Leeds United FC FA Carling Premiership
Game 36: Saturday 25 April 1998

Leeds United 3 - 3 Coventry City

(Half-time: 2 - 2)

Crowd: 36522
Referee: M D Reed (Birmingham)
Coventry City FC
 
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Match Facts
  Teams Unused Subs
Leeds Martyn, Kelly, Wetherall, Hiden, Harte (Robertson 88), Halle, Haaland, Bowyer, Kewell, Hasselbaink, Wallace (Hopkin 72) Molenaar, McPhail, Beeney
Coventry City Ogrizovic, Nilsson, Shaw, Breen, Hall (Williams 86), Telfer, Soltvedt, Boland, Whelan, Huckerby, Dublin Moldovan, Strachan, Shilton, Hedman
  Scorers Other Info
Leeds Hasselbaink 16, 28, Kewell 75  
Coventry City Huckerby 20, 34, 62  
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
Leeds Bowyer, Wallace, Kelly  
Coventry City Whelan, Dublin, Hall  

Match Statistics
  Leeds Coventry City
Corners won ? ?
Fouls committed ? ?
Hit woodwork ? ?
Offsides committed ? ?
Shirt numbers of goalscorers 9, 9, 18 ?
Yellow cards 3 3
Red cards 0 0

Match Reports
Fans' Reports
John Lee Getting jiggy wit it
Nick Allen vs Coventry
Claire Warwick Cov: in praise of Lucas
Voice of Football Cartwheel from Hell
Newspaper/Newswire Reports
The Guardian Huckerby's own travelling show
The Sunday Times Kewell holds Coventry in check
The Times Sensational Huckerby exposes defensive flaws
The Electronic Telegraph Huckerby flare-up puts hat-trick in the shade
Links to Reports on the net
Soccernet Soccernet match report
Carlingnet Carlingnet match report

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Getting jiggy wit it - John Lee

Coventry - walking down Beeston Hill I was greeted with the news that the Plonker was in instead of the suspended Radebe, and I'm afraid you just knew what was coming! Rodney did two things of note in his 74 minutes - 1 overhead pass in the first half to set up an attack, and one decent cross in the second half. The rest of the time he was completely anonymous - didn't tackle, made some crap runs, never got near the man with the ball to shut him down etc etc etc. However, I think you have to say GG got this totally wrong, and why he persisted with it God only knows? Pace will always be critical, and supposedly our fastest defender, Kelly, looked like Harte when it came to picking up Huckerby. That said, playing one against one tempted fate more than anyone rationally would, and Huckerbys hat-trick was all too predictable, although they were all good finishes which on a different day he might have wasted. Defensively as a whole we were poor. Hiden had a rotten game, Weatherall dithered and dallied around, and Harte looked like the reserve left back he really should be if we're to have any chance of winning anything next year. Whilst I don't blame Harte for all our problems, his inability to get back at anything other than a trundle would even tempt me to play the chief crap-hat himself, Robertson! I thought the boos that greeted his arrival as a sub were harsh, especially given the crap defending we'd watched for well over an hour!

The plusses?? Well Hopkin was a man with something to prove and when his first two passes went to white shirts you just knew it was his day! He looked sharp and eager! Jimmy was strong and single-minded again, and scored with the same free-kick routine he's used on 4 occasions at the Kop end this year. Oggy looked a bit crap for the free-kick. And the other plus - well, Huckerby didn't get 4 I suppose? If I was a neutral I bet it was exciting to watch, but as I'm a biased bugger ....?

Other whinges - the ref, Mike Reid, gave the worst display I've seen this season, and that's saying a lot! He was utterly abysmal! Good crowd again nyumbers wise, although quiet, except when Robertson came on!

Scores

Martyn 6
Kelly 4
Hiden 4
Weatherall 5
Harte 3
Halle 5+
Haaland 5+
Bowyer 5
Wallace 0
Jimmy 7+
Kewell 6

Hopkin 7
Robertson 4
GG 3

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Cov: in praise of Lucas - Claire Warwick

Well as usual the vibes were right. I was not sure that we'd win against Cov, and we didn't. Of course I'd rather we had and they'd been proved wrong, but the upside is that the same vibes say we will beat the scum, so here's hoping.

Anyway, I think Saturday's events prove who should be player of the year, so get voting, if you haven't done, there is a form on the web site. Jimmy scored 2 goals of course, but I still stick with my assertion that Lucas is most definitely our most valuable player, and thus is for me player of the year with no contest at all. Why, well Jimmy scored, but we still drew. I reckon that we missed Lucas badly and might well have won if he had been playing. Sure, had Jimmy been missing and Lucas playing then we might not have scored, but then it would just have been a 0-0 draw! We do always miss Lucas, especially against fast, attacking forwards like Huckerby. Remember what happened without Lucas away to Liverpool? We were torn apart by Owen and quick breaking runners from midfield. What happened on Saturday? we were torn apart by Huckerby and runners form midfield. Somehow Lucas always seems to make such players look less effective, either he gets in the right place with some combination of great reading of the game and deceptive pace or he makes sure that somehow the quick runners are, how shall we put it, made a bit slower, against their will. I bet Jimmy will still get player OTY, because defenders seldom do when a forward is scoring goals. But as Saturday proved it's no good scoring hatfuls up one end if you can't stop them going in at the other end.

I agree with the Rev, leaving Kelly one on one with Huckerby was suicidal. Hiden had a mare, Harte tried but looked so slow, and Weathers bore the brunt of Dublins flailing elbows bravely, but was thus unable to help out with Huckerby. The other thing about Lucas is that not only wouldn't he have been daft enough to be up field when needed at the back, but he is scared of nobody, and in the end that is just what the defense looked, terrified, everytime Huckerby got the ball and ran with it.

Why Wallace played I do not know. Ineffective is the kindest way of describing him. Things looked immediately better once he was replaced by Hoppo. Harry got to play in his best position unimpeded by Wallaces runs which just got in everyone's way and achieved little. Hoppo gave up much needed physical presence in midfield, and once again Lord Eddie's remedial football academy seems to have worked wonders. Bowyer continues to look good, and it looked as if he might have effected a similar transformation on Hoppo. If there is a marked improvement in our Davie, then truly Lord Eddie is a miracle worker of renown.

I agree with what somebody said about Whelan, he seems to have been turned into a right dirty bastard. I used to rate him when he was at Leeds, but he should have walked for the second year running. He clearly elbowed Weathers in the head, which might be a red in itself. The ref reacherd for his card, but once the ref realised he had booked him already he put it away again. Great. We are penalised because we are missing a player send off for a second bookable by one ref, and another won't apply the same rule. I hate referees!

So all in all, a funny old game, especially when Paul lost his teeth mid shout! Now a win is needed to make Europe safe. I just hope it's against the scum.

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vs Coventry - Nick Allen

I fucking hate playing Coventry, they're a shit team, we always play shit against them and never get a result. They had 2 decent players on saturday - Dublin and Huckerby - and the job of the other 9 donkeys in the team is to get the ball up to either of these 2, so that they can score to equalise the goal that their defence has just conceeded. God knows what we'd have done if they'd had Macca fit to fire the passes through to them. It'd have been about 3-8.

Our defence was non-existant, and the midfield had gaping holes in it, so bringing Hopkin did make sense - sort of -. We were second to every ball, there was no spirit, no invention, and no balls. Thank god Jimmy's on fire at the moment, scored 2 and made the third. Did we miss Lucas ? Just a little. The pigeon was better at holding the midfield than any of our lot.

Our Goals :

1.Very long hoof down the left wing by Harte, Jimmy beats the defender to the first touch which knocks it on into the box, the both of them are still in the chase, Jimmy gets there first and slides it home with his left foot across the face of the goal, into the far corner.

2. Free-kick 28-30 yards out. Quick tap, and stop, Jimmy bends it gently round the wall, on the ground and somehow over UgliOggs hands into the bottom corner.

3. Jimmy breaks through a tackle wide on the left, runs at them, into the box, Hopkins takes over, down to the by-line, does a weird flick back across goal with the outside of his boot, Harry taps home.

Their Goals :

All three began with long hoof down the park to Huckerby who is one-on-one with a defender.

1. Harte's got it all sorted. He's between the forward and the ball. In the blink of an eye he's got it all wrong and he's 2 yards behind Huckerby who's heading for goal No.1.

2. It's Big Uncle Gaz's turn to look like a twat. Huckerby twists and turns like Wonder Woman, Kelly in awe at the speed of those twinkling toes, falls flat on his face - a sigh goes round the ground, which was audible on MOTD - Huckerby runs on and finishes well.

3. Huckerby runs away from his marker - Kaptain Kelly - and clips over Nige for his third.

Oh yeah Gordon - none of this means that Huckerby should be in the England squad.

Now lets be right about this - not meaning to be wise after the event but - you don't have to be a brain surgeon to work out, that going into a game against Coventry you want a big guy on Dublin and a fast guy on Huckerby - we decided to mark Huckerby only after he'd scored two - stable doors...etc - and although he got one more, at least KK kept him reasonably quiet after that. We also learned not to leave just one defender on him, but to put Hiden as a kind of sweeper behind KK.

Bowyer tried to keep the midfield ticking over, but it was him against the world. Halle, Haaland and Harry were all hopeless - all together now "... Oooo 'enry 'iggins" -

POINTS

MARTYN -6- Not really a lot he could do about any of them.
KELLY -5- made to look a fool, but still did OK with damage prevention, eventually.
HARTE -4- lack of pace severly shown up - still better than Davie boy in my book.
WETHERALL -5- took it on the jaw, several times. Only ever beat Dion in the air when it didn't matter, otherwise was 2nd best.
HIDEN -5- along with Wetherall, had his worst game of the season - shame they had to chose the same day to do it.

The defence was missing Lucas' organisational skill (great post Claire)

BOWYER -7- for effort, one great shot, one awful miss.
HALLE / HAALAND / HARRY -4- each or combined it doesn't matter. but when Hopkins is the answer, its a bloody stupid question. (Harry did look a bit better when moved forward - he can't mark or tackle for toffee).
JIMMY - 9- dynamite - hope he gets top scorer in the league.
WALLACE - can't argue with his holiness - 0

Crowd - the biggest gathering of trappists this year - 36500
Ref - shit as GG and Gordon took turns in telling him.

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Cartwheel from Hell - Voice of Football

Well shiver me timbers what a bloody roasting our defenders got from young Huck yesterday. Totally exposed by his lightening pace, including Hiden who was gave up his usual composed self for an impression of David Robertson at his absolute worst. Thank god for Hasselbaink who is looking more and more like Yeboah at his peak every game, or we'd have been trounced. Mind you, had GG not realised almost before it was too late that either Wallace of Kewell desperately needed to make way for Hopkins then it would have been curtains anyway.

What's happened to Whelan though? Slow, disinterested, stroppy and a figure that the more portly Lards would be ashamed of. If it's drugs he's on it must be steroids. Those who questioned Wilko's wisdom in getting rid, will rightly acknowledge the cunning old fox's judgement once more. Just seen the video of MOTD and noticed a certain Mr C.L. Palmer once again rubbing Hoddle's nose in it. Cut West Ham singlehandedly to ribbons (backed up by the Times) and made a total farce of the godbotherers farcical squad selections. It's not a faith-healer you want dickhead, it's the country's best midfielder! Hoddle OUT!!!

All-in-all an excellent afternoon considering the other results. We now have enough points (barring a miracle finish from West Ham and Blackburn) to put us in Europe. So hat's off to George Graham who has done a splendid job this year. Turned us from bores into entertainers. Bought some excellent players in JFH, Bruno and Hiden (after the stupidity of Laurent, Lilley, Robertson, etc) and now has some pulling power for some better players. Get Torre Andre Flo, Oostenstaadt snapped up now and bury the hatchet with Carlton and pursuade him to return for a tilt at the title next year. Oh, and get a bloody left back too!

PS, scores:-

Martyn - 7
Kelly - 7
Hiden - 5
Harte - 4
Weatherall - 5
Halle - 6
Bowyer - 9
Haaland - 7
Kewell - 6
Wallace - 6 (Hopkins - 8)
Hasselbaink - 9

Ref - 2 utterly atrocious
Crowd - quiet
Half-time penalty shoot out - getting more ridiculous. "Special prize this week, instead of a car it's a hot-off-the-press season ticket. Wow!!" ie, instead of a 7000 prize it's a 300 prize!!! And the blokes who were picked were wearing suits and shiny shoes, and they made the bimbo choose a fat, wheezy bird to make up the numbers. I think there was a total of 2 shots that either didn't pea-roll along the ground or go ballooning to the back of the kop. What a joke.

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Huckerby's own travelling show - Ian Ross

Copy from Football Guardian of 26/04/1998.
Read the full report in The Football Guardian

As the on-pitch announcer underscored his mastery of the blindingly obvious by informing those in the stadium that there was an end-of-term feel to proceedings, Ellie the elephant began to perform a series of forward rolls. The silence was deafening.

This particular elephant should not forget that at clubs such as Leeds United the thinking has always been more about winning than providing entertainment. No one could ever accuse Leeds of being pretty: effective, yes; pretty, no.

© Guardian Media Group plc

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Jon Abbott (jon@leeds-fans.org.uk). Last modified $Date: 2003/07/20 11:09:23 $.