Leeds United FC FA Carling Premiership
Game 2: Monday 24 August 1998

Leeds United 1 - 0 Blackburn Rovers

(Half-time: 1 - 0)

Crowd: 30652
Referee: D J Gallagher (Banbury)
Blackburn Rovers FC
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Match Facts
  Teams Unused Subs
Leeds Martyn, Hiden, Molenaar, Radebe, Harte, Hopkin, Bowyer, Haaland, Kewell, Hasselbaink, Wijnhard (Sharpe 83) Beeney, Wetherall, Ribeiro, Granville
Blackburn Rovers Filan, Kenna, Henchoz, Peacock, Davidson, Perez, Sherwood, Flitcroft, Wilcox (Gallagher 78), Davies (Dahlin 78), Sutton Fettis, McKinlay, Dailly
  Scorers Other Info
Leeds Hasselbaink Lee Sharpe makes his return to Elland Road after over a year
Blackburn Rovers    
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
Leeds Harte, Hiden  
Blackburn Rovers Henchoz  
Match Statistics
  Leeds Blackburn Rovers
Corners won 10 8
Fouls committed 11 15
Hit woodwork 0 0
Offsides committed 1 3
Shirt numbers of goalscorers 9 0
Yellow cards 2 1
Red cards 0 0
Match Reports
Fans' Reports
Guy Bonello Armchair report
Nick Allen vs Blackburn
John Lee Lower the flags, the end has come
Andy King First Home Win
Dave Woolmer Waddle-in-exile
Chris Wright Prejudices aired so early in the season
Newspaper/Newswire/Net Reports
The Guardian ??
The Electronic Telegraph Hasselbaink's goal enough to give Leeds the edge
The Times Hasselbaink makes the difference
Express Sport Jimmy's back in business
The Independent Clyde looks to Dutch Master
Yorkshire Evening Post 'baink account open
Soccernet Soccernet match report
Carlingnet Carlingnet match report

Armchair report - Guy Bonello

3 points in the bag. that reallt summed up the game as neither side shone in a scrappy game. a brilliant 1-2 between Jimmy and Clyde decided the game and then Leeds held out for the points.

Scores on the doors:

Martyn: 7
Flapped at a couple of crosses, comfortably saved a couple of long-range efforts and made 1 brilliant save tipping perez's header over.

Hiden: 5
He is NOT a right-back and was continually skinned by Wilcox. Not comfortable going forward. Rightly booked.

Harte: 5
Again, not confortable at left-back. why does GG leave Granville on the bench and insist on playing Robbo Jr!!!

Radebe: 8
MOTM. A rock, not 1 tackle misplaced. If he played for any of the big name sides, he would be earning rave reviews in all the press>

Molenaar; 7
A couple of dodgy moments, including 1 slice against the bar, but in general, dealt with Sutton.

Bowyer: 7
Usual busy game, chasing and harrying and closing down play. Also got forward a lot.

Hopkin: 6
Not comfortable at right midfield. does not have the pace (or confidence?) to take on the full-backs.

Haaland: 7
Same as Bowyer. Had one good chance, blocked by keeper.

Wijnhard: 6
Quiet game, apart from brilliant pass to Jimmy for the goal.

Jimmy: 7
Took goal very well. Could have passed a bit more, especially one chance with 2 men free to his left.Risked a red with a elbow smash into Wilcox's face caught by cameras but luckily not by the ref.

Harry: 7
Woke up in the 2nd half when he pushed forward more and took on the B'burn full-back.

Sharpe(on for Clyde) 6
only on for 10 minutes but looked dangerous and hungry.

Ref: 8
Good game

Crowd: noisy, and behind the team for the full 90 mins

Best chant: "You'll never play for England" Chris Sutton

vs Blackburn - Nick Allen

It depends whether you see the glass as half empty or half full. This was either a brave rearguard action, or a team clinging on by its finger nails. I thought we were lucky to get all three points, but then winning when not playing particularly well is supposed to be the sign of a good team. Time will tell.

The problems were; Martyn while pulling off some world class saves from shots and headers, still flaps hopelessly at corners - and they sussed this out early as they whipped in a succession of wicked dipping corners. ; Hiden got no cover at all from Hopkin and was frequently left 2 on 1; the midfield as a unit was neither use nor ornament. The midfield formed a straight line across the pitch which went up and down without ever getting close to Blackburn. There was little tackling, and when we got the ball we were worse. Given away cheaply, a hurried boot up the field to no-one in particular, we have no brains, no boss in midfield, still. Bowyer had a good solid game and was certainly the pick of our midfield, long runs, some good link play, and some excellent last ditch tackling. But then Haarland and Hopkin are notionally very similar players, so we have three of a type in the middle. Two of who, last night, did nothing of note. I don't know if Bruno's still injured, but the sooner he is restored to the centre of midfield the better we'll look as a team.

The defence was under siege at times, as a direct result of how bad the midfield was. That said the back 4 had reasonably solid games. Harte looks to have spent the whole summer working on his positional play, and he looked a lot better for it, Hiden despite the odd lapse in concentration was pretty good, and even overlapped a few times, to good effect. Molenaar still has his odd disastrous lapse - like attempting to clear from your own penalty spot, only to rifle the volley onto your own crossbar, with the keeper beaten. He still looks too ponderous for this level of football, I would pick Weatherall every time over him - especially after Bob's Hulk Hogan impression to the Kop before the game.

Lucas was regal.

Clyde and Jimmy looked promising, linking well for a good goal. Jimmy broke through a couple of tackles, played a one two with Clyde, and finished low under the keeper.


MARTYN 3 on crosses; 7 on shots.
HIDEN 6 solid
HARTE 7 learning quickly
MOLENAAR 6 squad player
RADEBE 9 the saviour
BOWYER 7 non-stop, the heart of the midfield.
HAALAND/HOPKIN 3 pointless non-entity
KEWELL 4 five minutes of scintilating wing play every ninety minutes isn't enough
WIJNHARD 6 promising
JIMMY 7 see most of last season, with added effort - good goal. - what he's playing at standing in front of the throw in takers is anybodys guess.

GG - too stubborn, but its a winning team, so what do I know.

CROWD - 30 000 - shit, but they made some noise for once.

PS - you'd think they could afford a mike that works for the nodder at half time... although then again perhaps its better that way.

Lower the flags, the end has come - John Lee

Da game - well, step back in amazement, but I quite enjoyed missen! Although I jested on the way to the ground of my quiet pessimism for the upcoming season, the sight of the unpainted steps flaking nicely and the unwashed seats (FOR F*CKS SAKE, COULDN'T THEY AT LEAST HAVE WASHED THE SH*T OF THE SEATS IN THE CLOSE SEASON - PATHETIC!!!) lifted my spirits no end! I think you'd have to say we rode our luck a bit - their midfield seemed classier than ours, and they seemed to be running right through us in the early part of the game (Perez especially), but Hopkin, Haaland and Bowyer fought like lunatics! Up front Clyde looks quite promising - physically about the same size as Jimmy but a bit stockier, but held the ball up well, laid of one or two ace balls, not least the pass to Jimmy for the goal, and also likes to put himself about a bit. In a 2 minute spell in the 2nd half he kicked Peacock on the Achilles heel area, with the ball and ref nowhere around (Peacock went to elbow him but thought better of it, the big donkey!), and then 30 secs later Clyde was wrestling with their other centre back! Fun to watch, and their defenders didn't seem to like this much! It was in defence where we were at our most `interesting' though. Radebe, aside from a 5 minute spell where Sutton seemed to get his head/foot to everything, was ace, and made last ditch tackle after last ditch tackle. And why? Well Molenaar and Harte had `reasonable' games (for them), but there was a lot of backing off going on, forwards getting shots in when they shouldn't have, and some defending of the `Don't panic Capt Mannering' school! Molenaars sliced volley which thudded into our own goal at the Kop end was a key example - he was so bloody lucky! Martyn had an excellent game! Blackburns corners were wicked - low hard inswingers, and we looked likely to concede every time one came in! The crowd was crap - 30,652 - and not much atmosphere!

Some scores

Martyn 8 - some good saves, especially a push over the top from a goal-bound Perez header!
Hiden 7 - caught out of position once or twice, but still a good player!
Radebe 8+ - would've been a 9 but for his dodgy spell!
Molenaar 6+ - dodgy defending and some abysmal distribution
Harte 6
Hopkin 6+ - still can't recognise a white shirt! Better game than normal though, and had a couple fo shots blocked too!
Haaland 6+ - whirling dervish of a player - unlucky not to score with one half chance
Bowyer 8 - ran around like a blue-arsed fly
Kewell - game of 2 halves - 1st half - 4 - looked out of position, uninterested 2nd half (post bollocking I presume) 7 - took men on, delivered some good crosses from the by-line!
Wijnhard 8 - very competitive, good lay offs, deceptively strong, potentially an important player for us!
Hasslebaink 7 - good goal, terrible first touch over and over again! Did the business though, and on first showing the Wijnhard/Jimmy combo seems OK, although Clyde may well end up chinning Jimmy if he keeps on whingeing! Jimmy also had a couple of VERY unconvincing dives!

Sharpe (for Clyde) - looked fit & strong, and is, quite bizarrely, amazingly popular with the fans!

And Blackburn - well Perez looks a good player - good runs from deep. Davies looks like the wrong man in the wrong team - too much like Sutton! Sutton whinged a lot (which forward doesn't) and looked the part but was generally taken care of my Cool Hand Luke! No-one else really impressed - they weren't as organised as us, or as flukey thank God!

First Home Win - Andy King

Hardly fortress Elland Road, but it was a win and a win without an all round good performance is reassuring.

Enjoyed my first visit to the virtual Kop that is IRC. The seats are clean, there's no crush at the bar, the pies are ok, and the beer's cheap !

Many of my thoughts have appeared on the list from others who saw the game.

So I'll just give ratings then go home.

Martyn 7
Didn't have much to do, flapped at corners, couple of outstanding saves which if he'd held the ball earlier he wouldn't have had to make, but solid enough.

Hiden 6
He's not Gary Kelly, but performed an adequate role at right back.

Molenaar 4
Had Blackburns best effort, seemed too slow and out of position for most of the game, thankfully Davies who he was supposedto be marking didn't look like 7.5 millions worth of talent, or he might have had more problems. There seemed to be a few communication problems between Nigel and Bob, looked to me as if Molenaar didn't hear any of Nigels calls for the ball.

Radebe 9 (MOTM)
Lucas was outstanding as per usual. I only saw him beaten once and he only made one mistake as far as I can remember. Pretty impressive when you consider he seemed to be doing Molenaars job most of the time as well. Lost count of the number of times he cleared up for others

Harte 8 (by his standards)
I wasn't a Harte fan, but after last nights performance, I'm willing to give him a chance. Looked far more composed than last season.

Hopkin 7
Back on the right wing where he started his career, looked fitter and faster, and didn't mess up as many passes as last year. Certainly appeared to be playing for his place.

Bowyer 8
Up and down the pitch all night, Lee always plays with committment, and last night was no exception. Couple of good chances, including the 40 yd screamer early on.

Haaland 6
Seemed to have a quiet game, but still battled hard in midfield, if only his chip had been slightly higher over Filan in the 2nd half.

Kewell 6
Again another one quiet by his standards of last season, tracked back well. Came out for the 2nd half more like the player of last season, took up a free role up front when Sharpey came on for Clyde, looked happier there imo.

Hasselbaink 7
Very well taken goal. Looked as if he'd put on a pairof boots left behind by Rod in the 1st half as he proceeded to miskick and fall overquiet a lot. Seems deetermined to prove he's no one season wonder - which is fine by me.

Wijnhard 6
neat interplay with Jimmy for the goal, once he's fully settled in the premiership I reckon it'll be quiet a combination those two up front.

Sharpe 6 (On for Clyde)
Only on for 10 mins, but impressed me in that time (despite the hair). Another one who's playing for a starting place. The competition there is in the squad can, I hope, only be good for the team.

Being a S Coast part timer I'm in no position to comment on the crowd (but they were quiet)

Waddle-in-exile - Dave Woolmer

For an early season match, with players still settling back in, I thought it was a reasonably good performance and an excellent result. Agree with those who say some on the list are being unfair to certain players they have preconceived dislike of.

I thought Harte had a good game. Alright he's not world class, but all the fools who are saying "bring back Robbo" have clearly got incredibly short memories..... Hiden did ok for a centre-back playing out of his natural position - a definite step up from Halle, and as long as Kelly isn't out for months, he'll do alright.

Less convinced by BigBob - what precisely has Wetherall done wiong? As soon as we face pacy skillful strikers BigBob will be exposed.

Hopkin - well he's better than last season (which isn't really a great statement). Still not really up to the mark, and he suffers from the fact that in Bowyer, Halland and him we have the same player 3 times, and Hopkin does it least well. Where's Bruno?

Bringing Ribeiro in would also make it easier for Kewell to play in a freer role, as Bruno could cover for him effectively down the left when required.

I thought Clyde did pretty well considering what a huge leap in standard he will have just encountered, and remembering how long it took Jimmy to adapt, I think we will see him develop nicely.

Words alone cannot describe Lucas's performance- Sky were practically ordering people phoning up to vote for MOTM (what kind of sad people do that?) to vote for Lucas.

Prejudices aired so early in the season... - Chris Wright

Disappointing to see listers putting the boot into Harte and Hopkin so early in the season.

For my money, Harte had a surprisingly good game - he has obviously worked his socks off this summer, and on this showing deserves to keep Granville on the bench.

Hopkin too is vastly improved - in fact the only period Leeds looked classy was the ten minutes one leading up to the goal, when a lot of the action was coming from the right hand side.

Hiden seems to be coping reasonably well in the right back role, willing to move forward and getting more involved. Last year his best performances were in tidying up central defence - this is a completely different role and while I agree he looks unfamiliar with it, he does seem effective.

It wasn't pretty, but we were playing one of our main rivals, who came with a point to prove. I think we did a good job in keeping a clean sheet, not such a good job in keeping possession. We broke from defense a lot quicker than they did - this is a continuation of last years tactics. We seem happy to let the opponents have possession in non threatening areas. We let them come on to us, and hit them on the break. When I first saw this practised at Elland Road, I spent ninety minutes in a state of near panic - memories of the Wilko years and the ball playing mastery of Fairclough and Whyte. The reason that Molenaar is preferred to Weatherall iis simply that he makes a better job of bringing the ball out of defense. (Although his first half headless chicken impression did nothing for my confidence)

This is a point I've made before, but every time I read someone wittering on about 'we need a player who can put their foot on the ball....' I wonder which league they think we play in. Anyone putting their foot on the ball last night would have been a liability. Teams like Blackburn and Leeds do not allow the opposition the luxury of sizing the situation up. This is why McPhail is experiencing difficulties. The pace of the premiership demands Ball skills, Fitness and quick thinking, the days of the strolling midfield maestro are gone - Bryan Robson is one of the only managers in the League who is building a midfield around one player. Who performs this role for Arsenal? Manchester United? Ideally, we want another Gordon Strachan, not another Gary McAllister.

Last night was a good result, we out fought a strong and determined side who have spent heavily and possess a very astute coach. The goal was excellent and significantly, Blackburn ran out of attacking ideas toward the end, hoofing hopeless balls long and lacking any dangerous penetration.

There have been times during matches, when we are 0-1 and the opposition sit back and defend in depth, that you just know that short of a miracle, we won't score. For a Blackburn fan, I imagine last night must have felt pretty much like that. They certainly didn't deserve a goal, because they couldn't construct a decent chance. We on the other hand fashioned three gilt edged chances ( The goal, Haaland and Hasselbainck in the second half) and one near-thing-of-the-season (Bowyer).

All in all a good result from a less than elegant display.


Copy from Football Guardian of 25/08/1998.
Read the full report in The Football Guardian

© Guardian Media Group plc

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