Round 6: Saturday 07 March 1998
Leeds United 0 - 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
(Half-time: 0 - 0)
Referee: P A Durkin (Portland)
|« Tottenham Hotspur
|Blackburn Rovers »
|Martyn, Radebe, Hiden, Molenaar, Harte, Kewell, Halle, Haaland, Ribeiro (Kelly 62), Hasselbaink, Wallace
|Beeney, Bowyer, Wetherall, Hopkin
|Segers, Muscat, Williams, Curle, Richards, Naylor, Robinson, Osborn, Goodman, Bull (Keane 80), Freedman
|Simpson, Atkins, Roberts, Stowell
|Hasselbaink missed pen (88)
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers
|Whale that's saved me a few hundred quid!
|Through the pain
|Random Thoughts from a black weekend
|Wolves' unlikely hero
|The Sunday Times
|Leeds stunned by Goodman
|Segers leaps into the mainstream
|The Electronic Telegraph
|Segers plays the saviour for Wolves
|Links to Reports on the net
|Soccernet match report
Well I can't argue that Wolves didn't deserve it, or that we didn't get exactly what we deserved from the game. Whilst I don't think that they'll go on to win the cup, they came to Leeds with a game plan and it worked. Man for man they battled harder than we did, and tactically they foxed GG. To hear our master tactician moaning after the game that the formation they had used on saturday was not the same as the one they had been using when he went on a spying mission last week is sad. They played 3-4-3. 3 large Chalfs who defended well, against an unintelligent attack, and 3 forwards who kept our defenders pressed back, and always hurried them into poor distribution.
Among the things that puzzled me were:
- the defensive line-up. I am the last person to argue against Lucas' reinstatement in the team, but the guy looked off the pace - jetlagged(?)- surely Wetherall, who will undoubtedly have been in training throughout his suspension, and who would have been fired up to go, would have been a better bet. And he won't have just played an international tournament in tropical heat.
- dropping Bowyer - he's an attacking midfield player who's just had his best game for ages, and we're the home, bigger team - we should have gone for it.
- the subbing of Bruno (unless he was injured), to bring on Kelly - move Hiden from RBack to CHalf, and push Lucas into midfield. This opens up all sorts of questions. 1. why take Bruno off, he was no worse than anyone else, and he was our only passer in the middle. 2. why put on a defender, which then 3. forces you to move a defender/defensive midfield player forward. 4. why not put Bowyer on? - if you were going to put Kelly on, why at RBack, and not Rmidfield for Halle, I presume the idea was to get Kelly going down the wing, and swinging crosses in. Or was GG settling for the draw with 60 mins to go? Well all that said we had enough chances to win it, and I suppose they could have scored a couple more. Harry stole a lose ball skipped around a defender, sped into the box, only for the keeper to save it. This plus a couple of breakaways from them that would have been dangerous had the final ball been any good, were the only highlights of the first half.
In the second half - Molenaar didn't hit the target with a free header from a corner - Alfie managed to completely miss the ball on the 6yard line after a knock back from Jimmy - and of course, Jimmy had a penalty saved - I'm not going to crib him about this, he hit it pretty well, low and hard, the keeper just got lucky. And besides Jimmy was the only one on our team that looked like he had the nous to get through or round the back 3.
From the TV replays, it looked their goal was down to Hiden failing to fill the gap left by BigBob as he went after a forward, Goodman slipped into the space, was found by a lovely little 10yd ball that took 3 of our defenders out, and he finished well.
The most worrying thing was how our heads went down well before the goal - we ran out of ideas - and so people stopped making runs, the passing became sloppy, and they lost belief that they could win. - Wolves never did.
MARTYN -5- little to do.
HIDEN -5- steady
HARTE -6- another good game.
RADEBE -5- poor by his standards
MOLENAAR -8- MOTM - solid, and battling.
HALLE -4- never in it.
HAALAND -5- played as much football in the first half as I've ever seen him play.
RIBEIRO -6- our only thoughtful player on the day
KEWELL -6- some flashes, but not enough.
WALLACE -4- nothing
JIMMY -7- tried and tried. Shame that a good intelligent performance will be overlooked because a keeper got lucky.
GG - only thing he did right was to drop Hopkin.
Crowd big and quiet. Need a bigger pub for list meets of this size...
Nick - who did not have whale curry on sat. night
PS - be ye wary of the word of the Soothsayer of Burnage who called this one right in the pub.
Worst performance of the day must be GGs. Now this isn't a call for his head etc, but picking Radebe, and leaving him on, when he was having his worst game for well over a year, was unbelieveable (not as much as the Sunday Mirror putting him in their team of the day mind you!). Taking off Bruno, our one potentially creative midfielder, then pushing Radebe into the middle was even worse! Simply stupid! And as for ur corner routine once he'd gone - well it was bad when he was there, but they might as well have got a steward to lash it over, so crap were they?
The rest?- Molenaar did well again, despite getting turned for the goal. Harte was OK, but he's not Premiership quality - we'll sell him soon I reckon, or part-exchange him! He's too slow, and too predictable - a shame that his promise seems unlikely to develop, but that's my judgement! Halle was OK, and Haaland tried, but how many defensive players can you play in one team? Up front we do have real problems. Let's start with Jimmy. I really want him to be the answer to our goal-scoring problems, but I think he flatters to deceive. Sometimes strong, but far too big a chip on his shoulder to be a real leader of the line. The penalty - he was caught, just, but it was a dive too. He's looking to dive at every opportunity, and I just hate to see someone in a Gods shirt act like this. He's a cheat, and a bad-tempered one at that! He also is far too arrogant for the modicum of talent he posseses. If I'd been Keith Curle I'd have taken the piss for that abysmal penalty. Jimmy's attempted head-butt, and he should have been sent off for it, showed him up for the childish git he is. The penalty, 2 feet off the ground and only 4/5 feet from the goalie was crap! It would have flattered us, just about, had we drawn, although I'd have been over-joyed, but it would have papered over the obvious cracks i.e. our lack of creativity. Our exit, if it brings one thing, may nudge GG into bringing in Da Yoof in what's now a nearly lost season. Let them try and get us into Yerp, and get them blooded properly, not for 2 minutes, but for an hour minimum. I've not yet mentioned the Plonker - he was f***ing rubbish again - like carrying a spare man carrying a crap handbag around!
Met Oddvar in the Adelphi later, so he does exist - looks like he hasn't missed many breakfasts!!!!
And saw that the West Stand Boys Pen had a couple chucked out for throwing their Beano's in the air in disgust - about time that corner grew up!
oy - GG - play Matthews & McPhail from the start against Blackburn. And if we want some pace, we could do worse than chuck Andy Wright in for the last 15!
The Southampton defeat was simple - Nige cost us the game and several players were eminently crap. The trouble with the Wolves game is our shortcomings were not so easily attributable. I dare say we've played like that 50 times before, and 30-35 times won the game. There just seems to be a general malaise in our side of nearly players. Too many people who are nearly quality but not quite. Too many players nearly breaking the last tackle, too many players nearly producing a great pass.
In this catagory I would put - Harte, Molenaar, Halle, Haaland, Wallace, and possibly Jimmy.
Our only class players who really have it are Nige, Lucas, Kelly, Ribeiro, Kewell and I think on his day Wetherall.
For me the non-inclusion of Wetherall (who has been outstanding this season) was bizarre. He'd have been my first choice centre-back for this match. Similarly, leaving Kelly on the bench and playing a player as limited and one paced as Halle was foolish. Sure, Halle, in his limited way, had a good game v Spurs, but he hasn't got tghe quality of Kelly so why play him?
I would also have played Bowyer rather than Haaland, but I accept that is one of those selections that could go either way.
We had the chances on Satdi, and in a normal league game would certianly have scored, but we seemed frozen with nerves and tension atbthe vital moment. I also have to say as an ex-keeper, that Nige was poor on their goal. He went down far too early, and made it simple for Goodman, albeit he still finished very well.
I shall never, to thd day I die, understand why Ribeiro, our best midfielder and the one man capable of playing that killer pass, was taken off.
Looking forward - drop Molenaar and Halle and bring back Wetherall and Kelly for Blackburn. With Bruno and Rodney out - please take this chance to play one of the youngsters. Either give Matthews a game, or stick Kewell up front and play McPhail left-side of midfield.
The next 2 matches will decide our season. Come on Leeds!!!!
I am pretty surprised that most people didn't think we played too badly. I did! The thing was that as I think Dave said it was hard to put your finger on exactly what was wrong, but almost as soon as they kicked off I could tell that something was. I think it may have been fear, fear of losing, pressure of being favorites. I don't think they took it for granted, if anything they seemed quite the opposite, tentative and unsure that they could beat Wolves. It was not quite the CCC final again, but there was that same sense of under-playing.
They were second to everything, the approaches were good and then it went wrong, there were a couple of goal mouth scrambles where you just couldn't believe that the ball wouldn't go in. In all it seemed like some players just froze. The midfield in particular. Harry suddenly looked his age, Alfie ran about and took up good positions but the others couldn't get the ball to him, and Bruno and Halle were not helping. We didn't have enough width, and badly missed Kelly I thought, not only because of his pace but his attitude. He is always up for it, and that ought to be infectious.
Part of the problem was that nobody seemed to be willing or able to take responsibility for leadership out there. If others freeze then there has to be a captain to get them going. Weathers can do this, but not from the bench, unfortunately. All through the match things never felt quite right, the relative quiet of the crowd was proof of this. It wasn't like those October matches when however bad things seemed you just _knew_ that we'd pull it out in the end. It was quite the opposite on Saturday.
At the end of the match we all felt terrible. A bloke behind me said 'It makes you wish you were a little kid, then at least you could burst into tears'. That about summed it up for me. I moaned all the way home (sainthood points due to Mike for putting up with it). I sulked when we got home, swore at the cats, kicked the kitchen units (well it's better than the cats) refused food and drink and sat in a disconsolate lump of misery declaring that I hated the cup, football, GG, the players (with the exception of those that didn't get on), and never ever wanted to go to a cup match again. Even the next morning the sight of the previous day's paper predicting our 3-1 victory nearly caused me to burst into tears. (really!)
Why, I wonder did it hurt so much? I think because I had dared to hope that this year it might be going to happen. My earliest real memory of Leeds in the cup is the Sunderland debacle, and ever since then I have associated disappointment with the cup, and it hasn't proved me wrong. This year, fool that I was, I hoped it might. I
wonder how non-football fans live without something to mediate all the frustration of disappointments of life. The only sense I could make of my misery is that maybe footie acts like a sponge, and every time crappy things happen in your life it soaks them up, and so what get squeezed out when it all goes pear shaped in the cup is all the misery that the hope of better things footie wise was hiding. Pretentious maybe, but I think it's true. Maybe that's why the cup seems so cruel, since there is no next week, as there is in the league, it's all or, more usually, nothing. But despite it all, think I will be there next year, probably.
It's really important now how the players react to the disappointment. I would put Weathers and Bowyer straight back in as they will want to prove a point, ditto the kids. The GG has to decide who has coped best with the disappointment and drop then mopers and pick those who are willing to roll up the sleeves and graft to get onto Europe. Now we'll see how far the much vaunted team spirit will carry them. Oh yes, and we need to put someone on the edge of the 18 yard box if we are going to keep over hitting corners!
Claire wrote :
>Part of the problem was that nobody seemed to be willing >or able to take responsibility for leadership out there. If others >freeze then there has to be a captain to get them going. Weathers >can do this, but not from the bench, unfortunately.
This thought crossed my mind as I drove home from work on Saturday afternoon listening to R5 Live, with no Hopkin and Wetherall on the bench who was captain ? Seeing the Sky highlights later that afternoon I saw that Nigel was captain for the day.
Much as I admire Nigel and what he does for the club, I've never been an advocate of the keeper being captain, he's just too far removed from half of the game (except for the last couple of minutes on Saturday in Nigels case) to be able to exert any influence.
Based on the starting lineup, some of whom I don't think I'll ever understand, I'd have opted for Lucas or perhaps Mad Alfie as captain.Perhaps with an outfield player marshalling the team more things might have been different. (oh the benefit of hindsight)
I got home form work, but couldn't tear myself away from the car radio to dash indoors, neither could I sit still in the car the tension seemed so great, so I spent a fruitless Saturday afternoon driving round Dorset listening to the game. Which resulted in perhaps the most bizarre encounter between Leeds fan and police officer for the day.
Shortly after Jimmy had the penalty saved, there was a tap on the drivers window, I wound it down to be confronted by a police mans face "Are you intending to sit here swearing all day sir?" came the question, apparently I'd sat at a set of traffic lights for over 4 minutes listening to the penalty build up and then the fracas that occurred after it. Fortunately the officer in question saw the funny side and let me go on my way despite having failed to move forward for two green lights !
Maybe some good will come of us not progressing in the cup, perhaps those that hold the money at the club, will see that George hasn't quite got the team right yet (as we all know) and will release some more funds for him to spend on players.
I had a Portsmouth fan come up to me at woprk this morning and offer his consolations which made a change from the ribbing I've had of every one else, he reckoned it was better to lose in the quarter final than the semi, which I suppose is right in a way.
Why does the cup have such an emotional effect on us all ? I've felt completely drained these last two days, almost as if a loved one had died, although perhaps in a way that's what happened at 4.45pm on Saturday. . . .
Oh well there's always next year.
Who says the FA Cup is short on romance? Cometh the hour, cometh the unlikely hero.
Don Goodman, Leeds born and a fan of the Elland Road club as a boy, thought it was him. He will hardly be able to improve on the exquisite finish with which he put Wolves into an 82nd-minute lead, which at the time looked likely to take Wolves into their first semi-final for 17 years.
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