FA Carling Premiership
Aston Villa 1 - 2 Leeds United
(Half-time: 0 - 2)
|« Tottenham Hotspur||Everton »|
|Leeds||Martyn, Haaland, Radebe, Wetherall, Korsten, Hasselbaink, Hopkin, Halle, Kewell, Harte, Jones (Granville 82)||Wijnhard, Knarvik, Smith, Robinson|
|Aston Villa||Oakes, Wright, Southgate, Watson, Taylor, Merson, Joachim, Dublin (Collymore 72), Barry (Thompson 66), Hendrie, Scimeca||Grayson, Samuel, Enckelman|
|Leeds||Hasselbaink 8, 32|
|Aston Villa||Scimeca 76|
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers||9, 9||?|
|Matt G||Villa Report|
|The Guardian||Collymore back but Villa falter|
|The Electronic Telegraph||Dynamic Hasselbaink dents Villa's ambition|
|The Times||Collymore unable to rescue sad Villa|
|Express Sport||Jimmy at double to finish off Villa|
|The Independent||Leeds in ascendant as Villa decline|
|Yorkshire Evening Post||It's Jimmy at the double|
|Soccernet||Soccernet match report|
|Carlingnet||Carlingnet match report|
Well hopefully our last visit to the M6 this season, meant being stuck in a traffic jam for half an hour and thus our time in the pub was cut down to three-quarters of an hour. While we were supping our coach driver went to see what the traffic was like and promptly got stuck in it.
Still we made it to the ground on time, to find we had even more players missing than usual. Bowyer, Smith and Woodgate all out. So we started with Radebe, Wetherall and Halle as a back 3, Alfie and Harte at wing-backs, with a dodgy looking midfield of Korsten, Hopkin and Jones, with Jimmy and Harry up- front.
We'd spent a lot of the journey talking about how long it had been since we'd scored at Villa Park, but Jimmy only took a few minutes to put that right, he turned his marker from a throw-in near the halfway line and just simply ran away from the defenders to score. We played pretty well for the rest of the first-half, the makeshift midfield although backing off a bit too much at times, were putting a lot of tackles in and Jimmy and Harry were running them all over the place upfront. Apart from once when Joachim out-paced Wetherall but Hendrie couldn't reach the cross, the defence was solid. Before half-time Korsten won a free-kick on the edge of the area and Jimmy curled it over the wall into the top corner. Another good move put Jimmy through again, but this time his shot came back off the post.
Second-half Villa had lots of the ball, but we never looked in too much trouble, much like the way we've played at home recently. For 25 minutes or so we were still more likely to score on the break, both Korsten and Jimmy just failed to find the finish to Goal of the Season like solo runs. To our surprise Collymore came on as Sub to a huge cheer from the Brummies (why do they like him, he must be the biggest waste of money ever), to be greeted with chants of;
You've only got ten men;
Stan-ley, Nobody likes Stan-ley;
He's going mad, he's going mad, Stanley's going mad etc
Just afterwards Scimica scored a soft goal from a corner which meant we were under a lot of pressure near the end, mainly due to the ref giving them loads of free-kicks, but we held out without too many clear chances, though Nigel had to dive at Joachim's feet once. A good deserved win, from a very weakened team.
Martyn 6 - Not too much to do, kicking a bit dodgy
Halle 6 - Solid, no mistakes
Wetherall 7 - Won a lot of headers, tackles
Radebe 8 - Always looked in control, though I'm not convinced he's fully fit.
Haaland 6 - Did nothing wrong
Harte 7 - Defended well, always quick too close down his man, he is improving.
Jones 7 - Couple of errors early on, one terrible cross, but worked hard winning a lot of ball and playing it simple. Subbed for Granville, looked knackered.
Korsten 8 - Impressed me, got well stuck in, in midfield, and showed some skill running at them. Nearly scored a brilliant goal, but hit the shot straight at the keeper in the second half.
Hopkin 8 - Like Pompey played really well when there was no Bowyer, probably proves they are too similar.
Kewell 7 - Lot of talent again, just feel we don't score enough goals from the chaos he causes.
Jimmy 8.5 MoM - For about 70 minutes absolutely brilliant, worked his arse off, scored 2 great goals and deserved the hat-trick. Scared the hell out of Villa when he ran at them. I was thinking about getting the video for Da Rev. Last 20 mins got lazy (or tired) could have held the ball up better rather than trying to score on his own all the time.
Ref - Gallagher - Awful. Not 2 or 3 big mistakes bad, but dozens of small wrong decisions bad. Decided early he wasn't going to book anyone. So Hendrie got away with deliberate handball and Harry got kicked a lot.
One other thing, Villa now have a video screen, which showed replays of their few chances and sod all of ours. It also has stupid graphics to rival West Ham's famous super sponge.
First half excellent, second half a bit desperate at times, referee absolute pits.
We started well, didn't miss Bowyer for the first hour, had Lucas back close to his dominant best, and played superbly on the break. Korsten looked very promising indeed. The run that lead to the free kick for Jimmy's second was one of a number of excellent driving forays and there were good passes too. He also tackled back well once he got to the pace of the game. Ditto young Jones who ran out of legs after an hour and should really have been subbed ten minutes sooner than he was. Haaland - who had as good a game as I've seen him play for us - was signalling as much to the bench.
The first half was tops. We played some really nice, flowing football and reduced Villa to two options, viz. spread it to the wings for a hopeful ball in or run through the middle. A more confident side might have punished us for the tendency to allow them the latter too much. Hopkin was the major offender here, retreating too far off the ball-carrier. He also continued to shie out of challenges too often for my liking. Nor was his passing all that good. The goals came at the right times and were superbly taken. JFH was unlucky with the one that hit the post, Kewell almost got through. They got one, maybe two, opportunities at best and made little of them.
The second half was similar to start with, though Villa were pressing us harder. For twenty minutes we looked more likely to score and had opportunities from which Jimmy, Kewell and Korsten should have done better. Then we started to feel the pace, they made changes, and we sat off them too far. Haaland, Hopkin and Jones were getting overrun when they brought on Thompson and went to 4 in midfield. Lucas, Wetherall and Harte were strong throughout and even Halle did all that could be asked of him. The goal came just as I thought we might have weathered the storm and then we looked rocky for a while. In the end we could have got another on the break, but the prime emotion at the whistle was relief.
The stars for us were the CBs, Kewell, Korsten and, especially Jimmy. The look on Southgate's face suggested that this was a long way from his idea of a nice night out. He and the others were run ragged. Kewell was full of running, Korsten judged his interventions really well, Jimmy was awesome. If H could get the same sort of upper body strength that allows Jimmy to shrug off challenges as he was doing, then he will be a truly great player. Of course if either of them was two footed...... we'd have had at least two more goals.
As to Dermot Gallagher, the performance in the second half made Poll, Rennie, Willkie, and the rest look positively adequate. What to pick out? Maybe the fact that he gave all the 50-50 decisions their way? Maybe the fact that he blocked a through ball when we had a promising position? Maybe the fact that vicious lunges from Watson, Taylor, Scimeca, Southgate and others went unpunished and no Villa player was booked? Maybe his booking Jimmy for complaing about a travesty of a decision against Granville? Maybe that decision - Granville wins 50-50 fairly, is favourite for the loose ball, is pulled back and down, tries to grapple for it, loses the free kick. Maybe the time when he gave them a free kick, waved advantage as they put a hand on the ball to stop it some ten or more yards forward from the incident, blew his whistle, watched our lot stop, and then let them take it from the wrong place when we hadn't recovered. All this and more. It was the worst display I've seen from a ref all season. And that, as Claire has just commented, is saying something.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 18/02/1999.
John Gregory, the Villa manager, sprang a surprise by naming Stan Collymore among his substitutes. Only hours earlier Gregory maintained that Collymore was still in a clinic receiving treatment for stress and depression and would not be returning to the club in the foreseeable future.
However, that surprise was nothing compared with what Leeds had in store for Villa in an opening half which the visitors totally dominated. Both sides went into the game with two successive league defeats behind them, with Villa also having the embarrassment of a FA Cup exit by second division Fulham.
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