FA Carling Premiership
Leeds United 0 - 0 Derby County
(Half-time: 0 - 0)
|Leeds United||Martyn, Mills, Radebe, Woodgate, Harte, Batty, Bowyer, Hopkin, Kewell, Smith (McPhail 52), Bridges||Haaland, Hiden, Duberry, Robinson|
|Derby County||Poom, Prior, Carbonari, Laursen, Delap, Eranio (Borbokis 77), Powell, Johnson, Dorigo, Baiano (Beck 67), Sturridge (Burton 46)||Schnoor, Hoult|
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|Leeds United||Batty 50, Kewell 70, Bowyer 84|
|Derby County||Dorigo 23, Eranio 45, Johnson 58, Delap 83, Powell 84|
|Leeds United||Derby County|
|Attempts on goal||14||2|
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers||0||0|
|Jabba||A slow start|
|Nick Allen||vs Derby|
|The Guardian||Hasselbaink leaves a hole|
|The Observer||No Jimmy, no goals|
|The Electronic Telegraph||Leeds fail to fill gap left by Hasselbaink|
|The Times||Hasselbaink's flight blunts Leeds' edge|
|The Sunday Times||Leeds young guns denied by Poom|
|The Independent on Sunday||Young Leeds lack the killer punch|
|The Independent||Leeds' lack of firepower exposed|
|Yorkshire Evening Post||No second bite for Harry|
|BBC||Leeds held by Rams|
|Soccernet||Leeds United 0 - 0 Derby County|
|Carlingnet||Leeds United 0 - 0 Derby County|
High hopes for the start of the season were soon dashed at Elland Road as a dour Derby and a rubbish ref came together to deny Leeds the 3 points. Not that we fully deserved them....
With the last minute departure of JFH, we started out with Alan Smith - carrying an ankle injury - and Michael Bridges - short of match fitness - up front. Harry Kewell was - well, nowhere for much of the game, as were Batty, Bowyer and Hopkin in an alarmingly ineffectual and disjointed display.
Nigel Martyn was never troubled - and although Lucas Radebe and Jonathon Woodgate did have to make a couple of tackles, neither were they. It was an impressive debut for Danny Mills: he looks very solid and is not shy of getting forward and having the odd shot - not a bad free kick too!
Highlights: well, in a 0-0 draw there won't be many. First half shots from Bowyer and Mills, a good run from Bowyer that was ended by Tony Dorigo's desperate foul and that was about it. An abysmal backpass from Rory Delap put Kewell through on goal, but he dithered too long and failed to take the chance. Smith's ankle injury gave cause for concern, but his replacement - Stephen McPhail - did little to convince us that he's the one to provide the creation in midfield that we need.
Tell me something I don't know: as you can see from the press reports, the absence of an experienced striker who can hold up the ball and take the half-chances that come our way is essential. Quite who it will be is another matter. Feeling a degree of intrepidation about Wednesday night...
... after expectation comes reality.
The game reflected the weather, dull, grey, drizzly. I reckon if it had been a sunny day we'd had a won the match, but I can't prove it now can I?
Anyway it was annoying not to get the three points, but I think that it might prove to be of benefit in the long run. It immediately calms down the overexcited press/fans expectations, and might allow us to go into games with a more realistic approach. I got the feeling on Saturday that some of our lot felt they only had to turn up to win. Now they know that they'll have to earn the points.
The two main points from the game; 1) all teams (except ManU Arse and Chelsea) will come and stifle us, we'll have to learn how to break down this kind of team - and have to take what chances we are presented with, Harry!. and 2) we need a presence upfront, someone to frighten the daylights out of the defence. We looked lightweight.
The new boys were steady - Mills worked hard up and down the line, Bridges looks like a Chris Waddle type, in and out of the game, drifting, skillful, but not a dominating forward. The main point of our forward play seems to be to get to the byline - Harry, Bridges, Bowyer, Harte - all swung crosses in, which begs the question, who is supposed to get on the end of them?
Derby were awful, unambitious, and will be happy with the result.
Our defence needn't have turned up. Nige had two long shots to save. Lucas was imperious in his defending, some of his distribution was ropey. Mills and Harte did OK defensively, and contributed going forward - Harte nearly scoring from a freekick in the first half. Woody started shakily, getting wrong side, pulling and tugging to get back at the guy, he did settle after about half an hour.
Batty did what Batty does, including getting booked for a stupid foul.
The only two attacking incidents worth commenting on were when Bridges played a neat one-two on for Bowyer(?) who was hauled down by the last man on the edge of the box. Yellow card. And when Harry raced through onto a loose pass, and proved that we still couldn't do keepers one on one.
MARTYN -7- unemployed. Will need to boss his area more this year, cos we're a small team.
MILLS -7- steady debut, promising forward movement.
HARTE -7- carried on where he finished last year.
RADEBE -8- you'll never beat Radebe...
WOODGATE -6- improved after a shaky start.
BATTY -7- solid as ever - (he went to see Star Wars at the showcase yesterday)
HOPKIN -6- again not quite with the pace of the game.
BOWYER -7- put in the effort, without much reward
BRIDGES -6- promising, but won't dominate.
SMITH -4- anonymous
KEWELL -5- a few flashes, bad miss.
SUBS - McPHAIL -6- came on, did well and we looked a better team for it. Start with him on Wed instead of Hopkin.
For all the talk of an exciting new era at Leeds United, it was tempting to turn thoughts back to yesteryear as the Yorkshire club's season spluttered to an unsatisfactory start.
First was to the Don Revie era after a statue to Billy Bremner was unveiled outside Elland Road in tribute to his unstinting service. Then, more recently and far less palatable, it was to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, whose path to Spain has seen him go from hero to zero in these parts within the space of the most lucrative week of the £12m Dutch striker's gold-digging lifetime.
© Guardian Media Group plc
Out with the old, and in with the new, but hardly the ideal start for a revamped Leeds United possibly still reverberating from the grubby repercussions of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's defection to Atletico Madrid.
In a fractious contest that did little to whet the appetite for the next ten months, there was little in the way of consolation for the hosts, merely confirmation of the shortcomings that make them unlikely pretenders to Manchester United's throne. For this, undoubtedly, was the evidence, if any was needed, that David O'Leary must invest the £12 million raised from Hasselbaink's sale on new players if the Yorkshire club are to fulfill their blossoming potential.
© Guardian Media Group plc
"YOU DON'T have to be a rocket scientist," mused David O'Leary, the Leeds manager, "to see that we need a striker."
His team had quite a dangerous one until Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's grubby departure left them with only the lightweight, unproven Michael Bridges and Alan Smith, neither of whom, according to O'Leary, were fully fit.
Leeds missed Hasselbaink's niggly, muscular aggression terribly. Bridges, pounds 5 from Sunderland, but overshadowed last season by Niall Quinn, was a peripheral influence, despite O'Leary's praise for some "lovely touches", while Derby's Spencer Prior and Jacob Laursen had far too much strength and guile for Smith.
It had all began so well. An impressive statue of Billy Bremner was unveiled outside the ground, while inside, in a private ceremony, the old warhorse's ashes were scattered on the Elland Road pitch. Even the cloudy humidity which ensured there would be no traditional first-day- of-the-season sunshine, could not assuage the crowd's not entirely unjustified optimism that O'Leary's young team of great, white-shirted hopes might just be serious title contenders. Then, the match began.
At the end of this mean-spirited, hard-fought dour draw, where Nigel Martyn was simply an interested bystander, the optimism had all but evaporated. "Look," said O'Leary, "people are getting carried away. I don't think even Brian Clough could have won the title in his first year."
So bereft of striking firepower were Leeds that their only real chance was a gift from Derby's dozing Rory Delap, whose sloppy back-pass put Harry Kewell through on Mart Poom. Kewell froze and Poom collected with ease. Derby, often defending with eight men behind the ball, restricted Leeds to long-range drives from Lee Bowyer and the impressive Danny Mills, both of which Poom fumbled, and a crafty Ian Harte free-kick which whistled past the left-hand post.
The Derby manager, Jim Smith, rightly praised his team's "work-rate, endeavour and aggression", before explaining that Dean Sturridge had played with an injured hamstring and had been substituted at half-time for being "frightened". They stuck to their grim task with relish, especially Seth Johnson, a pounds 3m signing from Crewe, whose shocking lunge through Lee Bowyer was the only unquestionable caution in a staccato contest which somehow saw eight.
O'Leary can take heart from Mills's bright debut and a reasonably solid defence. "At least we didn't lose," he shrugged. True, but the lingering suspicion is that his team had lost two points and Derby County had proven one.
© The Independent
SECOND chances are among life's prizes, and what Harry Kewell would give for another crack at the spurned opportunity which denied Leeds United maximum points in their opening Premiership encounter with Derby County at Elland Road.
Clear-cut openings had been as rare as snowballs in hell all afternoon, so when Rory Delap temporarily lost his marbles, woefully mis-directing his backpass, Kewell was suddenly one-on-one with goalkeeper Mart Poom and the buzz of expectation echoed round the stadium.
Poom stood his ground, Kewell couldn't make his mind up and, as he was ushered into no-mans land, his 70th minute moment of glory turned sour.
Derby boss Jim Smith admitted that his outfit had arrived at Elland Road with a game-plan. In such cases, this usually means throttling, stifling and restricting the opposition and this was no exception.
One result was that Kewell had seen precious little of the ball before his opportunity came and, on that count, he can perhaps be forgiven his headlong tumble into the maxim that he who hesitates is lost.
Better service would have ensured more fine tuning and a more accurate fixing of sights. It is a commentary on affairs that the best pass he received all afternoon came from an opponent.
While there was to be no silence of The Rams, there were enough positive elements in this Leeds display to provide a foundation for better things to come.
Right-back Danny Mills made a sterling debut, combining stout defensive work with an unyielding appetite for getting forward and trying his luck. His gung-ho attitude always seemed most likely to undo Derby's best laid plans and he had Poom worried with a stinging free-kick on the hour.
Lee Bowyer, who tried his heart out, was also denied by Poom - and only just - when his long range shot surprised the keeper enough for the ball to wriggle goalwards under his body. But he got a hand on it right on the line.
Up front Alan Smith was suffering an ankle injury and was replaced just seven minutes into the second period by Stephen McPhail. According to Manager David O'Leary, Smith should not really have played, while record signing Michael Bridges is not fully fit because of a lack of big match action in recent months. As O'Leary said, it does not take a rocket scientist to deduce that the number one priority for Leeds is for the £12m realised by the sale of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink to Atletico Madrid to be spent on a replacement striker.
That, again, is a credit column mark. With a big man in to lead fully fit Smith and Bridges the picture will change completely.
First rate defensive performances by captain Lucas Radebe and Jonathan Woodgate contributed to goalkeeper Nigel Martyn having just a single shot to save in the entire game, while both David Hopkin and Bowyer worked tirelessly in midfield.
There was much to admire in Ian Harte's contribution and nothing more so than his 20-yard free-kick which flew agonisingly wide just before the break.
The stop-start match in greasy conditions saw no fewer than eight yellow cards, which was a source of frustration for O'Leary.
"The game kept being interrupted by too many finicky decisions" he said. "It never flowed."
His consolation is that all flows start with a trickle and at least the tap has been turned on in his first full season of management - a campaign in which he is keen to play down the prospects of the title challenge expected in some quarters.
We will see.
© Yorkshire Evening Post
England coach Kevin Keegan turned up at Elland Road expecting to see some of the best young English talent strutting its stuff for Leeds.
Yet Derby's foreign legion spoiled the show with a gritty display of aggression and well-drilled defence which frustrated Leeds and their followers in a bumper crowd of over 40,000.
The Rams had never beaten Leeds in the Premiership and they managed just one shot on target in the entire 90 minutes. With 27 goals scored and just one conceded in their six pre-season matches, Leeds' youngsters were high on confidence. Yet for all the potential on view, there were precious few goalmouth incidents and instead the focus fell on a great player from Leeds' past.
A statue was unveiled before the game of Billy Bremner, the former Leeds and Scotland skipper, who inspired an era of glory for the Yorkshire side in the 60s and early 70s.
Bremner died 20 months ago of a heart attack at the tragically young age of 54 and his ashes were scattered at the Kop end at a private ceremony on the morning of the game.
Manager David O'Leary is eager to recapture the success enjoyed by the club in Bremner's era, but he admits it will take time, and his fledglings proved him right as the Rams stubbornly refused to be brushed aside.
Two of Leeds' summer signings, Michael Bridges and Danny Mills, were impressive, but Michael Duberry had to be content with watching from the bench, while Derby's only debutant was Seth Johnson, their £2.5million buy from Crewe.
Johnson looked the part in County's midfield but Leeds clearly missed the physical presence and goal-poaching skills of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbank following his £12million move to Atletico Madrid, and the gap left by the Dutchman cries out to be filled.
Tony Dorigo, the former Leeds defender, received Derby's first yellow card of the season for a 23rd-minute trip on Lee Bowyer, who was put through by a piece of magical footwork from the eager Bridges.
The visitors went on to total five bookings, while overworked referee Graham Barber flashed his yellow card at three Leeds players in an untidy contest.
Tempers boiled in the 84th minute when players from both sides steamed in and Barber contented himself with taking the names of Bowyer and Darryl Powell from an incident that could easily have filled his book.
Derby's cat-and-mouse tactics worked like a charm, the home attacks coming to grief against a defence containing three centre-backs.
Ian Harte almost ended the stalemate with a wickedly curling left-footed free-kick which thundered just outside Mart Poom's left-hand post, but anyone expecting Leeds to take the game by storm was mistaken.
O'Leary's side had to show immense patience, while remaining wary of Francesco Baiano, lurking in the gap between the midfield. The lone striking role was filled by Dean Sturridge in the first half and substitute Deon Burton in the second, until Baiano himself gave way to Mikkel Beck.
Alan Smith, who was largely subdued having suffered an ankle injury in the days leading up to the match, was replaced just five minutes after the break by Leeds midfielder Stephen McPhail, Harry Kewell moving forward to partner Bridges.
United had an overwhelming share of possession, but worryingly for O'Leary, their only real threat came from driven shots and free-kicks from distance.
Poom looked suspect on several occasions and he only clung onto Bowyer's low 25-yard drive at the second attempt when a breakthrough threatened midway through the second half.
Yet the 'keeper rescued Derby by standing his ground and refusing to be tricked by Kewell's intricate footwork when the Australian swooped on Powell's back-pass and found himself with only Poom guarding the net 13 minutes from time.
Hasselbank would surely have gobbled up the chance, but Kewell was much too elaborate and Leeds had to settle for a point which should have been three.