FA Carling Premiership
Sheffield Wednesday 0 - 2 Leeds United
(Half-time: 0 - 1)
|« Tottenham Hotspur||Derby County »|
|Leeds||Martyn, Haaland, Woodgate, Radebe (Wetherall 86), Harte, Kewell (Korsten 88), Batty, Hopkin, Bowyer, Smith, Hasselbaink||Robinson, McPhail, Jones|
|Sheffield Wednesday||Srnicek, Atherton, Walker, Thome, Hinchcliffe, Alexandersson, Jonk, Sonner (Briscoe 31), Rudi, Booth, Humphreys (Agogo 49)||Pressman, Newsome, Stefanovic|
|Leeds||Hasselbaink 4, Hopkin 73|
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|Sheffield Wednesday||Atherton, Thome, Booth, Agogo, Hinchcliffe|
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers||9, 12||0|
|Matt G||One team in Yorkshire|
|Nick Allen||vs Sheffield Wednesday|
|Mike Sewell||Saturday and other things|
|The Observer||Leeds hit new record no hassle|
|The Guardian||Wednesday wilt at the sight of a fight|
|The Electronic Telegraph||Hopkin makes certain Leeds continue their run of success|
|The Times||Signs encouraging for Leeds as Wednesday wane|
|The Sunday Times||Leeds have too much flair for spirited Wednesday|
|Express Sport||Onwards and upwards|
|The Independent on Sunday||Leeds on a roll and closing in on Europe|
|The Independent||Leeds lead 'their league'|
|Yorkshire Evening Post||Hillsborough H-bombers|
|Soccernet||Soccernet match report|
|Carlingnet||Carlingnet match report|
Only change to the team from last Wednesdays was Hopkin back for Wetherall, with a bit of shuffling around, Woodgate to centre back, Alfie right-back and Bowyer to right midfield.
Perfect start, from a long-ball forward Harry was elbowed off the ball right in front of the ref to get a free-kick on the corner of the box. Didn't look a great angle, but it was touched back to Jimmy who hammered a shot that squeezed in at the near post. Goalie shouldn't really have been beaten from there but we weren't complaining. For the next 20 minutes or so we played some good stuff, both Smith and Jimmy managing to hit it straight at Srnicek when through one on one. However, the defence weren't at their best and we gave Wednesday a bit too much room up front, with particular problems in the air. Luckily Wednesday were, well crap really, and were unable to turn some good positions into many clear cut chances, and I always felt we were the more likely to score.
Second half started off in much the same vain, with us playing some nice passing football, but still looking a bit open at the back. However, we gradually tightened up and took control with Batty and Hopkin tidying up and making sure we kept the ball and played most of the football in their half. One nice little bout of passing set Jimmy running at their defence, he played Hoppy in, Srnicek saved again, but this time he managed to force the rebound in, though it did take an in-ordinate amount of time to trickle into the net watching from the far end.
Last 20 minutes were comfortable as a lot of the few Wednesday fans who had bothered to turn up streamed out, thankfully taking the sodding drummer with them. Jimmy nearly curled another free-kick in at the death, though worryingly Lucas was stretched off near the end and didn't look too great.
Martyn 6 - Never really under pressure - did what he needed to.
Alfie 6 - Bit wasted at right-back after his storming performance on Wednesday. Didn't always seem to be where he should be.
Harte 7 - Definitely plays better with Kewell in front of him, couple of decent crosses, looking more confortable on the ball.
Lucas 8 - As ever often making the crucial tackle/interception at the back of a slightly disorganised defence.
Woodgate 6 - One of his poorer games for us, seem to lose concentration and let Booth wander off him a bit at times.
Bowyer 7 - More subdued than usual - needs to be in centre to be most effective.
Batty 8 - Second very good game in a row, I can understand what he brings to the team, but not sure how he effects the balance of the team.
Hopkin 9 - MoM. Excellent game, took on players and ran at them, used a lot of skill to emerge from tight situations with the ball.
Kewell 7 - Played well when he had the ball, just didn't seem to be in the game quite as much as recently. Kept more to the left than his more recent floating role.
Jimmy 6 - Most of you can probably guess how he played - worried them with his pace and strength but didn't work as hard as Smith. Despite his goal still not looking all that confident in front of goal
Smith 7 - Impressing me with his work-rate and all-round contribution though missed a couple of chances.
Overall we played OK and won comfortably. Not sure how we solve the midfield conundrum of fitting Bowyer, Hopkin and Batty into the same team. Hopkin's best games have been when Bowyer is out or playing wide, but playing Bowyer anywhere but the middle is wasting him. Good support from our lot, made a lot of noise and filled our bits of the ground unlike the Wednesdayites. Good fun banging the seats up and down, though the plastic ones don't make half as much noise as the old wooden ones. We are on a roll at the moment long may it continue, though not sure why it has taken a cup defeat to make us produce our best spells for the last 2 seasons.
This report is brought to you courtesy of John Brauns and the Latvian trading co.
A wise man said "We were shit but they were shitter", and that could well be the total match report, but I'm far too long winded to let you off that lightly, so...
Sheffield were awful. Their crowd was pitiful. They were never going to win this game. They just never seemed to believe that they could. We ticked along, doing what was necessary without busting a gut.
We could and should have had 4 or 5 before half time. Apart from the goal; Kewell and Hoppo played a 1-2 on the left corner of the box, Harry went to the byline, crossed low and hard, Smith couldn't direct it in. Looked a bad miss to me, but that might have been harsh. Jimmy had another long range blast deflected just wide, which he then followed up by cocking up a one on one with the keeper - this rebounded to Smith, who was thwarted by another good save. - It has to be said that Pavel made a few good saves to keep them in it.
We won this game because our midfield was solid - Hoppo especially in the first half was dominant, while Batty did a quieter "protection" job in front of the defence. Lucas was majestic - and Des Walker wasn't too bad for them either. Alfie didn't match the midweek performance - but will he ever. The main downsides for us - and they weren't that bad - were Harry, and Woodgate, who just seemed out of sorts.
Let's deal with Jimmy - from what I can remember he had about 5 meaningful touches all match - the rest of the time the ball bounced off him horribly. Someone there ribbed me about his first touch - well his first touch was to thrash a 20 yarder into the bottom corner, through a crap wall and past the keeper at his near post - which Pavel probably won't be too happy about. Then there was the long shot; the one-on-one; he put Hoppo through for his goal; and he had a last minute free kick tipped away from the top corner. A reasonable return if you ask me.
Booth came closest for them - and that doesn't say much. He got away from the sleepy Woody a couple of times. One of Lucas's injuries was an over the top of the ball studs up job from one of their forwards - Booth I think. Dirty bugger.
0-1- Jimmy's low hard free-kick into the bottom corner.
0-2 - Jimmy moves forward, threads the ball through about 3 defenders, into the stride of the fast moving(!) Hopkin, whose first effort was blocked, but he trickled the rebound into the far corner - it seemed to happen in slow motion, I'm sure he shinned it.
MARTYN - 6 - unemployed
HAALAND -6- back down to earth
WOODGATE -6- asleep
RADEBE -8- so good they kept kicking him.
HARTE -7- steady, good support for Harry down the left
BOWYER - 6- quiet, but out of position - if the choice is him or Hoppo in the midfield, then its the cheeky cockney for me every time.
BATTY -7- solid, unspectacular
HOPKIN -8- MOTM for his first half at least.
KEWELL -6- distant
HASSELBAINK -7- did OK
SMITH -7- had a decent game, and with a little more composure could have had a couple.
We were noticeably, embarrasingly light down the R wing - we lined up for dead ball kicks, with all of our men in the L half of the pitch - we need balancing - Feng Shui anyone?
To judge by the press and MOTD you'd think we'd been brilliant. Three players in one paper's team of the week, grudging admiration from Leeds-hating journos (one Mr Caulkin admitted as much in his piece), and even one suggesting that it was no coincidence that O'Neill, Mr Boring anti-football, and now Wislon all reckoned their worst performance came against us. And yet mid way through the second half there was disatisfaction, and not only amongst the list clique, at the way we were playing. We are now expecting top football all the time. As we came away I had to remind myself that twelve months ago we'd have been delighted with the result and would probably have purred at the perfomance. Now we were less than totally satisfied with the way we played, the way we hadn't buried the game in the first 25 minutes, the way we'd let the grimly bad Booth have three free headers that a better player might have got on target. Still we musn't grumble at a 2-0 away win in which we fitfully played well. The oppo were poor, but we didn't let them be better.
A few points that others haven't mentioned: Booing of Booth near the end was cos Nige had kicked the ball out to get Lucas treated and Booth then demonstrated a level of sportsmanship that Kanu and Overmars would blush at and chased down the throw. Talking of which, fair play - I thought that Woe-dnesday were meant to be paragons. Ha. Nice Mr Poll sorted that out. The thing from Tring did what refs are supposed to do and tried to protect skill players. All the bookings were for attempts to stop our lads entertaining - early intimidatory elbow to head, bad fouls on runners, stopping a quick free kick. These were our sort of tactics under GG and we collected cards like confetti, now Poll gives us the benefit of the doubt. We could have done with him in the Cup.
Good game - JFH who took a fine goal and had yet another assist with a slide rule pass to Hoppo, also unlucky with the deflected shot and the late free kick. Good game too, Hopkin (for him). I still reckon that Batty, Bowyer and Hopkin together makes the team look unbalanced and especially that we lack width on the right. We shall see. Bad game - the Kangaroo shagger. Sooner the shiftless tosser sods off back to Australia and pleases their Mickey Mouse coaches the better!!!! One cuff on the head and the toys were out of the pram. Typical Aussie whinger who gives it out but can't take it. Didn't run at anyone all day. Korsten did better in four minutes. Sell the bugger while we can get a good price!!!!!!!!!!!
Needs work - crossing, still. Needs more work - one on ones. Needs work when Wetherall and Molenaar absent - talking at the back. Communication among Woody, Lucas, Haaland and Harte seemed non-existent for far too long.
Otherwise, a satisfactory performance that had the surpassing merit of shutting the bloody band up. The players did their bit, but so did we - 'boom, boom, boom-boom-boom, boom-boom .... Leeds', 'Radebe, Radebe....', 'Time to go, time to go.' The best chant may, however, have been 'scoreboard, scoreboard what's the score?' Putting up 1-0 instead of 0-1 was, after all, the only way they were going to get on the scoresheet on Saturday.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 14/03/1999.
'One team in Yorkshire - there's only one team in Yorkshire!' sang the Leeds fans, and in this 72nd derby, Wednesday had to concede second best. They made a reasonable fist of it and, with a more incisive finisher than Booth, who wasted three good chances, might have at least earned a draw.
As it was Leeds had the finishers in Hasselbaink and Hopkin, and provided such quality as was on offer in a scrappy but exciting encounter. These are encouraging times for Leeds and they started the game on a run of four successive wins. They consolidated their position in the league by clinching their best winning sequence since 1993.
© Guardian Media Group plc
Copy from Football Unlimited of 14/03/1999.
Doctors would have initials for Wednesday's condition, PMT perhaps: Post-Midweek Torpor. The manager Danny Wilson's condition, BCA, brooked no argument. His Barely Concealed Anger was as justified as it was rare. But, having talked of football's hold on managers in the context of Joe Kinnear's recent heart attack, he may come to see Saturday as tragic relief.
"We didn't compete," he said. "Players were hiding, playing safety football, never pushing themselves to the limit." And he had written in the programme, after they had shipped three goals in the last seven minutes at Highbury on Tuesday: "There were positive things that came out of that game: primarily our fantastic work-rate."
© Guardian Media Group plc