Game 12: Sunday 8 November 1998
Leeds United 2 - 1 Sheffield Wednesday
(Half-time: 1 - 1)
Referee: K W Burge (Tonypandy)
|« AS Roma
|Leicester City »
|Martyn, Hiden, Wetherall (Wijnhard HT), Woodgate, Molenaar, Harte, Hopkin, Bowyer, McPhail (Haaland 75), Kewell, Hasselbaink
|Robinson, Halle, Ribeiro
|Pressman, Atherton, Thome, Walker, Hinchcliffe, Alexandersson, Jonk (Magilton 68), Sonner, Rudi, Booth, Humphreys (Newsome 79)
|Sanetti, Briscoe, Clarke
|Hasselbaink 39, Woodgate 61
|Jon Woodgate's first goal for Leeds
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers
|Land of the Gods calling!
|vs Sheff Wed
|In the kingdom of the blind...
|Leeds on Sky - every week please
|Pressman fashions Leeds win
|The Electronic Telegraph
|Leeds celebrate their good fortune
|Pressman takes over the mantle of fall guy
|Leeds 2 Sheff Wed 1
|Leeds victory hides flaws
|Yorkshire Evening Post
|O'Leary gets off the mark
|Soccernet match report
|Carlingnet match report
Some dogdgy decisions from the linesman but the ref let us off by:
- not giving a penalty for a Harte
challenge late in the game.
- not spotting Clyde's sly trip/push on Fat Bastard Pressman in Woodgate's winner.
On the whole, the usual performance where we still lack strength in midfield.All players' first touch was crap players did not seem comfortable on the ball and Eddie Gray needs to concentrate on this in training.
Martyn: 6 Quiet game, should have got
to the corner which led to their goal.
Hiden: 6 Also a quiet game. Better at full back than wing-back.
Woodgate: 7 Improving with every game. shame that Mad Dog is making him miss the next couple of games for some Mickey Mouse tourney.
Molenaar 8 My MOTM. A rock at the back.
Harte 6 Like Hiden,better at left back rather than wing-back as he has more support and cover when he pushes forward.
Wetherall 4 Crap, subbed at half-time. Sell him!!!!!!
Hopkin 7 Usual game, ran around a lot. Passing still poor.
Bowyer 8 Usual great game, chasing harrying and looking to go forward.
Kewell 7 Improved when switched to the wing, which I feel is his true position.
McPhail 6 Anonymous. Maybe it's time to give him a rest and bring back Bruno.
Jimmy 7 Getting better. Brilliant finish for his goal and seemed to enjoy having Clyde up front with him to take all the pressure off.
Clyde 7 A niggly bastard to face (A black Mark Hughes?). Should be given a run of starts.
Alfi 6 Did not do much in the few minutes he played.
So, it's the Scousers next and with Lucas and Woodgate out, it is worrying that Wetherall might get another start. DOL should go for the 4-4-2 line-up and it should lokk like this:
Martyn Halle Hiden Molenaar Harte Hopkin Bowyer Bowyer Kewell Clyde JimmyI would not risk Wetherall against nippy forwards (2 from Reidle, Fowler, or Owen) and Clyde should be given a chance against L'poll's suspect defence.
Scores - the team selection was so odd that everyone would get a 3 for the first half, Bowyer aside, and then they'd all get a 6 for the 2nd, Bowyer aside, who'd get a 7. Oh, and Harte, who'd get a 4 - he is truly awful! Crap crowd - 30,012 and falling Ridsdale - I hope you're taking note - last year of the bond, sky-high prices and a product well below what people will pay good money for! Still, you think you know best, with the 17,300 season ticket holders this year (acc to Annual Rept) - compare that with Newcastle's 31,000 season ticket holders and a 20,000 waiting list! Hey ho! Still Ashley Ward should attract thousands more eh? well, his Mum, Dad and wife at least! Laugh - I nearly started!
Neither team showed any skill, composure on the ball, intelligence in running... nothing. The ball spent most of the ninety minutes in the air, somewhere on a level with the roof of the West Stand,with frantic games of head-tennis being the standard fare. Our only attacking plan for the first 40 minutes was to loft the ball from our defence over their defence, and hope that Jimmy or Harry could get there - even if they did there was scarcely any back up from team mates to make anything out of the opportunity.
We were easily the worst team for this first 35-40 minutes, second to the ball, no bite in the tackle, and giving the ball away as soon as we gained possession - which isn't surprising given that our "ball-players" in midfield were being completely cut out of the game by this long hoof tactic. But it seems that in the short term we've learned nothing from the way Roma controlled the ball and hence the game on Tuesday night.
Then the team who hadn't scored for years, scored through the striker who hadn't scored since puberty. A corner on the left, dropped in the six yard box - Booth who was so unmarked that he didn't have to jump to win the header - stuck it home. There truly was a hole in the middle of our defence that Moses would have been proud of. Awful.
The main amusement for next 30 minutes came behind me in the stand - there's a bloke who sits behind us who has one player that is the sole reason that everything is going wrong with our team, and he slags this one guy off regardless of what the rest of the team are up to. And then when this player leaves he latches onto someone else. So for a while it was Yeboah, then Deano, now its all Jimmy's fault - no its the Rev - so we had thirty minutes of this giving it "get off your arse you fat lazy bastard" etc etc, despite the fact that Jimmy was getting some of the worse service a striker's ever received - when suddenly a bloke another few rows back losses his rag with this first guy and we have a slagging match of the highest order. Now both these guys are hefty blokes and no stewards can be seen - there's obviously an emergency with a tea urn somewhere - only to be stopped by Jimmy's goal. Even then bloke No.1 is on Jimmy's back two minutes later, unaware that he is now a laughing stock.
Jimmy's goal - Long throw from the right (Hopkin or Hiden), flick on a the near post by Wetherall, Jimmy bicycle's it into the net from 5 yards. Sumo had gone flap-about here, so the goal was empty.
Our second goal came in the second half, a long ball to the back post, where young Woodgate heads a looping ball back just inside the far post, as the back peddling Pressman falls on his arse - it may have been with the help of Clyde's leg tripping him, it was hard to tell from the replay...
At half time I couldn't think of any player that deserved more than 4 out of 10 - but it did pick up a bit in the second half - not much.
Hopkin was shite, as a player and as a captain - I have never seen a captain that does less talking to his team, less geeing up, less bollocking - he is a nonentity. The only midfielder shwoing anything was Bowyer, of course, and even though he was below par, he was streets ahead of anything else that we had to offer. Our equaliser came after he had conspicuously stepped up the tempo, bit into a few tackles, made a couple of runs, and virtually single handedly kept Wed's defence pinned back in a corner.
Final word goes to the linesman in front of the west stand, who twice in two minutes refused to cast his eyes down to see that the Wed cornertaker was placing the ball outside the quadrant by a good ten inches, right in front of the Kop - who went mental - twice
MARTYN -6- little to do...
HIDEN -5- sound in defence, nothing in attack.
MOLENAAR -6- steady
WOODGATE -7- another good performance, and the winning goal
HARTE -4- poor
WETHERALL -5- off the pace
BOWYER -6- hustle, bustle and no subtlety
HOPKIN -4- took him 3 seconds to give the ball away
MCPHAIL -6- very quiet
KEWELL -6- patchy
JIMMY -6- some effort, especially when Clyde came on, plus a nice finish.
sub CLYDE -5- came on and ran about a lot.
The less said about the first half the better. I bet even Andy Gray on Sky had trouble finding any merit in it at all. Twenty two people picked at random from the crowd would have had no trouble matching the "entertainment" levels produced. At least Jimmy found the target again, and the relief in the crowd and the team was palpable, as the strikers celebratory dive into the North Stand demonstrated.
The second period was better (a redundant statement, given that it would not have been possible for it to be worse), as the team started to show a little more self belief. Woody's winner seemed to loop for about five minutes before it dropped in. Thank goodness for dodgy portly keepers.
Things worth noting:
- Big Bad Bob had a towering game.
- Woodgate is quite good, but his inexperience shows at times, as he made mistakes that Molenaar would have been crucified by the crowd for. As much as we want the young player to come through, Lucas and Molly are my first choice big fellas at the back (assuming that O'Leary stops messing about with three at the back).
- McPhail is simply not good enough at present to justify his place, especially if the likes of Bruno are fit and available. He makes Harte look quick, his attempts at tackling are pitiful and he doesn't look as skillful as his reputation suggests. I was actually quite glad when he was replaced by that lumbering mass of muscle, bone and two brain cells that goes by the name of Daft Alfi.
- Hiden is getting better and better.
- Harry starting to get his game together again. If only we could get all ours attacking players on the same wavelength.
- Clyde is quick, shows good awareness of his team mates and his work rate is double that of Kewell and Jimmy put together, but he has yet to adapt to the physical side of the game.
- If Bowyer was playing in a decent side, he'd be in the England squad (if Andy Hinchliffe can get in, anyone can). Ooops, I forgot which clueless idiot was in charge of the national side.
- Harte's tackle on Booth was as blatant a penalty as you will see, but as the referee ignored Rudi's assault on Harry in the first half, it all balances out.
- Is there a linesman in the league who understands the offide rule?
The conclusion? Never mind blowing money on overpriced journeyman strikers from Barnsley. We need some _real_ quality in midfield ASAFP. And where the fuck is Bruno?
1. By Sky coverage Leeds United Live
is brought to a lot of armchairer's, including me
2. Our Sky record is ever-lasting and incredible good (let's hold it to Premier League, and forget the game in London, march 1996)
I've seen better performances than the one yesterday; but we had a lot of young players on the pitch, we played without Lucas Radebe and we could see a much better performance in the 2nd half. A good proof to me that 4-4-2 is a by far better system for us than 5-4-1; specially at home.
Martyn should have dealt with their corner in the opening minutes. Molly had a great night - again! Woodgate is absolutely in for it, also nice for him that he gave us the winner; brilliant slow-motion loopy header. Reckon I was not the only one that didn't see it into the goal, and it took some time for me to understand what was happening. But repetitions on TV showed that this was a class header! And that Clyde helped their goally to fall down? We might were a bit lucky at this incident. I also do believe that Sky Sport Studio guest, Howard Wilkinson, was proud of both Woodgate, and much more presented on the pitch, specially 2nd half. He also gave Leeds United some nice words along the way ...
Jimmy's equalizer in the end of first half was a very important one, both for him and the team. From my point of view, we could see much less whingeing and diving from Jimmy, and more effort and decent runs. The goal must be good for his confidence, too! Though, I think he still has a long way to go to find back to his goal-scoring form of last year, and there is still too much walking and looking. Some of his attacks in the 2nd half might could be better spent by passing to one of his team-mates, too. That's one of the big points in footy!
Nice to see how the team raised after the goal. At the end of the day, we were lucky that Hearte's effort in the closing minutes didn't end up in a red card and a penalty. The ref. no doubt could have judged it to be such an incident ... But he didn't, and O'Leary got his first victory as a manager. Important development in many ways. We have only lost one out of 12 league games this season, it's gonna be interesting to see how we can cope with the likes of 'Pool, ManU, Arsenal and Chelsea ...
And the atmosphere at Elland Road - must be best in the land by far! Though only 30 000 ...
The linesman wrongly ruled us out for offside two or three times 2nd half; so there were incidents in both directions.
What I simply can't understand, is the way wre played at the end of the game; with corners and free kicks just outside the bocks. The ball was kicked approx. 0,2 yards, and then tried to be kept on the spot by two or three Leeds players. Why not give it a go, and go for the 3rd goal? If Wed. had succeeded with a counter attack after one of those situations, I would have been mad!
Scores from the bar stool:
Martyn: 6 Could and should have been
better at the corner leading to Wed's goal. No need for big efforts
Hiden: 7 Good game. His throw-ins are more dangerous than our corner kicks. One of them Wethers headed to Jimmy. Goal.
Woodgate: 8 18 years. Improving every day. We'll miss him when he'll be away to play for England. Scored our winner!
Molenaar: 9 Solid at the back, took the responsibility while Lucas is away injured. Stopped everything 2nd half. Man of the Match, from my point of view.
Harte: 6 Should improve his deliveries. Seems to be much involved in the game. Still young, don't slag him off yet!
Wetherall: 6 Won the header that gave us the important goal in first half. Defended well, I think. Was subsituted at the break, not due to his performance or lack of such, but to give room for another striker. (A good move by O'Leary, btw.)
Hopkin: 7 Train on passings and crossings mr. Skipper!
Bowyer: 8 Running more than ever, he's fast too! Must be given support, and must be believed in by his team-mates! Pass to him when he has his runs! A lot of wasted shots, though! Train on the shooting, lad!
Kewell: 7 Lot of good runs 2nd half. Still young, experience will give him confidence ...
McPhail: 6 Nice to see that the youngsters are coping so well in the Premier League. But do we have to many at the same time? Would have learnt a lot, and a lot faster, besides Batty ... Subsituted late 2nd half, to give room for more experience to defend the result?
Hasselbaink: 7 More effort than I've seen/heard previously. But still doesn't sweat too much. Nice for him that he finally scored.
Winjard: 6 Didn't show too much of himself the half he was on. Give him a couple of starts to try him out.
Haaland: 6 Finally a Noggy on the picth! Just kidding, actually I don't rate that fact at all. Too short time on the pitch to be given notice.
Kevin Pressman has long been the Sophie Dahl of the Premiership catwalk, and at times has attracted comparable acclaim, but goalkeeping for the fuller figure will quickly fall out of style if he persists in the type of blunders which presented Leeds United with a victory yesterday that David O'Leary's charges rarely looked capable of fashioning for themselves.
Wednesday's Winter Collection, as modelled by Pressman, possessed a sombre flavour for a relegation-haunted winter. He tottered around his area for both Leeds goals as if wearing a pair of six-inch stilettos.
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