FA Carling Premiership
Leeds United 2 - 1 Bradford City
(Half-time: 0 - 0)
|Martyn, Kelly, Radebe, Woodgate, Harte, Bakke, Bowyer, Batty, McPhail, Smith (Huckerby 76), Bridges
|Hopkin, Mills, Duberry, Robinson
|Clarke, Halle, Wetherall, O'Brien, Sharpe, Lawrence, Windass, McCall, Redfearn (Blake 64), Beagrie (Myers 78), Mills
|Westwood, Whalley, Walsh
|Smith 54, Harte (pen) 80
|Mills, McCall, Windass, Sharpe
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers
|A Lucky Day
|Bradford match report
|Leeds limp across the line
|The Electronic Telegraph
|Smith steadies shaky Leeds
|Leeds emerge from age of innocence
|The Sunday Times
|Leeds inspired by Batty
|O'Leary's kids show they're no dummies
|Harte breaker for Bradford
|Yorkshire Evening Post
|Smith sparks dull derby into life
|Leeds take Yorkshire pride
|Leeds United 2 - 1 Bradford City
Today started out pretty well and just got better. Down in Laarndon a bus turned up just as I got to the stop, the tube was there at the station and GNER actually managed to get me to Leeds 6 minutes early. Our intended pub destination was closed, so we ended up in the Vic for a couple of excellent beers (Tetley's Mild & Black Sheep) and followed it up with a quickie in a dodgy-looking pub that turned out to be just starting a fresh barrel of Tim Taylor's Landlord. And when I got to the ground in time to buy a programme and see the kick-off, I was immediately worried that the day was going too well and that the game wouldn't turn out as well as we'd want.
The first half crystallised these worries as Leeds dominated possession but didn't create enough real chances. The best shot of the half came from Peter Beagrie who forced Nigel Martyn into an excellent save, tipping the ball over the bar, and it was Beagrie who also produced a header which needed a smart save.
Eirik Bakke and Stephen McPhail had decent chances but neither was that close to beating Matt Clarke in the Bradford goal. Our best first half chance came from Lucas - upfield for a corner, he produced a powerful goalbound header from beyond the back post. The ball was scrambled clear, just ahead of Alan Smith's arrival and the scores remained level.
For a local derby, it was generally a fairly tame game, and with the ref being Paul Durkin not Mike Reed, we were guaranteed that any bookings given would be for real fouls rather than imagined transgressions. The four Bradford players (and Lee Bowyer) to be booked were all punished for over-enthusiastic and clumsy challenges rather than anything malicious, but Stuart McCall was particularly lucky to stay on: his original booking was the second time he had committed a similar foul, and when he produced another challenge that stopped a quick Leeds break in the second half, he was counting his blessings that we had a lenient ref.
Leeds came out for the second half with a bit more purpose and we finally got a slightly lucky breakthrough 10 minutes into the second half. Michael Bridges - who had a good game playing all the way across the front - lashed a ball goalwards. Alan Smith, under pressure from David Wetherall, stuck out a leg and the ball looped high over Matt Clarke and into the net. Darren Huckerby made his customary appearance as sub replacing Alan Smith who, despite the goal, had not been that effective. We were hoping to see that switch make a big difference against a tiring Bradford defence, but once again he failed to take advantage.
With 10 minutes left, McCall rounded off a miserable day for himself by woefully underhitting a backpass that put Lee Bowyer clean through. Matt Clarke did well to make a challenge on the edge of his area to deny the initial attack, but when David Batty tried to pick up the rebound, Clarke tangled with him and the linesman flagged for a penalty. Ian Harte stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot and we were well on the way.
Still time for a couple of last-minute palpitations though: Jamie Lawrence ran straight through the middle of the defence but blazed the ball high and wide into the Bradford fans in the South Stand, and then with injury time beckoning, Dean Windass found himself on the end of the ball in an apparently offside position. The flag stayed down and Windass pulled a goal back, but it was too little too late for Bradford.
Man of the Match once again was David Batty, with commendations for Michael Bridges and Nigel Martyn. Stephen McPhail produced a few good moments but still isn't the consistent player we need, and Eirik Bakke got into a few good positions but didn't take full advantage or involve himself as much as he needed. Gary Kelly was caught ball-watching a couple of times, and overall it wasn't a great performance, but unfortunately for Bradford, it doesn't take a great performance to beat them at the moment.
It seems like such a long time ago. This was an extremely dull and unmemorable game.
As usual the visitors came with a packed defence (I mean the wanky-dancer at wing back! the guy's never made a tackle in his life) and midfield, with just the one striker, sort of. And as usual we threatened to put 10 past them in the first 10 minutes or so, but we didn't score early and so we huffed and puffed and eventually fluked the lead after 60 minutes. In fact all the goals were of dubious quality.
Kewell's absence meant that Bakke started on the right, which in turn pushed LeBowya into central midfield. This seemed to suit both of them, and the team. We might be better playing this combination with Harry in for Smith, but playing a sort of roving role behind Bridges.
Bridges again looked class when we played the ball into feet, he was continuosly turning and running at them - causing panic - or else laying the ball off to Kelly, Bakke or Bowyer running beyond him. The right wing seemed to work very well in this game. but we did fall back into our old habits of bloody awful crossing/corners/dead balls. The only one where we looked remotely like scoring was when Lucas popped up at the back post on another long corner, but the keeper made a good save.
Apart from Bakke who was operating a shoot from anywhere within 35 yards policy - one or two of which nearly paid off - the rest of the team seemed to be trying to walk the ball into the net. And to be honest the keeper didn't have to make too many saves. Although our defence looked solid they did have a couple of chances - Beagrie's header at the back post in the first half was tipped over by Nige, and Lawrence -of the bizarre hair - blazed hilariously high and wide when clean through 5 minutes from time. It wouldn't have been so funny if he'd have scored and then Windass had gone on to score despite being 3 yards offside.
Our goals ;
1-0 Bridges set off down the right on another run, lost the ball McCall thought he had the loose one, but exocet Batty blasted through the ball and the man and the loose ball ran back to Bridges who beat one heading towards the box. He hit it - probably a shot - but it went straight to the feet of Smith and Wetherall who were charging towards the front post, about 8 yards out, it bounced off somebody - I though it was Wethers at first - the replays seem to show it was Smith. Keeper wrongfooted.
2-0 Very weak backpass from 45 out on their left - Bowyer chases it, gets there before the keeper, but it bounces off him, Batty and Keeper arrive at the same time for the bouncing ball. Batty goes down - 50-50 at best. Penalty given. Harte tucks it away.
their goal - was offside by a country mile.
MARTYN -6- Decent enough without being outstanding
KELLY -7- added good balance - was just about on top vs Beagrie. Linked well going forward.
HARTE -7- had little to do at the back.
RADEBE -7- For the defending -2- for the distribution, shockingly bad.
WOODGATE -8- Bossed Mills completely.
BAKKE -7- like this guy. Goes forward at speed and with purpose. Needs tolook up for the through ball once in a while.
BOWYER -6- more obviously at home in the middle - but possibly trying too hard to make the point. The diving at the slightest knock is getting annoying.
BATTY -9- a demonstration of the art of midfield holding play.
McPHAIL -7- He is getting better, and he does seem to be working on the identified weaknesses in his game - tackling and tracking back.
BRIDGES -8- some sublime moments again upfront - he loses decent defenders like Wethers with ease.
SMITH -6- not firing on all cylinders, but got a goal. Possibly the one to make way for a new signing?
HUCKERBY - came on - ran fast - didn't pass it much - final whistle.
Crowd - bloke somewhere behind me had a fiver at 33-1 on a 2-1 result, and so cheered when they scored, having called Lawrence a dickhead a couple of minutes previously.
PS - Leaving the ground a pissed up bloke smacked on the side of a car that he thought was driving a bit recklessly through the crowds. The passenger, a woman got out and started having a right old pop back at this guy - she'd obviously had a few as well - she's shoving him in the chest giving it "C'mon big man give us a smack... you're so hard...That's my kids in the car...you're putting 'em in danger..." blah blah blah. He's getting more pissed off shouting to her fella to get out and fight him like a man, telling the woman that he's not "going to hit her is he?". Woman eventually backs off into the car where her bloke's shouting to her to get back in, and the pissed up lad shouts "yeah go on fuck off you Scots slag" ... to which the assembled mass of about half of Elland Road shout "she's Irish you daft bastard" ... and the whole thing ends with everybody giggling... Funny what you see sometimes.
It never ceases to amaze me how daft some football managers can be. Take a listen to the post match comments after any game and you'll see what I mean....
For one an incredulous Bobby Robson, manager....i mean head coach.... ...head coach sounds like somebody a budding porn star should hire.....of the ever-so-popular Newcastle United team seemed like he was about to cry when relating how the Watford fans had berated the nation's favourite striker. Poor old fucking Alan Shearer. He's done so much for his country over the years and the fans that once cheered him now jeer him. Has Bobby Robson finally gone senile ? - he probably has considering he's 193 and only a 500v generator shoved up his trouser leg keeps him alive. Bobby - I hate to tell you this mate, but no fucker likes Alan Shearer, and they never have. So you can shove your Big Mac, fries and large coke up his big fat cheating Geordie arse.
Secondly, Bradford's manager (they're not chic enough to have a head coach), I forget his name, sniffed and sobbed about class divide with Leeds having 25 million pounds worth of talent sat raring to go on the bench. Nice maths big man. I estimate that makes Paul Robinson worth about 12 million. Any takers anyone ?
Enough about managers.
The comic moment of this game, every game has one, came just before the 2nd half started. Bradford finally reappeared. Leeds Old Boy David Wetherall trotted out, nervously glancing up at the Kop. As one they sang the Big Fella's name and reminded themselves of the goal that helped dump Scum once. Wetherall was chuffed. Former White, Gunnar Halle was next, a chant of "Gunnar" brought the Norwegian out in a beaming smile ("they never sang my name when I played for them" he thought). At this point all eyes turned to Bratfut's makeshift left back. Lee Sharpe held his breath. Everyone laughed. "SHIT SCUM BASTARD! YOU'RE JUST A SHIT SCUM BASTARD." All very predictable but the timing was superb.
It's just a pity the additional words, Useless, Waste-of-fucking-money, Idle and Piss Artist couldn't fit into the tune too.
I haven't mentioned the game yet, mainly cos it was shite. Bradford came for a point. How many times have we said that about our visitors this season ? To their credit they did a good job. They are a piss poor team when you look at them so any point is a welcome one for them.
Leeds with no Harry Kewell, resorted to a more orthodox 4-4-2. Bakke in on the right, Bowyer more central and the enigmatic McFrail on the left. With Redfearn and McCall in the middle for our poor relations it was always going to be a tussle.
3 o'clock came and the eagerly awaited contest was about to begin....the blue touch paper was lit and ...........
...........nothing much happened.
Leeds huffed and puffed but could not blow the Bradford house down. Not by the hair of their chinny chin chins. The wolf was denied its prey.
Bakke was the first to catch the eye. A few dangerous raids down the right either resulted in a hopeful long shot or a woeful cross into the South Stand or their keeper palms. Come on Eirik you can do better son.
Batts and Bowyer went toe-to-toe with their veteran midfield counter- parts and came out with a slight but hard earned edge. McCall pushed the referee's tolerance to the limit, Bowyer as usual made meals of any slightly mistimed challenges. (That particular skill should get him in the England set-up alone where he can then really start learning how to cheat properly from some of the Man U lads). Batty was the difference. A class act, tackles timed to perfection and a display of controlled aggression that Jackie Chan would be proud of.
As the 1st half wore on we'd clearly run out of ideas. The players and the crowd impatiently waiting for half-time in the hope that an O'Leary team talk would put some spice into this Korma strengthed affair.
Michael Bridges, a shining jewel in a big dog's turd of an attack looked our only hope. Bridgo can twist, turn, shimmy, weave, glide but his passing on Saturday was about as subtle as an old lady's perfume. Smithy is out of sorts. He could do with a rest or maybe change his style of play. i.e. make the little shithouse run about a bit more.
Half-time came, the urinals in the Kop flowed with hot steaming 2nd hand lager, and greasy pies swam in rivers of mushy peas before being devoured by an army of hungry Yorkshiremen. At the same time Mr O'Leary was threatening his class of miscreants with detention if they didn't improve their grades in the 2nd half.
It did the trick for 15 minutes. Leeds fizzed and buzzed and gaps appeared behind the Bradford back line. We were going to win this game. You could see it in the players eyes. Kelly and Harte were getting more involved and Bridges badgered their defence with his mouth-watering skills.
The all important goal came on the hour. There was an element of good fortune. Batty nearly snapped McCall in two with a bulldozer of a tackle. The ball broke to Bridges and his rather tame shot rolled up the wheel of Smiffy's pram and up and over the stranded 'keeper.
We needed another quick goal to make sure. But no, we took our foot off the gas and City were for once on the offensive. Blake came on for the visitors and wasted 2 half chances. Radebe impeded Martyn from a Sharpe corner and Wetherall correctly headed over. He knew what he was doing.
Hucks came on and flattered to deceive once again. One day it'll all come right and he might actually get a cross in. Leeds came again. McFrail nearly opened his Leeds account with a sweetly struck shot but was denied by Clarke. Then a surprising mistake by the trusty McCall let in Bowyer who challenged 50-50 with their keeper. The ball broke to Batts who dived, Greg Luganis style, over the keeper for a penalty. The linesman flagged furiously. The ref, Paul Durkin the Jerkin Gherkin, pointed to the spot. Cuddles all round for Batty. Harte wrong footed Clarke, bizarre celebrations but we'd won...
...or so we thought. Lawrence, black, with bleached blonde hair strolled past Harte and clobbered a delicious chance wide. He looked a knob - Leeds fans now began to taunt Bradford big style. If Lawrence had scored then it would have been a difficult last 10 minutes or so.
As it happens the Bantams did get a chance to crow as an isolated Windass (great name) disappeared off the linesman's radar to round Nigel for a consolation. Not enough time left for us to worry too much but relief at the final whistle that we'd got the result we'd just about deserved and kept our Yorkshire rivals in their place.
Their keeper, Clarke, deserves a mention. No bugger has ever heard of him before but he played a bit of a blinder.
Score on the Doors - alright my love ? -------------------------------------- Good Game ? Good game ? - no it was actually quite poor but we won so who gives a monkey's ass? Martyn 6.5 Not very busy but made a belting save from a point blank Beagrie header. Kelly 6.5 Poor crossing let him down. Ok at the back. Harte 6.5 Great penalty, still has his lapses in defence. Wake up Potato head! Radebe 7 Usual quality with last ditch challenges. Plop passing. Woody 6.5 Handled the imposing but donkey-like Lee Mills well. Bakke 6.5 Broke well but wasted too many openings. Dopey twat. Bowyer 7 Fought and fought and fought and dived. Batty 8 As above but with an older and wiser head and extra pike and tuck McFrail 7 Fantastically gifted player, needs to do more in the opponents half though. Might yet end up at Rotherham. Bridges 7 Passing poor, shooting shite. Otherwise magic. Smith 4 Should be sent to the Headmaster for 6 of the best. I think the excitement of Christmas is getting to him. Oh mummy can I have a Scaletrix, please please please. Sub: Hucks 10 Only given 15 mins. He's so bad he's brilliant. I'd even pay good money to watch this bloke play without a ball...oh I just did. Subs not deemed good enough despite being worth "20-odd million" : Mills, Robinson, Plopkin, Doobs.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 21/11/1999.
A sub-par performance, a deflected goal, a disputed penalty and three points born from attrition rather than artistry. Perhaps Leeds United are credible Championship candidates after all.
Certainly, the current Premiership title holders would have seen more than a passing resemblance to themselves in the expert and dogged manner in which Leeds ground out victory in this West Yorkshire derby.
And while manager David O'Leary was perhaps slightly over-enthusiastic in his ana-lysis - 'We totally dominated the game,' he opined - he drew comparison with the rivals from across the Penines.
© Guardian Media Group plc
Copy from Football Unlimited of 21/11/1999.
© Guardian Media Group plc