Leeds United FC FA Cup
Round 5: Saturday 14 February 1998

Leeds United 3 - 2 Birmingham City

(Half-time: 2 - 0)

Crowd: 35463
Referee: D J Gallagher (Banbury)
Birmingham City FC
 
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Match Facts
  Teams Unused Subs
Leeds Martyn, Kelly, Maybury (Harte 67), Wetherall, Halle, Bowyer, Ribeiro, Haaland, Kewell, Wallace, Hasselbaink Shepherd, Matthews, McPhail, Beeney
Birmingham City Bennett, Bass, Charlton, Bruce, Ablett, Grainger (Johnson 86), McCarthy, O'Connor, Forster (Devlin 72), Hughes, Ndlovu Forinton, Holland, Poole
  Scorers Other Info
Leeds Wallace 5, Hasselbaink 28, 87  
Birmingham City Ablett 63, Ndlovu 81  
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
Leeds Haaland, Wetherall, Hasselbaink  
Birmingham City Ndlovu, McCarthy, O'Connor  

Match Statistics
  Leeds Birmingham City
Corners won ? ?
Fouls committed ? ?
Hit woodwork ? ?
Offsides committed ? ?
Shirt numbers of goalscorers 8, 9, 9 ?
Yellow cards 3 3
Red cards 0 0

Match Reports
Fans' Reports
Mike Sewell Saturday
Nigel Sykes Brum Game
Nick Allen vs Birmingham
Adie T Sat
John Lee Land of the Gods calling!
Newspaper/Newswire Reports
The Guardian Hasselbaink brings late relief
The Sunday Times Hasselbaink ends brave fightback
The Times Graham glowing with thoughts of Wembley
The Electronic Telegraph Leeds keep supporters in suspense
Links to Reports on the net
Soccernet Soccernet match report

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Saturday - Mike Sewell

The day started well enough. There was a club statement in the programme condemning racist chanting. Gav, are you going to put it on your webpage?

Tactical geniuses our coaching team. I think we may now know why they don't rate young Harte --- someone should tell them he's left footed and not a right back. At the end of the game we had a right footed right back playing centre half, a right footed right back playing left back, and a left footed international centre back/left back playing right back. The best consequence of this was a sumptuous ball out of defence by Harte when his winger forced him onto his left foot.

A game of two halves - First half we were relaxed but largely in control. Their best moments came when they got corners whipped in under our crossbar, obstructed Martyn and used their height advantage, but not to much effect. Also Ndlovu fell over a good deal and one of theirs should have been sent off for leading with an elbow on Wetherall. We broke dangerously and played some more or less pretty stuff at times. Only managed three shots on goal though. Two were goals, both through the inside left channel, with Wallace and Hasselbaink linking superbly for the second.

Second half -- we were even more relaxed and it wouldn't have mattered if the one that hit the bar had gone in or if Rodders had finished a superb move by putting his close range shot the right side of the post. Then the Brummies won yet another corner and worked a near post move to score. It had been coming all afternoon. They did rattle in excellent crosses at corbners from both sides. They lifted their efforts, we got rattled, couldn't get back the superiority of the first half and paid the penalty when an Ndlovu shot from long range crept in. Big Nige at fault here, but Jimmy didn't tackle back very well, Harte didn't close down the threat, the midfield was AWOL, this dragged Wetherall out of position, Ndlovu cut inside him and had a clear shot on goal, if from a way out.

The doom sayers on Row W now predicted that we'd lose 2-4 or at best face a trip to St Andrew's. Braver hearts suggested that we'd nick it and we did start playing a bit better. Good move down our right, bad foul, excellent delivery from Bruno and Jimmy nodded the ball home. Was it the murderers' gloves? Very possibly, but only cos we'd taken them off again at 2-2.

The atmosphere was good, the game was exciting, but our capacity to ease off was worrying. Kewell was poor except for his pass to Wallace for the first goal.

Martyn -- looked edgy and was at fault with the 2nd goal.
Maybury -- Still has a good deal to learn. Replaced by Harte, who was probably a bit better going forward but was out too wide as their second goal built.
Kelly -- Decent job as a stand-in Centre Back. His pace and tackling were excellent.
Wetherall -- Coped well as ever. Didn't get on too wel with Ndlovu.
Halle -- Fairly solid if unspectacular. Didn't give the ball away as much as Davey, but less of a threat overlapping. Do we get a discount on the sponsorship when DR doesn't play?
Bowyer -- worked hard and showed some nice touches.
Haaland -- a mad lunge to get an unnecessary booking, failed to clear off the line, not brilliant but still better than Hopkin for my money. Excellent job twatting the idiot who ran onto the pitch. Stewards arrived very late. Ribeiro -- when he's involved he's good, but he tended to fade out of the game at times.
Kewell -- Not at his best.
Wallace -- lively and committed. Passed the ball a few times. Missed a sitter.
Hasselbaink -- I look forward to more cartwheels.

Overall -- we did enough (just) to get through without looking brilliant.

Man of the Day: Peter Ridsdale. Made calls to 606 redundant with a good performance there himself. He disassociated LUFC from the racists, said they had no place at Leeds, promised to use CCTV to root out those who sang racist songs at Leicester, and said that racist chants would lead to people being banned from home and away games. Best of all, he encouraged the real fans to use the hotline to tell the club seat numbers and/or to get the stewards to act. He clearly thinks it is right to ban racist chanting. He's talked a good game now let's hope that the club backs the words up with actions.

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Brum game - Nigel Sykes

A bit of a hazy memory of only my third live game of the season, due to far too many pints of Tet's in the Adelphi before the game, but here goes:

First half not too bad, but the Brum midfield chased and harried everything and got more than their fair share of the 50/50's. Despite not creating much in the way of chances from open play they somehow managed a shitload of corners though and we looked well dodgy at every one of them, especially the ones from our right side. Martyn obviously decided that having an unmarked player standing a foot in front of him wasn't a problem. Hmmm.

Ndlovu did cause a few problems, and succeeded in winding up mild-mannered David Wetherall to a never before seen frenzy of aggression. So, after Ndlovu had been booked for diving in the area this culminated innevitably in Dave getting booked for a rash challenge a few minutes later.

Wallace's well taken early goal was remarkable in that surely 90% of the supporters didn't expect him to score when he was through on goal (I know it surprised me). Jimmy's first was a peach after some nice interchanging with Wallace on the edge of the area.

So, half time and 2-0. Flattering in the extreme, and it must have been very difficult for Brum to accept after all the hard work they'd put in.

When the match restarted, Leeds didn't. Brum continued as before and Leeds sat on their collective arses and let them get into the game. No sooner had the words "they're bound to get one of these in soon" left my lips than it was 2-1. Martyn, still unable to get past his 'blocker' was inneffectual as yet another corner from our right was ably put away by Ablet.

Leeds replaced Maybury with Harte at some stage, but you wouldn't really have noticed the difference. We also adopted a strange midfield formation with Bruno and Kewell playing way back deep leaving Bowyer and Alfie to do the attacking stuff. Wierd.

Wallace had a header deflected onto the underside of the bar by the keeper and then later put one wide when it looked easier to score after a fabulous through ball to Alfie was crossed with precision to the unmarked Plonker's feet.

Spurred on, Brum went in search of another, and thanks to a distinct lack of challenges ("Like the f**king Red Sea parting" as my mate Rob said) Ndlovu was given the opportunity to strike one from well outside the box and beat Martyn in the bottom corner. 2-2 with 9 minutes left and there looked like there would only be one winner (clue: they weren't in white).

Jimmy's winner came as a huge relief given the circumstances. It came from a Bruno free kick, although he and Bowyer almost shagged that up too as neither of them seemed to know who was going to take it - and no, I don't think it was planned that way. Jimmy apparently punched and stood on his marker to get to the header - good on him. The cartwheel's still not improving though.

Full time and we were very lucky to be safely through to the quarter finals. Brum deserved at least to get a replay.

Scores on the doors:

Martyn: 5 - Why didn't he sort out the 'blocker' at the corners?
Halle: 5 - Woeful really.
Maybury: 6 - Not too noticable.
Harte: 6 - Hard to spot the difference from Maybury.
Kelly: 7 - Did well at Centre Back, but a few worrying back-headers.
Wetherall: 8 - Troubled by Ndlovu but showed lots of heart.
Haaland: 6 - Fit...
Bowyer: 4 - Oh dear.
Kewell: 4 - Couldn't wait to get off. The worst he's played.
Bruno: 7 - Class, but out of place deep as in the 2nd half.
Wallace: 7 - Give him 6 chances and he'll score 1.
Jimmy: 8 - doesn't really look much special but keeps bagging 'em.

Leeds fans: 4 - very quiet and no anti-racism songs.
Brum fans: 9 - very noisy, even when 2-0 down.

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vs Birmingham - Nick Allen

Well we made this a lot more difficult than it needed to be. I thought Brum played some pretty good football, they came to attack, played with two wingers, and had decent passers of the ball in the middle. Of course they had Steve Bruce as well...

We lined up with one Chalf and 3 right backs. Maybury played Rback, Kelly played Chalf, and Halle gave us a new position for this season - a left back. The defence played well, Kelly looked a lot more comfortable as sweeper against a footballing team in contrast to the struggle he had last week under Leicester's aerial bombardment, and Halle - for the first 60 mins at least - looked good. Harte came on for Maybury for the last 20, and for my money didn't put a foot wrong. Won everything in the air, was strong in the tackle and his distribution was excellent - makes you wonder why GG doesn't like him.

Up front Jimmy and Rod were getting the ball to feet, notably from Bruno and Harry, and were reaping the rewards, slick passing and movement, and just generally too quick for Brum's defence.

Our main worry was their corners/free kicks - they were lethal from them. They must have had 15-18 corners, and every one was dropped right under the crossbar, with about 5 Brum players clossing in, our only defence was for Nige to flap it as far away as possible - they were bound to score from one in the end.

Goals:

Leeds 1 - Bruno picks up the ball in his own half, jinks around a couple of tackles and lays it out to Harry, who flicks it on down the line to a charging Rod, he beats the defender for pace, and shoots across the keeper into the far corner.

Leeds 2 - Again through the inside left, Bruno, Harry, Jimmy dummies, Rod flicks intot he box first time, and Jimmy leathers it inside the near post. So far so eay.

Then there was a lot of tooing and froing without much end result apart from corners. A minute or two inot the second half, we had a corner which was a right old scramble, and looked to cross the line - although the replays on TV didn't help any.

Brum 1- a corner - of course - Ablett flicked in at the near post.

Brum 2 - Ndlovu - their best player - picks it up 30 yds out, and lashes it into the bottom corner. Strange for Nige to get beaten from so far out.

10 mins to go

3 mins from time. Out on the right wing LeeBowya goes between two defenders looking for the freekick, and Lo he gets it, Bruno steps up left foot to the back post and Jimmy gets enough of it to flick it inside the post. Cartwheel ensues. It was a right old tug of war for Jimmy to get there - Francis in the paper says " He punched the defender in the eye, and stamped on his foot to get to that ball" - tough.

POINTS -

MARTYN -7- Had a lot to do from the corners and mainly did it.
MAYBURY -6- A comfortable game with some good support play up the wing.
HALLE -6- We had a left back ...
WETHERALL -7- very solid again. Lost his rag in great style after Ndlovu had dived over him trying for a penalty. went ballsitic for 10 mins. proceeded to twat anything that moved in the Leeds half - single handedly kept Brum in their own half through fear alone.
KELLY-8- excellent game, loads of covering tackles, and good distribution.
HAALAND -4- Our worst player, his only cntribution was to jump on some nodder who'd invaded the pitch without any hindrance from Showsec.
BOWYER -6- still trying to do too much too soon.
BRUNO -6- involved in most of our good moves in the first half.
KEWELL -6- part of the good linking down the left.
WALLACE -7- best game for 3 months , very lively, and a good finish.
JIMMY -8- really is beginning to look the part, as well as the finishing, he's putting in a lot more effort around the park - and isn't moaning as much.
HARTE -7- Why isn't he on from the start ?

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Sat - Adie T

Well what can be said about the game other than we were class in the first half and totally crap in the second. Even the crowd took the proberbial (sp) foot off the gas with a mexican wave starting after an hour.

First goal didn't see other than in the bar at half time, second came about after a neat(for us any way) passing move with a good finish from Jimmy. They looked a threat always thanks to class delivery at corners and through the pace and diving of Ndlove (however its spelt)

Second half we looked as though we had the game won and not even H had his tea so they were allowed to get back into the game and started to look very dangerous. They scored 2 Nige IMO should have stopped the second Roger would have saved it and Tinman would have held it.

Then with me claiming we would be lucky to only lose 3-2 we got a free kick myself and Dr.W said that Wetherall would score. Well jimmy did and RowW went mad(well madder than normal)

Scores Etc

Nigel 6 - Dealt well with the crosses should have saved the second, touch of the Blind Johns with some kicks
Maybury 6 - Looks a good player but inexperience shows in the big games
Kelly 7 - Settled in well in the middle pace was a help
Wetherall 7 - Class in the first half fell away with the rest of the team in the second. Should be the captain even when Hopkin is back
Halle 6 - steady but not in the class of Davie
Daft Alfie 6 - crap on the park though took out the idiot well
Bruno 6 -battled well but better on the wing
Bowyer 6 - steady
H 6 - better when he played upfront, had to cover for Halle more than for Davie
Jimmy 8 MOM - good goals. did any one see the incident Francis was on about?
Plonker 7 - took his goal well should have had another in the second when the murderers gloves were on
Harte 6 - surprised them when our 'right' back caressed a pass with his left foot

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Land of the Gods calling - John Lee

Well, as I slammed my head into my arms when Ndlovu scored from a good 25 yards with a shot that the whole of the ground apart from Nigel Martyn could see, I could scarcely believe that a team so crap could be level with us. I thought we set out to contain them, simply wait for a decent break and carry out the job with as little fuss as possible. Rodneys goal did just that, Jimmy's was the icing on the cake. Brum simply hoiked the ball long - Christ, they made us look sophisticated at times - and their forwards had the control of a Rodney/Bambi man-beast type thing! They were crap. However, their corners were brilliant - in fact we should go and buy whoever was whapping them in, cos as others noted, sooner or later you're bound to score from one. That done, we semed incapable of raising the pace until we were at 2-2. Best move of the game, a series of first touches with Alfi careering down the right provided the Plonker with the perfect opportunity to prove that his first half clear miss was no fluke - he f***ing did it again from 2 yards out! A bit of nail biting before Jimmy finally sorted it out with a bit of ruff & tumble and a tension-filled cartwheel. I thought the game was a bit crap really, despite plenty of positive comments. I thought our passing, barring a couple of good moves, to be poor, our movement pathetic, and our midfield pretty anonymous. Bruno and Haaland in the middle doesn't work, or didn't on Satdi. The number of times Brum got straight onto our centre-backs was frightening - if they'd have had a decent forward we'd have lost! I actually think we'll get to Wemberlee though, but I need to find some lucky food very quickly indeed!

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Hasselbaink brings late relief - John Wilford

Copy from Football Guardian of 15/02/1998.
Read the full report in The Football Guardian

Leeds' assisted passage into the quarter-finals - three home ties against First Division sides - ran into choppy water against in-form Birmingham.

At half-time, you wouldn't have given the Blues a prayer: 2-0 down and seemingly bemused by the pace of the Leeds attack, they looked dead and buried. But goals from Ablett and their outstanding performer Ndlovu got them back on level terms and set up a final 10 minutes of Cup-tie cut and thrust the previous 80 had never suggested.

© Guardian Media Group plc

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