half-time: 0 - 0)
Referee: D Elleray (Harrow)
|« Wolverhampton Wanderers
|Derby County »
|Martyn, Kelly, Wetherall, Radebe, Hiden, Harte, Haaland, Hopkin, Bowyer, Hasselbaink, Kewell
|Halle, Molenaar, Matthews, McPhail, Beeney
|Fettis, Croft (Ripley, 68), Henchoz, Hendry, Kenna, Wilcox, Sherwood, Flitcroft, Duff, Sutton, Dahlin
|McKinlay, Valery, Broomes, Flowers
|Bowyer 48, Hasselbaink 53, Haaland 56, 89
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers
|11, 9, 4, 4
|The drab, the wierd and the downright beautiful!
|Expect the unexpected
|Gratitude and Swinner Sauerkraut
|Haunted by Wilko
|Leeds find four-goal form
|Haaland pulls two out of the hat
|The Electronic Telegraph
|Leeds goal blitz leaves Blackburn bewildered
|Links to Reports on the net
|Soccernet match report
|Carlingnet match report
The Peacock : 3 pints of Trophy bitter in plastic glasses in 30 minutes and we're off to watch us get a good hiding.
Leeds put on a performance to be proud of and I reckon even John Lee couldn't find much to complain about. I'll leave the match report for the regulars - I wouldn't do it justice but in my opinion Lee Bowyer had his best match for Leeds and for that he deserves a run in the team. Kewell, as I've said before is more effective up front where he can roam around using is clever touches / passes to feed off the midfield and his striking partner. Hiden looks like a Wetherall with pace (i.e a fucking good player) and although Molenaar has being playing well I think our best defensive performances have been with Radebe and Wetherall at the back. I think the team last night must be close to our best. I know the people on this list continually rave about Ribeiro but although he has done well I really don't think he has the pace to be a top class midfielder.
And finally onto the moan - the supporters. 32,000 and a shit atmosphere. We even had the ridiculous sight of Blackburn fans waving goodbye to the streams of 'Leeds fans' leaving the game with at least 5 minutes to go. Sad people who shouldn't bother. At least they missed the goal of the season - I don't think they would be bothered about that.
Just piss off and support someone else !
Second half - and a completely f***ing MAD 8 minutes. GG must have told them to have a shot or some'at, because every time we got within 40 yards the ball was pinged goalwards. The surprise was that most shots were ace, and that 3 went in, and all were class efforts. Bowyer's volley, Jimmy's brilliant trap and push then lashing it across the goalie (yes, when he plays football and he controls his temper he looks bloody good, and yes there's MORE than a modicum of talent there), and Alfi scoring with a deft over his head flick-back and volley combo that I thought must be the best goal he'd ever scored. It was, until about 30 minutes later, when he got the ball near the middle, ran about 15 yards then lashed a shot that f***ing flew past the goalie, dipping and swerving as it went! I have never in all my life seen 4 such good goals for the Gods in a game, especially given that the game itself was aweful! We also had a load of other shots which all whistled past, and Haaland, well, what can you say? Unbelievable! Their reserve goalie might have been to blame for the 4th, and I'll reserve judgement till I see it again, but the others - brilliant.
What with a 4-0 win, you might think there'd be nowt to moan about - beggar the thought. Aside from the first 25, when our midfield and left defence (Mr Harte!) went AWOL time and again, there was the usual shocker from David Hopkin, Harte was pretty out of his depth, and Kewell was getting dragged far too deep trying to stem the Blackburn midfield. On the positive though, aside from the goals, Hiden was f***ing superb, Radebe had woken up, Jimmy was doing what he does best and was shooting and scoring and NOT acting like a petulant kid, Bowyer seemed incredibly focussed on what he was doing and played very well, and Haaland, Jeez, what can you say. Martyn also made a couple of good saves early on, and even GG seemed to have a good one, standing there in his undertakers grey coat shouting at all and sundry! And for the 3rd league game running I don't think we had anyone booked? (Unless I missed it).
A wierd wierd evening, not so much enjoyable as unbelievable!
Well all that talk of doubles clearly
got to the boys last night; - double over Blackburn
- scored 4 against them twice
- MadAlf scores two goals the like of which he'll never manage again.
I don't know what other people at the game thought, but I felt like I watched two Leeds Utds last night. For the first half, and the last 20mins of the second, we were usual Leeds, couldn't hit a cow's arse with a banjo, scared of the ball, struggling to keep tabs on Sutton, Dahlin, Sherwood etc. But for the other 25mins right after halftime it was like watching the team I've always wanted Leeds to be - fluent attacking, never troubled if they did lose the ball, and looking like they were going to score every time we went forward. Apart from the goals in that spell, Jimmy shaved both posts, from the edge of the box, Harte was narrowly wide with two thumping efforts, and there were many more scrambles in and around their box.
In the first we really looked second best, right from the first seconds when Wilcox crossed beautifully from the left wing to the back post, for someone to nod back and us to scrape through. At 0-0 Martyn pulled off a right Banks vs Pele save at the foot of the post from a great downward header by Dahlin. At the other end Bowyer was put through with one of those bouncing long balls that the keeper comes charging to get, Lee got there first, lobbed the keeper, but it went wide. A couple of minutes later, some defender played a back pass without looking, and Harry was onto it, in the box, and hit the bar - it looked like that kind of night. One great move down the right sent Jimmy off against Hendry, he got there, hit it well from just inside the box but the keeper made a good save.
half time - and what the Guardian described as the "muppet with the microphone".mmm.
2nd half Brazil came out, cleverly concealed by GG in the traditional white of Leeds.
1-0 ; Throw in on the right level with their box. Bounces up to LeeBowya, who hooks it along the line of the top of the box, Wetherall nods down into the box, and Bowyer who has spun away from his marker volleys it home from 12 yards - and runs to The Kop arms wide, huge cheezer on his lips - a happy boy.
2-0 ; Bowyer gets the ball in midfield, moves forward a few yards, spots Jimmy lurking out on the right, and plays a sublime ball with the outside of his right foot, along the ground, that splits two defenders, right into Jimmy's path. Jimmy cuts in from the wing, wrong footing the defender, and from just inside the top angle of the box, curls it into the far post with his left. No cartwheel.
3-0 ; (you are entering the twilight zone). Ball flies around the Blackburn box. Ball comes to Alfie. He's on the penalty spot. He has his back to goal. He juggles it once. He juggles it twice. (the whole crowd is thinking lay it off, pass it). Alfie spins. Time stops. He pulls back his left peg. Eternity gapes before us. And he half volleys the ball like a little rocket into the top corner. The keeper has not moved.
all this in the first 11mins of the half.
4-0 ; (89mins) . Sutton forearms Bowyer to the ground on the centre spot - the crowd bays for blood - but Leeds have the ball with Alfie and that wise man Mr Ellery of Harrow, plays advantage. Alfie not sure what to do, he steps forward a few paces. Nobody tries to challenge him. Bowyer is still down, and its a head injury. In the face of such abject disinterest Alfie decides to put the ball out of play so that Liddl'Lee came get treatment. He swings his leg, and bugger me if he misses touch, and it flies into the bottom corner of the goal from 35 yards out. - oh yeah and that NiceMrEllery booked Sutton as well.
What a fucking night.
I'm now trying to work out what was the lucky totem. The fair Jennifer accompanied me to this - her second consecutive league game - sitting in the seat of the less fair Toby - she wore the same hat and coat as last week. Or was it, that I, for the second league game running had been and had ultra-sound treatment at the physios at a 6 o'clock appointment, that very evening. Dilemma.
MARTYN -7- reasonably quiet, but one
KELLY -7- Good play - but strange temper - had a pushing/shouting match with Wetherall, LeeBowya, and Lucas, at different times.
HARTE -7- excellent again - and unlucky not to score.
HIDEN -8- the pick of the defence, quiet efficient, and always there to make the last ditch tackle.
WETHERALL -7- rightly restored, played with guts and fire.
RADEBE -7- given a chasing by Dahlin for a while, got to grips eventually - and began to look superb again by second half.
We played with Lucas, Weth and Hiden as a back 3, and Kelly & Nephew at wing back.
HOPKIN -4- The one downside. Still
BOWYER -9- MOTM- continuing his superb form, and only going to prove what a stupid decision it was to drop him on saturday. He would be the first name down on the teamsheet for me until the end of the season, to keep the confidence growing. He is doing what we paid 3.25m for Hopkin to do, long may he keep it up.
HAALAND -7- 2 great goals. Battling display - got involved in a great kicking match just in front of the Kop with Kelly, Sutton, and Willcox - with the ball buried somewhere underneath them all.
HARRY - 6- still quiet, some nice link up play- I think he backheeled into Bowyer's path for the 2nd goal (?).
JIMMY -8- led the line superbly against 2 very good CHalfs - still diving - but also creating, and could have had 3 or 4 with a bit more luck.
CROWD - large, but strangley quiet until 3rd goal - then sung in the mad delerium of disbelief.
Arrived at t'Adelphil hot-foot from work, and with a bastard of a cold brewing. Pretty decent list turn-out, as Bad Boy Barber assailed us with his unsurpassed knowledge of Australian cinema. That lovely Mr Sewell, whom I shall buy numerous pints for before the next match, generously allowed me to be a Claire stand-in, and so the match began.
As I said before the game, I was inexplicably optimistic about this one. The team selection smacked of picking the only side and formation possible that would not include any of the youngsters. On the plus side Kelly, Wetherall and Bowyer were back.
The first half hour was dire from us. You just could not conceive of how we would get in their half, let alone get a shot on goal. The midfield were static, and Harte and Kelly were playing as defensive full-backs in a 5-man defence, rather than pushing forward. It was especially embarassing down the left side, as Harte seemed terrified of moving forward, and our right footed midfield seemed reticent to venture over that side. This of course meant H kept dropping back there, and so we were left with little attack as well.
The, Blackburn decided to get us into the game. Firstly they completely ignored Bowyer as he strolled on to a bouncing through ball. He should have knocked it past the keeper and run on, but instead messed it up horribly. Then H missed an absolute sitter, provoking howls of anguish from Mr Sewell.
Highlight of the first half has to be Nige's blinding save from Dahlin. A replica of a save that Kelly made for Sheff Utd at Coventry, from a downward header, for afficionados. This was clodely followed by a surreal clearing header by Wethers, that went staright down, then narrowly up over the bar.
To be fair, I thought we looked a lot better for the last 10-15 minutes of the half.
Half time and WHAT A BUNCH OF CHEAP GITS. In a sad pretence that they care about kids, it was the young 'uns who were up for the penalty shoot-out. And if you get it through the infeasibly small middle whole you win...... a Sony Playstation. Not a car. Not a prize of near equal value, but a poxy playstation. And they didn't even increase the size of the holes for the little 'uns. It's this kind of cheap skatedness that pisses the fans off (you could hear unrest and booing when they said what the prize was), and this kind of thing just contributes towards distancing the fans from the club, and so reducing the atmosphere.
Anyway, second half, and we were awesome. Hiden, Radebe and Wethers look a natural combination, reading the game superbly. Kelly and Harte play like wing-backs, thus opening up the midfield. Bowyer is utterly outstanding, an England prospect rather than than out-of-his-depth first divsion player he's looked for most of teh season.
1st goal - Kelly throw, Bowyer touch, Wetherall cushioned header, Bowyer volley. 1-0. Bowyer? Kelly? Wetherall? Who was left one bench on Satdi?
2nd was even better with Bowyer's beautiful pass, perfectly taken on and finished by Jimmy.
From here on we were rampant. Harte kept charging forward unleashing blistering shots intermittently. Haaland and Bowyer dominated midfield, with Bowyer playing like a titan. Wetherall looked diminant and gave the defence the leadership and stability it lacks without him. Hiden looks class.
Thought we should have had a penalty for what looked a clear hand-ball in the box from a cross. Hmmm, do we want penalties??
Kelly produced one sublime flick with his instep that another night would have flown embarassingly out of play. Last night it fell into the path of Jimmy in the box who just missed. I thought H provided the intelligence and guile for Jimmy's running that we've been needing. H often looked as if he was not that involved, but it was his runs, movement and simple touches that enabled Jimmy to rip them to shreds. No more Wallace.
Haaland's 2 goals were stunning. Top class.
Scores on the doors.
Martyn - 8 - did everything he was
asked to very well.
Radebe - 7 - recovering nicely
Hiden - 8 - class. Oozes footballing ability.
Wetherall - 8 and a bit - exactly what we missed on Satdi. Leeadership, direction a sense of purpose. Great player.
Kelly - 7 - once he stopped being so nervous about coming forward he was transformed.
Harte - 7 and a bit - I thought he had a very good second half. Still lacks a real turn of pace, but great control and passing when he wants to.
Hopkin - 5 - at least Bruno will get straight back in.
Haaland - 8 - was a 7 until 2 minutes from the end....
Bowyer - 9 - MOTM - at his best. Please, please keep this going.
Kewell - 7 - clever runs, good understanding and rapport with Jimmy. Shit miss in the first half though.
Jimmy - 8 - can terrify defenders with his pace and runs. Looks destined to get a hat-trick soon.
Good atmosphere once we were ahead, epecially up in the back of the kop! We do only seem to sing when we're winning though.
Bring back Bruno for Hopkin and we're there!
Mindlesssly optimistic once more,
Mind you gratitude is not always repaid in kind - you're accompanying the guy who persuaded you to go to the game down Beeston Hill and Gav (for it is he, dear reader) turns the ankle he injured so heroically for the Lards. Kick off is about two minutes off. How many times do you say 'Are you sure you don't mind if we go on ahead?' Answer: about four in the cases of myself and Dave Woolmer, five for Erica Brauns, none if you are John.
Got in late enough to be told that Hoppo had already cocked up four passes and thus knew without recourse to the clock that the game must be about five minutes old. Three centre backs, two defensive wing backs, lots of Blackburn pressure. We played for half an hour like a team short of confidence, a team that was still unsure about the new formation, a team in which too many players weren't used to their roles or those of others about them. Only the banter seemed to make the trip worthwhile. Mind you, there had been mention of sauerkraut in Swinnow after the game.
After half an hour we began to wake up. A good ball by Harte fed Bowyer between Fettis and his back four, Bowyer managed to lob the keeper, but the ball travelled across rather than along the pitch. Just afterwards Kewell was played in by Hendry's poor backpass. He too lobbed the keeper. This time the ball went goalwards but came back off the underside of the bar.It makes a change for a one-on-one not to end up with the keeper having the ball blasted at him, but we still hadn't scored. Blackburn then created a chance of their own and Nige pulled off a great diving save at the foot of a post. Half time came and we were probably flattered by 0-0, we hadn't been the better side.
God knows what GG said at half time. The lads behind us returned to their seats with news of a bloke who'd got 175-1 pre-match on Bowyer to score first and 3-0, they'd been taking the piss. Within 15 minutes they were taking a different view. We started to pass and move - it makes such a difference. So did scoring. Confidence returned and we outplayed the opposition comprehensively for twenty five minutes. Bowyer and Weatherall (funny that after Saturday) were cruial in the first goal - lovely flick over his shoulder from Lee, nod down from Wetherall, fine finish . At least two of us sang that "we love Lee Bowyer...." and regretted that Andy R wasn't there to see it. Lost any good train tickets recently Andy? Bowyer was everywhere and played a corker of a second half. Somehow 'blinder' seems inappropriate for him. Jimmy got the second with a fine finish after a great turn to shrug off his defender - much better than falling down, eh Jimmy? Wetherall also helped make the third goal, Haaland took it very well, the corner had come from a superb shot by Harte that Fettis did well to turn round the post. Haaland was making similar runs to those he's made on Saturday, the difference was that people passed to him last night. Every flick and pass seemed to find its target for a while, even Hoppo was doing it. After the third GG had a prolonged rant at Elleray - presumably he thought it should have been disallowed lest we all expect multiple goals every week. Does anyone know what that was about?
Sutton whinged, fouled and fell over a good deal, eventually being booked. "He's staying home, he's staying home...." Now it was Blackburn's turn to look dispirited and forlorn. We did allow them a string of corners though. And GG was again apoplectic when we finally cleared it - perhaps he wanted us to have more defending practice.
After 75 minutes Bowyer went down after a hefty 50-50 challenge that resulted in a corner, the obvious moment to give MacPhail a run. So no substitutions were made. Odd, but not surprising. I guess the manager thought the players who had done well since half time deserved to finish the game and get the ovation they deserved.
The fourth goal looked spectacular but wasn't, for my money, as good as the previous three. Daft Alfie got the ball, wandered forward, no-one challenged and fired it in. He will hit 35 yard shots again and they'll end up nearer the corner flag. Still it was a cracker to watch from behind the goal.
We missed Wallace like a thing that you don't miss very much. Having two forwards who complement each other was refreshing, even if young H didn't do all that well. He, Bowyer and Jimmy each pose defences different problems, Wallace and Jimmy do the same things, including diving.
"4-0 66 to 1" Conclusions. three at the back looked very good. Wing backs did well, so did the midfield three, eventually. Without Kewell looking at his best the attack looked much better without Plonker.
Martyn 7 A superb save, did everything else competently. Amazing stats in the programme comparing him and Flowers. Their shot-stopping percentages make fascinating reading. But Flowers distributes the ball better.
Kelly 8 Committed and strong in the tackle. Distributed the ball well. An excellent wingback. We certainly didn't miss Halle.
Harte 7 OK. His best game yet. Some passes a bit dodgy, and he needs to see the sprinting coach. Lovely pass for Bowyer on the half hour, superb shot in the second half. Davie throws in better and is quicker.
Hiden, Radebe, Wetherall collectively 8 nice to see three at the back. Once they got the hang of it they really looked the part. Wetherall makes a huge difference organising at the back as well as in the opposition penalty area at set pieces.
Midfield three: 5 first half, 8 second - we didn't actually miss Ribeiro much. Hopkin's distribution is poor, Bowyer adds a dimension to our game, daft Alfie looked quietly effective until his goals made him look spectacularly effective.
Jimmy 8 A real handful for their defenders, nearly had a hat trick, lovely goal and links well with the more creative forwards.
Kewell 6 Missed a sitter, not at his best but still worked hard, linked well with Bowyer and Jimmy. Way better than Plonker
MOTM - a toss up between Erica Brauns for a combination of tactical nous and fine food; and the ref who booked Wallace at Newcastle to get him suspended. Actually probably Kelly or Bowyer. Kelly was better over the full 90 minutes. The 3 CBs were also very good.
Overall: Exciting second half masked a poor first 45 minutes. But I'm glad I was talked into going.
JB brought the 'ambulance' down to Hopalong Gav, Swinnow Sauerkraut tasted great, and the AA got help to us very quickly on the A1- hope you got home alright John.
As you may be able to tell the second half does seem to show that my theory is not exactly watertight but I can see us struggling if we play 5 at the back every week just as everyone else is discovering it's a bit shit. It might be alright away from home to hit teams on the break (basically what happened last night after we scored a set piece goal which opened things up) but we'll still get beat by Leicester, Southampton and Palace at home.
Martyn- 8 Amazing save in the first
half from Darling Martin which didn't get anywhere near enough
credit on radio 5. Otherwise more solid than he's been for a
Kelly- 7 Kept Wilcox quiet but ins't really a wing back. Nice touches to set up a couple of chances.
Harte- 7 Nice passing but everytime Duff ran at him he got a good cross in. I was told to get tight on a winger when I was about 6 it's not too demanding.
Hiden- 8 Quality, very assured as spare man
Radebe- 7.5 Kept Darling Martin pretty quiet, better in 2nd half
Weatherall- 8 Shame about Molenaar being dropped but he did well agaionst possibly the best form striker around at the moment (I did say possibly).
Hopkin- 6.5 Not as bad as some have made out but he's still not good. No kind of form at all.
Bowyer -9 MOM He may look like an 19th centuary chimney sweep but the soot in his lungs didn't seem to do him any harm, never stopped running and made incisive runs and passes, brillaint (Much like Spurs so expect to see him on the bench on Sunday).
Haaland- 8.5 Ran about like a bastad. Real effort and passion (plus his goals wern't bad "Not from there you stu...fair enough")
Kewell- 7 Alright, decent link up play, should have scored 1 on 1 better than the plonker
Jimmy- 7.5 Is it me or does he look fucked with 20 minutes to go in every match, not bad though, good finnish.
The best thing about the game was just the fact that we won after Saturday. It does show at least the teams got a bit of strength or charachter and hopefully is a good omen. Last decent side we had everytime we got beat we'd come back and murder somebody i.e. Leeds 1 Scum 3 on the Wednesday, Sheffield Wednesday 1 Leeds 6 on the Sunday. It's just a hope,
Leeds United atoned for recent indiscretions last night to suggest that a campaign of countless disappointments may yet finish with a flourish.
The game was decided in the space of eight second-half minutes as the Yorkshire side dispensed with their customary profligacy to score three times. They added a fourth with a minute to go to complete the rout.
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