Leeds United 3 - 1 Rushden and Diamonds
(Half-time: 1 - 1)
|« Blackburn Rovers||Middlesbrough »|
|Leeds||Martyn, Wetherall, Radebe, Woodgate, Harte, Granville, Bowyer, Hopkin, Smith (Haaland 85), Kewell, Hasselbaink||Robinson, Halle, Wijnhard, Ribeiro|
|Rushden and Diamonds||Feuer, Wooding, Rodwell, Bradshaw, Underwood, Mclehatton, Butterworth, Hamsher (Brady 76), Heggs, Foster (West HT), De Souza (Whyte 88)||Corry, Cooper|
|Leeds||Smith 22, 49, Hasselbaink 65|
|Rushden and Diamonds||Heggs 11|
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|Rushden and Diamonds||Mclehatton, Underwood, Rodwell|
|Leeds||Rushden and Diamonds|
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers||39, 39, 9||?|
|Nick Allen||vs Rushden|
|Mike Sewell||Ten Quid - and well worth the price|
|The Guardian||Smith double crushes Diamonds|
|The Electronic Telegraph||Smith double dims Diamonds brief sparkle|
|The Times||Smith puts an end to Diamonds dreams|
|Express Sport||Smith too sharp for Diamonds|
|The Independent||Smith the saviour for lethargic Leeds|
|Yorkshire Evening Post||Smith's Diamond haul|
|Soccernet||Soccernet match report|
For the first 25 minutes this was up there with the CCCF as the football match that I had least enjoyed watching. Our lot were playing like they had all been given lessons in ball control by Hopkin, and passing lessons by Wetherall.. It was hopeless, everyone trying way too hard(except Granville), and nothing was working.
You've got to give tons of credit to Rushden, they came out with a game plan, and with a lot of heart, they were really up for it, and while most of their team couldn't match the skill and movement of our lot, they more than matched them for effort. I thought that their CHalfs had excellent games, and the no.10 looked half decent, although I thought that all this stuff about the keeper was crap. He was well dodgy, Ok he dealt with crosses, and shots into the top corner, which given that he's 6ft 7in, he should do, but he spilled loads of shots, and was slow to get down(Owww!!).
Once we got the goal back, then we weren't going to lose. It all became a bit one way, with us peppering the goal, and them occasionally having a breakaway. It did my heart good to see Lucas back, even if he wasn't fully operational. Some reckoned that he was at fault for the first goal, and while yeah the guy broke down the wing past him too easily, just have a look at the replays, on TV, he's making two other challenges for the ball immediately prior to that - like that training game of one touch piggy in the middle type affair - where was the rest of his cover?
So for their goal the no.10 skins Luke down the line, and swings in a low cross, which is followed by a humungous game of pinball, with about 6 shots raining in and balls hitting the post, cannoning off defenders lying on the floor, I'm not sure whether Nige actually got to touch it all. Back of the net - and silence from us - about 4,000 of their lot went ape... the whole of the South Stand. Lot of noise, giving it "You're not singing any more" to us... oh the shame.
Our goals: (and they were all pretty good) 1st - Lucas picks up a loose ball just to the left of the CCircle, slides a ball into Jimmy's feet, who flicks it with the outside of his boot first time, into the path of Smith charging into the box, one stride, and then a low drive with the right foot inside the the keepers near post - great finish. 2nd - Harry, left wing cross, Jimmy lay-back/miscontrol depending if you're John Lee or not, Smith left foot first time bottom corner. 3rd - Harry receives a throw out from Nigel, runs for 100 miles unchallenged, low pull back Jimmy sidefoot, under the keeper.
MARTYN-6- little to do
WOODGATE -7- solid
WETHERALL -6- better in defence than on the wing
RADEBE -7- it begins to feel better even if he was only at 75%
HARTE -7- not bad at all at RBack.
GRANVILLE -5- the only real disappointment
HOPKIN -6- good tackling, shit passing
BOWYER -8 as ever
KEWELL -3- first half, and -7- second
SMITH -8- very very sharp finishing
HASSELBAINK -8- all action menace, with a goal thrown in.
Cheered R&D and especially "One Chrissy Whyte, there's only one Chrissy Whyte..."
All in all a strange experience and one that i'm glad is over.
Five people in the Adelphi front bar an hour before kick off. Clearly Da Rev isn't alone. But I'm not going to knock the ticketing, we got back onto the motorway much more easily than usual.
Despite awful conditions the game was pretty entertaining stuff. Beneath the nice DOL image there is steel. With Lucas and Wethers back we had a nasty, professional side that had been lacking. A couple of LR's challenges on their forwards were verging on GBH. Excellent, and much appreciated by the Row W cognoscenti of hard tackling. As they say, this earned us the right to play the passing football.
Rushden were well-organised, defended deep, threw bodies in the way and looked a better side than some I've seen at Cambridge United in the Nationwide. Their keeper played a blinder and it could easily have been half a dozen goals or more without him. After the first 20 minutes Lucas, Wethers, Harte (RWB) and Granville (LWB) began to get the pace of the game, and we dominated. In the swirling strong wind the passing was really quite impressive. Had Granville (in the first half hour), Kewell (first hour), and Hopkin (thoughout) played anything like Premiership quality we'd have had a hatful. As it was, Bowyer, Jimmy, Smudger Smiff, Harte played well and moved themselves and the ball around impressively to give us attacking options. But for Feuer, Jimmy would have had a hat-trick as well as two assists (shame you missed it John, he worked hard for the team, didn't dive, didn't whinge), Bowyer would have had a goal of the season candidate from 20+ yards, Harte would have had one and Kewell would have scored too. The most disappointing things about our performance were Kewell for an hour; Woodgate showing his inexperience a few times; and especially Hopkin. He made one good run all night, back into our area to pass back to Martyn. He gave the ball away too much, shied out of tackles and frequently turned his back on the play, thus depriving others of opportunities to pass to him. I do hope that a fit Batty replaces him rather than playing alongside him and forcing Bowyer out wide. Over two games against Rushden Hopkin did nothing to impose himself or dominate the play.
Best chants: As many left after 80 minutes: "You're only here cos its ten quid"; to the Rushden fans "What's it like to see a crowd." And the enthusiasm with which DOL milks his chant - long may it continue.
Best moment: Chrissy Whyte's appearance. The early leavers will have missed this.
Then on the way back one of their fans rang Radio 5 to praise the team, the club and the fans of LUFC and wax lyrical about how well Rushden had been treated. Richard Littlejohn tried hard to ignore this, but the guy wouldn't let him. Nice. The sentiment is repeated on their web pages, which make quite interesting reading:
What a magnificent evening from start to finish. [heroic Rushden, early goal, dreams awakened blah blah]...gradually Leeds sensed that they needed to go up a gear, and quickly. The passes suddenly started to find their man, the first touch improved, and we now saw the true Leeds United. Quick on the ball, deft touches, superb running off the ball and the pressure was now on Diamonds. Ian Feuer was forced to make some great saves ... It was really no surprise when Leeds equalised, neat passing and a clinical finish from young Smith.
Leeds swept forward in waves, shots rained in, and after a few scares and saves from Feuer, the inevitable happened and Leeds took the lead, thanks to Smith again - another clinical shot past the diving Feuer. ... Then with a minute or so remaining BT brought on Chris Whyte, to a standing ovation from the whole stadium. A perfect end to a near perfect night. ... The lads took a lap of honour and gained great respect from the Leeds fans who had stayed behind to applaud.
As a footnote lets mention the Leeds fans. Quieter than expected in the ground, no bare chests to be seen at half time, but as friendly as you could wish to meet, and great for a banter before the game in the pub opposite the ground. Well done Leeds United and good luck against Pompey. Lets hope we can say that we were at leas knocked out by the eventual FA Cup winners - Please!!!
Our reputation as obnoxious Tykes is in the balance, I trust the Chelsea/Tottingham/Arsenal/Scum lovers in the press will do their best to restore it.
PS Funny how we aren't diving, whingeing, getting bookings for not retreating and kicking the ball away since GG left. That's the same GG who criticised his players for "unnecessary bookings", who gets at refs for not booking divers, etc. Bastard, I never liked him.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 14/01/1999.
Rushden and Diamonds' "lovely distraction" is over. That had been how the non-league club's multimillionaire chairman Max Griggs had described Rushden's FA Cup adventure, but it was close to being much more than that last night when Carl Heggs gave the Diamonds an 11th-minute lead.
It did not last long enough, though, for thoughts of embarrassment to fester in the Leeds players' minds, Alan Smith supplying an equaliser 11 minutes later. Smith added a second quickly after half-time and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink drove in the killer third midway through the second half.
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