FA Carling Premiership
Tottenham Hotspur 1 - 2 Leeds United
(Half-time: 1 - 0)
|« Liverpool||Coventry City »|
|Leeds United||Martyn, Harte, Radebe, Woodgate (Hopkin 46), Bridges (Huckerby 46), Kewell, Bowyer, Smith, Mills (Kelly 65), Duberry, Batty||Robinson, Haaland|
|Tottenham Hotspur||Walker, Carr, Taricco, Freund, Perry, Sherwood, Ferdinand (Dominguez 46, Nielsen 84), Iversen, Ginola, Leonhardsen, Young||Baardsen, Fox, King|
|Leeds United||Smith 53, Harte 83|
|Tottenham Hotspur||Sherwood 36|
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|Leeds United||Bowyer, Bridges, Smith, Duberry, Radebe||Smith|
|Tottenham Hotspur||Taricco, Freund|
|Leeds United||Tottenham Hotspur|
|Shots on goal||13||19|
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers||17, 3||?|
|Jabba||(Yet another) Game of Two Halves|
|Matt G||Tottenham Report|
|The Observer||Babies have Spurs crying|
|The Guardian||Truth hard for Graham to swallow|
|The Electronic Telegraph||Graham fears realised as Spurs slip up|
|The Times||Leeds take leaf out of Graham's book|
|The Sunday Times||Spurs pay for losing Harte|
|The Independent on Sunday||O'Leary torments his mentor|
|The Independent||Graham enthused by old flame|
|Yorkshire Evening Post||The pupil laughs last after classic contest with teacher|
|BBC||Harte gains sweet revenge for Leeds|
|Carlingnet||Tottenham Hotspur 1 - 2 Leeds United|
White Hart Lane is not that far from where I live. My neighbours are Spurs fans. There are piles of them at work. And the conniving bung-merchant is the manager. Plenty of reasons for me to want Leeds to win today, and plenty of reasons to feel desperate at half-time.
It's sometimes said that when both managers think the ref was rubbish he must be doing something right. This must be the exception that proves the rule.
Leeds came out (in yellow versions of the blue away shirts - that's more like it - I'll definitely buy one of those) playing 5-3-2, and it was clear from the start that we were going to have problems. Danny Mills was making a decent attempt at handling Ginola, but the talented Frenchman is more than a handful when his dives are ignored by the ref: with Mike Reed buying every single histrionic roll it was going to be an impossible job.
Leeds didn't make life easy for themselves as things continued in pretty much the same vein as Monday, with the midfield over-run and backing off. The half-time highlights showed us having a couple of decent chances, but the fact that these occurred at the far end of the ground and that Spurs did dominate so much probably skewed that impression a bit. The most impressive Leeds contribution to the half came from Nigel Martyn, who conjured up a great save to keep out a powerful header from Iversen.
It wasn't totally unexpected when the goal finally came. Leeds didn't clear a corner, and Danny Mills was just too far away from player and ball as Tim Sherwood smashed the ball home with Nigel Martyn having no chance.
Half-time came and no doubt a few pieces of crockery flew around the dressing room. DOL switched to 4-4-2 with Jonathon Woodgate dropping out of the defence and David Hopkin coming in to midfield, and Darren Huckerby replacing Michael Bridges up front. Bridges hadn't created much, but maybe we needed a bit more pace and aggression.
The new formation seemed to pay off as Leeds were far more dominant in the second half. Partly because of the half-time departure of the injured Les Ferdinand, and partly because the midfield were now giving the defence more protection, the whole team looked more confident, and when David Batty's pass found Alan Smith in the area, he produced a great turn and a shot that crept inside Ian Walker's right hand post.
Ginola was in the game much less in the second half, but after one altercation with Lee Bowyer, he set off on a run that beat 4 players and produced a superb shot across the face of Nigel Martyn's goal that the keeper did very well to save. With about 20 minutes to go, David Hopkin beat three attempted fouls and three Spurs players to get to the byline and pull back the ball for Lee Bowyer on the 6 yard line. The Leeds end was almost airborne - as was the ball - 10 feet over the bar.
Spurs were starting to play the way Leeds had played in the first half. Too many players backed off Lee Bowyer as he made a run, and Chris Perry's lunge for the ball may have made the faintest of contacts on the ball, but made sure that Bowyer couldn't continue. Gary Kelly - making a solid return in place of Danny Mills - tried to take a quick kick, but Reed wasn't ready. For the re-take, there was a gap in the wall that Ian Harte's screamer of a shot found, and - despite getting a finger to it - Ian Walker could do nothing about it.
One final incident marred the game. As Leeds brought the ball forward, some scrappy play left Alan Smith trying to play the ball on the floor. Taricco stamped on Smith's shin, and when Smith got up and brushed Taricco's stomach with the back of his head, the Invisible Man sprinted on to the pitch and hit Taricco in the head with an invisible hammer. Or at least, I assume that's what happened, because that's the only feasible explanation for Taricco's sudden collapse in apparent agony. The linesman (who had been on the end of some fairly long-running abuse from Smith before) decided that he'd seen a foul, and we all expected to see Taricco (who had already been booked) get a red card for the stamp. But, as is the way with these things, it was Smith who received a second yellow card, while the player who committed the more serious offence stayed on. I'd like to think that Mike Reed would look at the video and do something about his mistake - but I've not yet seen Satan skate to work, so I'm not holding my breath.
Chants of the day: "Wash and go" and "Fell over" at Ginola. Definitely not chant of the day: "Spurs are on their way to Belsen..." - at least the stewards got a few of the low-life who were singing that particular song.
Well another game where there is a "Bit of feeling between the clubs", this manifested itself in a bit of trouble outside ground just prior to kick-off, not the first time that's happened along Tottenham High Road in recent years. The same feeling meant it was very noisy in the Leeds bit from the outset.
DOL had gone for the usual away tactic of 3 at the back, with Duberry coming in for Hopkin and Smith preferred to Huckerby upfront. We had a lot of early pressure but despite having loads of early crosses into their box we failed to get on the end of any of them. Kewell was again causing problems breaking on from midfield and wasted 2 good shooting chances from edge of area. The game was very competitive - but for first 25 minutes or so we had a lot of ball and looked the better team.
Then Martyn made a good save from Iversen's header but this was swiftly followed by the goal when Freund's throw-in was nodded back for Sherwood to score. To be honest we were lucky to hold on til half-time at just 1-0 as totally lost our way towards end of first half. Ferdinand just missed Ginola's cross and Iversen who was losing Woodgate too easily missed a couple of decent chances.
Subs were needed, however the changes weren't what I expected but DOL was proved correct. I thought Duberry would have gone off but Woody disappeared and to my surprise Bridges was taken off when I thought Smith had looked pretty anonymous. Apart from one Ginola run ("Wash and Go - F*** off") in the second half we were much more in charge. Hopkin making a big difference as we began to take over midfield and hold onto the ball better. The first goal came after a good spell of pressure, Batty played a reverse ball into Smith who turned his defender beautifully and buried it in the corner. We should have gone further ahead when Hopkin unbelievably beat three men in the corner by the Leeds fans but his cut-back was sliced over by Bowyer. The longer the half went on the more of the ball we had, as Ginola became more and more anonymous, though Mills had had to swapped with Kelly (to a rapturous reception).
The free-kick - yes of course Bowyer falls over whenever anyone looks at him but Judas George can hardly complain when the arch-exponent Ginola was far worse and mysteriously escaped without a booking despite the ref spotting the dive and refusing to give a free-kick on several occasions. What no-one noticed was that we did shuffle the ball more to the side after Walker had lined the wall up and while the ref was still moving them back. This gave Harte a better angle - but it was still a great strike though, that went straight through Walker.
Even with the sending off we held on pretty comfortably for the rest of the game. Now Smith probably did deserve to go for retalitating, but I can't believe that Taricco got off scot free for stamping on him right in front of the linesman.
Still that couldn't really spoil a really sweet result.
Martyn 8 - MoM Proved that he should replace Seaman for England next week with at least 2 World Class saves.
Mills 6 - Competed well with Ginola without ever really looking in control.
Kelly looked more comfortable when he came on.
Harte 7 - Still a bit unconvincing defensively but one hell of a goal.
Radebe 7.5 - Not quite as imperious as usual but still the best defender.
Woodgate 6 - Struggled a bit in 1st half, caught the wrong side of the defender more than once.
Duberry 7 - Also looked a bit lost as to where he should be in the 1st half, solid 2nd half.
Batty 8 - Took control of midfield in 2nd half.
Bowyer 7 - Did well to keep battling after early booking, heading for suspension though.
Kewell 7.5 - If he could only shoot, a constant threat as ever, but did run into trouble more often than not.
Bridges 6 - As ever looked neat and tidy without threatening especially.
Smith 6 - Looked better when playing in the centre 2nd half, good goal, stupid sending-off.
Hopkin 8 - Definitely helped to change the match and helped win control of midfield in 2nd half.
Huckerby 6 - Helped the team achieve a better balance, but needs to learn another tactic apart from head down and charge for goal.
The apprentice produced a little sorcery to see off his mentor at White Hart Lane yesterday. The Leeds manager David O'Leary re-organised and re-invigorated his side at half-time and they went on to turn a one-goal deficit into a single-goal win over George Graham's Tottenham Hotspur, despite finishing the game with 10 men after having Alan Smith sent off.
Tim Sherwood's goal seemed to have sent Spurs on the way to a fourth consecutive win, but O'Leary switched from back five to back four, inspired a more aggressive attitude and goals from Smith and Ian Harte resulted. Smith's sending-off after an off-the-ball incident with Mauricio Taricco was the only cloud on their horizon.
© Guardian Media Group plc
In the Premiership there is an inner party hoping to cream off the best of what is going, an outer party living off the skim, and the proles who are happy just to survive. Tottenham and Leeds United are outer-party members on the inner-party waiting list.
Saturday's fast, furious and intermittently entertaining scrap at White Hart Lane revealed the teams for precisely what they are. Though 1984 may hold nothing more significant for Leeds than an FA Cup defeat by Scunthorpe, they did beat Spurs on this occasion with the assistance of a rebellious spirit named Smith, Alan not Winston, who eventually learned, nevertheless, that yellow plus yellow equals red.
After the game the Ministry of Truth ran true to form. George Graham, the Tottenham manager, swore that the free-kick from which Ian Harte won the match in the 83rd minute should never have been given. In fact the television replay showed Chris Perry bringing down Lee Bowyer with a mistimed tackle, and since intent no longer comes into the equation the referee, Mike Reed, was vindicated.
© Guardian Media Group plc
David O'Leary, once his assistant at Leeds, tormented his mentor George Graham at White Hart Lane yesterday when his youthful United side spiritedly overcame the reviving Spurs that Graham had rightly warned not to believe that one day at the top was a sign of certain triumphs to come.
After a 2-1 home defeat by Liverpool on Monday, O'Leary had begun to sound a little like his predecessor, who was forever playing down talk of Leeds challenging for the title.
O'Leary had said it was about time some of his players stopped believing in the hype and got on with performing the basics basically well. He added yesterday that people should also stop talking about a feud between himself and his former boss. "Everything I have I owe to him - I was honoured to work with him."
Graham is now doing as he did at Elland Road, reining in optimism about his Spurs side by saying they are a long way from being strong enough in depth to make a season-long pursuit of the title. However he was right in saying that yesterday they did well considering three centre-halves were missing. While Tottenham are reclaiming some of their attractiveness, there is a lot of the old tenacity in this Leeds side. Their counter-attacking sparkles, and playing three in central defence away from home makes them difficult to break down. Even David Ginola's elusiveness and Les Ferdinand's power failed to get the better of them over prolonged first-half foraging.
Having lived through that pressure, Leeds exerted their own with Michael Bridges and Harry Kewell slithering past defenders, and Lee Bowyer and Alan Smith quickly moving up in support. But none of that would have counted for much if it had not been for a wonderfully elegant diving save by Nigel Martyn from Steffen Iversen. His effort delayed Tottenham's lead until the 36th minute when from Steffen Freund's long throw and Iversen's back header, Tim Sherwood shot in from inside a crowded penalty area.
O'Leary's substitutions for the second half had David Hopkin replacing Jonathon Woodgate and Darren Huckerby taking the place of Bridges, which meant having a flat back four defence and wide pace.
Spurs had to withdraw the concussed Ferdinand and brought on little Jose Dominguez. The change almost immediately favoured Leeds. A shrewd reverse pass by David Batty on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area allowed Smith to aim carefully for a gap inside the far post and he almost stroked his shot exactly where he intended for the equaliser.
Lacking Darren Anderton, whose ankle injury Graham says needs a fortnight's rest, had already cost Spurs a lot of speed, width and above all variety of passing. Ginola had his moments but Anderton's directness from midfield was missed. Even so one of those Ginola moments was a high point. He lost Bowyer with a shrug, twisted past two more tackles and bent a shot that would have gone inside the far post had not Martyn again performed superbly well, this time diving and touching the ball away for nothing worse than a corner.
In a tense final 20 minutes Dominguez blasted a shot, only for it to strike Michael Duberry's head. But that marked a turning point. Leeds increased their work rate in midfield.In all they deserved to take the lead after 82 minutes, albeit after a doubtful free-kick. Bowyer seemed to fall after Chris Perry tackled him and Ian Harte avoided the wall with his fierce free-kick. "It was a bad decision, in line with the referee's game," Graham said.
Even though Leeds damaged themselves when Smith was sent off for a second offence, they clung to the lead to make Spurs realise that Graham's caution about Tottenham's progress is not misplaced.
© The Independent
THE exultant air-punching in the direction of the travelling Leeds United hordes which followed the limpest of handshakes in a token gesture to his opposite number summed up all the pent-up emotion of a week in the life of Elland Road boss David O'Leary.
So badly had he wanted to put one over on his erstwhile mentor George Graham that he gave himself time for little else to occupy his thoughts in the countdown to this self-built cataclysm.
Like a heavyweight boxer in the days leading up to a title fight shuts himself off from the world to focus, trance-like, exclusively on his foe, O'Leary's concentration was unwavering.
And when, seven minutes from the end of battle, his knockout blow had been delivered, the victor paid typical tribute to the vanquished.
"I owe everything I have to George Graham," said O'Leary. "I worked under him for two years as a coach and nine years as a player and I can thoroughly recommend that. I would not be here without him."
"George always encouraged me towards management, making my way quietly and not shouting about it, but there were many people who thought that I would never make a manager because I am too nice. Well, I am nice. I was brought up well."
A glowing and genuine tribute indeed. Yet there was no mistaking that these three points, gained on the back of a fabulous second half performance prompted by three substitutions, were priceless to O'Leary.
As against Liverpool five days previously, Leeds were making few inroads and it was no surprise to see them fall behind to a powerful Tim Sherwood strike in the 36th minute.
It had previosuly taken a world-class save by Nigel Martyn to keep out a looping header from Steffen Iversen - the Leeds keeper was later to equal it with a breathtaking stop from David Ginola - and Les Ferdinand's failure to connect with a sweet cross from Ginola on the stroke of half time can only be put down to the concussion he suffered in an early clash of heads with Lucas Radebe.
But combative midfield displays by David Batty and Lee Bowyer and stout defensive work by Michael Duberry combined to minimalise the damage and when, through Batty's tenacity and perseverance, a chance opened for Alan Smith to decisively stroke home the equaliser in the 52nd minute, the tide was visibly turning.
Bowyer was guilty of a nightmare miss from three yards in the 78th minute after some fine work by David Hopkin, who replaced Jonathan Woodgate as Leeds switched to 4-4-2 from 3-5-2 at half time, had given him a match-winning chance.
His blushes were spared, however, just four minutes later. Chris Perry was adjudged to have brought down Bowyer on the edge of the box, and though Darren Huckerby had other ideas Ian Harte was unequivoval about what should be done.
Eyeing Spurs keeper Ian Walker to one side of his goal, Harte wound himself up and unleashed a shot of Concorde take-off velocity into the roof of the net. A 5.9 cartwheel of celebration followed and he knew, O'Leary knew and Graham conceded that there was no way back for Spurs.
There was, however, one more twist in the tale. Three minutes from time Alan Smith head-butted Mauricio Taricco in the stomach in an incident which, unfortunately for him, took place right under the watchful gaze of a linesman with whom he had been remonstrating all afternoon.
It was payback time. The official called over referee Mike Reed, who had already booked Smith and the second yellow card turned to red.
O'Leary was soon seeing the same colour and, in one regard at least, he was of one accord with Graham.
Both were similarly unimpressed with the officials, O'Leary saying that Premiership games had now reached the stage where everybody should be booked before the kick-off so that they could just get on with the action and Graham cursing the Bowyer free-kick decision as a joke.
"Leeds will be happy with their victory in view of the way we played," said Graham "but I still think they will be up there challenging for honours."
And the last word to O'Leary. "Quite a few players don't stay on the field for the full 90 minutes at this place. George was within earshot of the linesman for the Smith incident."
© Yorkshire Evening Post