FA Carling Premiership
Game 30: Sunday 15 March 1998
Derby County 0 - 5 Leeds United
(Half-time: 0 - 3)
Referee: S J Lodge (Barnsley)
|« Blackburn Rovers||West Ham United »|
|Leeds||Martyn, Kelly, Hiden, Molenaar, Radebe, Harte, Halle, Haaland, Bowyer, Kewell (McPhail 71), Hasselbaink||Beeney, Wetherall, Matthews, Hopkin|
|Derby County||Poom, Rowett (C. Powell, 46), D. Powell, Stimac, Wanchope, Laursen (Delap, 82), Carsley, Eranio (Hunt, 33), Dailly, Burton, Baiano||Willems, Hoult|
|Leeds||Laursen og 8, Halle 36, Bowyer 42, Kewell 59, Hasselbaink 72||Halle's first goal for Leeds|
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|Derby County||Stimac, Dailly|
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers||-, 18, 11, 19, 9||0|
|Mike Sewell||3-0 and we didn't f**k up|
|John Lee||Silence of the Rams|
|Claire Warwick||We Love Lee Bowyer|
|Gav Burnage||Easy Like Derby County|
|The Guardian||Shocking silence of the Rams|
|The Times||Outstanding Leeds on course for Europe|
|The Electronic Telegraph||Leeds make Derby suffer once again|
|Links to Reports on the net|
|Soccernet||Soccernet match report|
|Carlingnet||Carlingnet match report|
List meet - excellent pub, good beers, small meet. Missed Barber (a bit), but we were cheered by the thought of how well we do when the Maggon is away. Should we sponsor a one way ticket to Ulan Bator? Kjell seemed to have reams of paper in his pocket, including one with a chart of the ground. This might have come in useful as we approached it through an interminable industrial wasteland, but we weren't sure which way to orient it. The 'stadium' itself feels prefabricated and tacky. Like Boro, they have spent millions on reproducing the luxurious standards of gents' facilities that is reached by such big clubs as Southampton. They also spent a good deal of time announcing that fans were welcome to stay after and watch the highlights and analysis on the tellies in the concourse. What they didn't say was that away fans would find all the tellies off. The atmosphere was good though. The roof reflects sound well and the noise was quite impressive.
I have to own up to thinking that GG was mad - what was he thinking of dropping Wetherall, why was Lucas in midfield and would Halle be any better than Hoppo? Answer: within 20 minutes I was hailing a stroke of tactical genius. Kewell's runs were causing Derby no end of trouble. Lucas had Baiano closely controlled and Halle was having his best game for us yet. Until Eranio went off the defence looked a bit dicky but by and large we quickly established ourselves as the better team. The passing and movement were the best since, oh, last Wednesday's second half. And we turned pressure into goals. Their defence was already panicky before the own goal.
The two goals just before half time were just reward for incisive attacking and shrewd tactics. After the break Nige made a very important save to stop them getting back into the game. Kewell did what he should have against Blackburn to score and we continued to look the more likely to score after that. Derby did more shirt tugging and off the ball fouling than anyone else I've seen this season, and still couldn't stop us playing. Even GG caught the carnival spirit, giving us a wave when called upon and sending on MacPhail with 20 minutes to go. The boy then produced the pass of the match to set up Jimmy. Jimmy had, as ever, demanded a particular pass to feed his run, MacPhail delivered perfectly. Derby's fans were by now pouring out, though those who stayed managed to make a good deal of noise in the final minutes. We even granted them patronising applause.
Scores are not in order today. I might criticise Haaland for missing a golden chance to make it six, but that would be harsh. It was one of those days where everything went right. 9s all round, including the manager for his tactics. Nice to see Kelly as captain too. Harte may be making LB his for the rest of the season. One pre-emptive whinge: I think this may be the first time this season we have played without both Hopkin and Wallace. I do not think it was a coincidence that we were also at our most fluent. Passes were consistently into the path of runners, not behind them. The runners were consistently where they should have been, not cramping them. The forward players were unselfish, not greedy - never more so than when Jimmy threaded through the pass for Halle's goal and Haaland got out of the way for his countryman in exemplary fashion. Jimmy worked magnificently throughout. We have started pretty much as well in other games, but Plonker takes more away from our game than just the chances he misses (see Newcastle away for example). I really hope that, after 9 goals in two games without him, we never see him in a Leeds shirt again. As for Hoppo, he probably needs a spell in Uncle Eddie's rehab unit. It clearly did the trick for Bowyer who was again magnificent and who has been taught the value of the simple pass.
Post match nearly put a damper on things. Most of the police were called over to what they described as "a big fight" in the car parks. That meant that they could do nothing about small incidents that were "going on all over the place". In our case it was a few idiots hanging about in the stream of people looking for trouble. I'd call them pond life, but that wouldn't be fair to your average toad. I made the mistake of smiling at the wrong moment. I smiled again and my ear hurt less when we were coming out of the station car park and I noticed a couple of the knuckledraggers concerned in the company of Derbyshire's finest. Perhaps they'll get some community service cleaning up Pride Park's feeble excuse for facilities, I somehow feel they belong together.
So don't smile in the postindustrial waste that is Derby folks or you'll upset the local neanderthals.
The amount of control and clinical finishing yesterday should be contrasted with the hustle & hurry Rodney style that some of you have come to cherish so much. Forwards who can control the ball and pass to a white shirt - what a revelation eh?
What a great day out, which even in Derby Thugs could not spoil! Sad not to see one of my favourite players, Dave Weatherall, but you have to hand to to GG, the CBs were brilliant, so we didn't miss him. It's sad, though that Lucas got booked for a completely fair challenge, and so will be suspended for two matches, as he was back at his awesome best. As others have said, though it is so hard to single out individuals. Jimmy lead the line brilliantly and unlike the plonker entirely unselfishly. H was screaming up and down the left wing, cutting their defense apart. Bowyer was everywhere, so much better that Hopkin it is hardly worth making the comparison. It's also brilliant when he scores, because he came up to the fans with a grin so big his face seemed in danger of splitting. Kelly, clearly chuffed as nuts to be captain zoomed about doing what he does best, clearing stuff up, setting up attacks, stopping only to grin almost as broadly as Bowyer, and his nephew followed his example on the other side of the pitch. I may have sponsored Robbo, but I hope Harte keeps his place, it is much easier on the nerves!
Several times this season we have said that we had enough chances to score 5, but Wallace wasted some and didn't bring others into the play. Finally, without him, we actually did score five. I do hope GG draws the same conclusion as I do from that.
It was great to see that young McPhail got on, though apart from _that_ pass he looked a bit overwhelmed. He may look like he can put it about at yoof level, but when a large Derby player dumped him on his arse he realised what he was up against, and didn't tackle again for the rest of the match. Still I am confident he will learn, and at least he got a good 20 minutes worth. H didn't look injured to me, unless Sky said anything different, just fairly knackered, which was understandable as he'd just run his little legs off.
The atmosphere amongst the fans was brilliant, except Mr and Mrs Boring who were sat next to me, and didn't shout, sing, or even stand up. I mean how can you watch a match like that and stay silent????? Must be West standers. I got a very black look from Mrs Boring when I swore at the ref for not penalising the Derby player who decked young McPhail. A new chant also happened, super, super Leeds, to the tune of Super Tom. This was very effective and may, i suspect get used again. They didn't much like being asked if we could play them every week, and liked even less being likened to Forest in Disguise. As Betty said the best was probably '3-0' and you f*cked it up' followed by a slightly less confident rendering of '3-0 and we won't f*ck up'. A few worried shushings even then, although by the end we were sure that they 'couldn't score in a brothel', they didn't much like being told that either. Still they livened up towards the end and sang so loudly we were forced to applaud, first ironically and then I think in a sort of amazed admiration. We all agreed that such vocal support would have been unlikely at ER at 0-5 down, unless it was 'what the f*ck is going on' And then our good opinion of Derby fans was spoilt by the thugs afterwards.
Still a good day though. Th enumber of 'brilliants' I've used in this report may make me sound like the teenager from the fast show, but it really is not an overstatement! I really can't remember an away performance that good since the championship season. It really was reminiscent of that 4-1 win against Villa or the 6(?)-1 against Wednesday. Lets hope there is more to come!
It was the best result for years. Better than the last 5-0, away at Swindon on the last day of the season: it was a good, confident team we beat so well yesterday.
Kewell's cool poise and speed was breathtaking; I think I enjoyed his goal the best, because it was neatly set up, and inevitable for maybe 10 or 15 delicious seconds. So often these "must score" chances are fluffed, but he glided and scored so calmly that for once the expectation was met beautifully.
Seeing McPhail on for 20 minutes, with that tremendous long ball pass was a joy to behold too. Jimmy Floyd also looked calm and clinical. Molenaar timed some exquisite tackles, and fought well; he's come on so much since that headless dinosaur impression away at Blackburn. Lucas was solid as ever. Bowyer - I think his enthusiasm at his goal speaks volumes for him - after a lean spell it's coming good for him again.
Gary Kelly was great too. He deserves his captaincy thoroughly. He's done so much for Leeds over these past few seasons, been so committed, and come through the inevitable lean patch too. Leeds to his core, it seems: I love it when the players do the Leeds elbow salute, as he did at the end of the game yesterday.
The singing was, of course, good from us lot. But by the end it was the Derby fans who were the most impressive. They sang defiantly, as we have in the recent past (away at Liverpool for example). Much credit to them. And remember this was AT HOME: would we have sung quite so defiantly at Elland Road if we were 4 or 5 nil down? These days, I think not.
Does anyone know if Derby are operating a "singing area" policy? It seemed that all their noisy people were in the corner nearest the away fans, rather than at one end of the ground. I'd say their spirit must have played an important part in making Derby's record at Pride Park so impressive up till now.
Win, lose or draw, I wasn't expecting a friendly welcome from the mad section of the locals, and so didn't wear colours. I'm usually cautious about it at most places, with a few exceptions like Southampton and Wimbledon. However unlike Mike S, since we left a bit later, we didn't see much trouble, and the station was calm (well, until the rush when the doors of the bar were opened).
Pre-match the beer in the Brunswick was Top, and although Kjell didn't know whose birthday it was, he astounded the company with a demonstration of authentic tobacco chewing (Mike S how come this didn't trigger your Spit the Dog impressions?)
George Graham appears to be getting it right, steadily and surely, which is the only way. Just about any team can knock in 4 or 5 goals every once in a while. It's when it becomes more than an occasional event that it starts looking significant. With a couple of 4 goal thrillers before Christmas, we've now had a a few more after Christmas. And with these later tonkings, the opposition didn't even get a consolation. Things are starting to look serious :-)
What a day, derby county 1998, what a feeling, what a day
Leeds United looked worth a place in Europe yesterday whereas Derby
County, uncharacteristically, barely qualified for a turn at the end
of the pier. An emphatic victory took George Graham's team to fifth
place in the Premiership and left Pride Park sounding like a
contradiction in terms.
The reaction of Leeds to their unexpected FA Cup quarter-final defeat
by Wolves has been impressive. Blackburn were beaten 4 - 0 at Elland
Road last Wednesday and yesterday Derby, potentially Leeds's closest
rivals for the last Uefa Cup place, were routed by a combination of
solid defending, quick counter-attacks and voracious finishing.
The reaction of Leeds to their unexpected FA Cup quarter-final defeat by Wolves has been impressive. Blackburn were beaten 4 - 0 at Elland Road last Wednesday and yesterday Derby, potentially Leeds's closest rivals for the last Uefa Cup place, were routed by a combination of solid defending, quick counter-attacks and voracious finishing.
© Guardian Media Group plc
Jon Abbott (firstname.lastname@example.org). Last modified $Date: 2003/07/20 11:09:23 $.