Leeds United FC

FA Carling Premiership
Game 01: Saturday 15 August 1998

Middlesbrough 0 - 0 Leeds United

(Half-time: 0 - 0)
Crowd: 34162
Referee: D Elleray (Harrow)

Opposition FC
    Blackburn Rovers »

Match Facts
  Teams Unused Subs
Leeds United Martyn, Hiden, Harte, Radebe, Molenaar, Haaland, Bowyer, Hopkin, Kewell, Sharpe (Lilley 69), Wijnhard Beeney, Ribeiro, Wetherall, Granville
Middlesbrough Schwarzer, Fleming, Gordon, Mustoe (Maddison 46), Gascoigne, Merson, Moore (Beck 78), Stamp, Townsend, Harrison, Stockdale Beresford, Kinder, Ricard
  Scorers Other Info
Leeds United    
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
Leeds United Bowyer, Molenaar  
Middlesbrough Gascoigne  

Match Statistics
  Leeds United Middlesbrough
Corners won 7 3
Shirt numbers of goalscorers 0 0
Yellow cards 2 1
Red cards 0 0

Match Reports
Fans' Reports
Matt G Boro
John Brauns Boro thoughts
Newspaper/Newswire/Net Reports
The Guardian Merson stands above mass as Boro trundle back
The Electronic Telegraph Gascoigne's mixed bag gives Boro some belief
The Times Gascoigne clings to fading glories as trouble crowds in on all sides
The Sunday Times Black day for Gascoigne
Express Sport Gazza steals show for the wrong reasons
The Independent on Sunday Gazza opens new book
The Independent Gazza must start playing the game
The Yorkshire Evening Post George hits out at his strikers
Soccernet Soccernet match report
Carlingnet Carlingnet match report

Boro - Matt G

Well a new season, football in the sunshine, endearing image, jumpers for goalposts and all that.

A good start - Should have won the game, loads of possession, especially in the 1st half, but no real cutting edge to make it count, hopefully Jimmy will sort that out.

Team passed the ball well, very few balls hoofed out of defence, always looked for Sharpe or Hiden out wide and Wijnhard was availabe for the ball into feet. Promising.

Played 4-4-2 Hiden right back, Hopkin right-midfield, Sharpe left side and Kewell sort of floating behind Clyde until Sharpe went off and he went back to left-midfield.

Scores on the doors:

Martyn 7 - Did what little was needed without fuss.
Hiden 8 - Excellent game, got up the wing well, filling the big hole left in front of him.
Harte 7 - Pretty solid, though caught for pace a couple of times in the 2nd half, but comfortable on the ball and nearly scored from a corner.
Molenaar 7 - Made some good tackles, but I still feel that he only has to make them because he was out of position, slow to react in the first place.
Radebe 9 - Easily MOTM, superb as usual, whoever said we have no world class players hasn't been paying attention.
Hopkin 6 - Had a decent game in centre midfield, just a shame he was meant to be playing right midfield, more than once the ball went across to the far post where you would expect the right-hand side player to be and no-ne was there. Apart from one attack from the corner flag in the last few minutes - never got wide and attacked the full-back.
Haaland 8 - Usual solid unspectacular performance but seemed to get stronger as the game went on and still running forward to the end.
Bowyer 8 - Excellent game, charged all over the place, didn’t let getting booked after 3 minutes stop him from tackling, always getting forward. Went down like a sack of spuds when Gascoigne lifted his arm.
Sharpe 7 - Some nice touches, nice to see a proper winger, he often had his heels on the left touchline, but looked tired in 2nd half and was subbed.
Kewell 7 - Looked most likely source of goal when he ran with the ball, but wasn't quite at his best
Wijnhard 7 - Promising debut, held ball up well, perhaps a bit too unselfish in the penalty area. Passed where Jimmy would have shot.
Lilley 7 - Better than usual - last 20 mins for Sharpe, nearly scored with about 5 minutes left, but hit it early without the confidence to take the ball on.

Boro 5 - Very poor, Merson virtually on his own up front, (your supposed to be at home), Gazza slow and off the pace. There for the taking.

Ref - Elleray - Crap

And a big hand for Teesside police - it takes long enough to get there (can someone ban caravans from the A1) without being held up waiting for an escort to the ground that leaves it to the last minute, so we only just made kick- off.

Boro thoughts - John Brauns

First half we pretty much dominated, but as often, lacked the fire-power. Second half I though we were still on top, but Boro looked a little better. The only time I though we really looked hungry for goals was the last 15-20 minutes. I thought Sharpe seemed confused about his role, and on one occasion Harry I think yelled at him to get on the left wing for a free-kick when he was in the centre, and the ball was then played harmlessly to the centre. But Harry, Sharpe, Clyde, Hopkin, and Bowyer did quite a lot of sharp, fast, backwards and forwards passing just outside the area which usually went nowhere but looked like it could break down defences if it's done right, and someone had the guts to shoot. On this last point I thought Harry seemed particularly unwilling to have a go. Defence was good, and once again, the word awesome was repeated quietly when Lucas stamped his authority. (Can I reopen the "how good is Lucas thread". He is simply, very, very, good). We definitely missed Jimmy, and Clyde only got away from his markers (can't remember their names but played 2 & 3 and were very solid for Boro) in the last ten minutes or so. Looks promising when he gets used to the team and the premiership. Nigel held one sharp shot (Merson?) which went straight to him, otherwise had little to do. Anyway, we dropped two points but I left feeling OK and confident for the season.

The journey with Alan ("I'll drive if you like John" - "no, Al - I'm not letting you drive my car into a tree") Edgar was pleasant. Set off from the Latvian Club one hour late due to the usual reasons - beer and women - and still had time to stop off at mi mums for a good fry up brunch. We arrived in Boro but couldn't park in the nearby car parks, so drove through the back streets until we found a side street next to a pub. So, it's 14:20, we're 15 minutes walk from the ground, and the pub is almost empty! So a pint and a game of pool filled those spare minutes. The journey home was uneventful. Just the usual bollocks from David Mellor.

Merson stands above mass as Boro trundle back - Danny Taylor

Copy from Football Guardian of 16/08/1998.

With all eyes on the controversial midfielder, the only performance of class came from Paul Merson in an uninspiring encounter which will hardly have whet the appetites of supporters from either side, many of whom were heading for the exit gates long before the final whistle.

It was ironic that Middlesbrough marked their Premier League return against the same opposition that sealed their fate on that last, ultimately tearful, foray into football's top flight. Then, the Teessiders needed nothing less than victory to survive at Leeds on the final day of the season. They drew, and trips to Old Trafford and Anfield were replaced by the Nationwide A-Z. The image of an inconsolable Juninho sitting alone on the Elland Road pitch at the final whistle has haunted supporters ever since.

© Guardian Media Group plc

Jon Abbott (jon@leeds-fans.org.uk). Last modified $Date: 2003/07/20 11:09:43 $.