FA Carling Premiership
Derby County 0 - 1 Leeds United
(Half-time: 0 - 0)
|« Spartak Moscow
|Spartak Moscow »
|Martyn, Kelly, Woodgate, Radebe, Harte, Bakke, Bowyer, McPhail (Jones), Kewell, Huckerby (Smith), Bridges
|Robinson, Mills, Duberry
|Poom, Laursen (Prior 64), Carbonari, Elliott, Delap, Burley, Powell, Kinkladze (Dorigo 75), Johnson, Sturridge, Burton (Christie 81)
|Harte 90 (pen)
|Bakke, Kelly, Smith
|Johnson, Laursen, Prior
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers
|Why bother with the first 90?
|Leeds delight in Harte break
|The Electronic Telegraph
|Harte puts Leeds back on top
|Harte spot on as Leeds leave it late
|Harte sends Leeds back to the summit
|Yorkshire Evening Post
|United spot on in late late show
|Leeds leave victory late
|Derby County 0 - 1 Leeds United
It happened again! Don't ask me how we did it because I've got no idea. All I know is that after 90+ minutes of solid (and, let's be honest, uninspiring) defending from the home side, and after very few on-target shots from Leeds, we somehow managed to squeak a win and another 3 points.
Which is not to say we didn't deserve it. We did: there was only one team out there vaguely interested in winning today and it wasn't the home team. True, they're in the relegation zone, but they've just had a run of playing us, ManU, Arse, Liverpool and Chelsea - which must have had Jim Smith cursing his luck when the fixture list was announced - and got very little from it. They were intent on saving the point they started out with, and despite that, it was probably Nigel Martyn who had the most important saves of the game. He stopped Kinkladze in the second half, and also blocked a header from Elliott that looked goal-bound.
By contrast, Mart Poom probably spent most of the afternoon quietly chuckling to himself at the thought that Leeds actually paid money for Darren Huckerby. Hucks has the potential to be a great player. But first he's got to remember to take the ball with him when going past players, to realise he can't actually beat every single player on the pitch every time, and to realise that the goal is that large thing with posts at the end of the pitch. I appreciate that the last definition could equally apply to the stand - which might explain why so many of his efforts ended up there - including one abysmal attempt after he'd been set free by Harry Kewell.
After Thursday's patchy performance, Harry Kewell was back to his best, appearing on both sides of the pitch, beating players, getting the ball into good positions and generally bossing the game. Michael Bridges once again showed why we're lost without his eager runs and his strength and vision up front. And David Batty showed by his absence that he's the most important player in the squad - Lee Bowyer's effective performance was once again tempered by his need to provide defensive coverage in a midfield unit that was completed by Stephen McPhail and Eirik Bakke.
Alan Smith looked eager when he came on, and when he nodded the ball out of Poom's hands and slotted it home, the ref pointed to the centre circle - only to allow the linesman to overrule him.
Tony Dorigo came on as a sub and got a good reception from the travelling Leeds fans. Stephen McPhail picked up a worrying injury and was replaced by Matthew Jones - nice to see him picking up some more first-team experience. Jon Woodgate and Lucas Radebe looked so much more comfortable together than any of the other pairings we've tried at centreback, and it will be good to see them there on Thursday.
90 minutes came, the scores were level and we were resigned to losing 2 points: we'd not made enough clearcut chances and they'd defended well. With 20 seconds remaining, Harry tried one last run into the box. It looked like he had over-run the ball as he came towards us, but for some reason Horacio Carbonari slid in from the side and may or may not have made contact with Kewell's trailing leg. H needed no second invitation and went down like a dying swan. We were busy awarding him marks for artistic merit, while the ref pointed to the spot. Ian Harte blasted the ball straight this time, Poom dived out of the way and we'd somehow got out of jail again.
The Leeds crowd were pretty good throughout - a massive cheer in the depths of the stand at half-time resulted in several hundred (plastic) beer glasses being thrown in the air and resulted in rather a lot of drenched Leeds fans. Something rather unpleasant happened to Gav courtesy of one of the moron tendency, and Martyn found himself in a similar position to a few listers last year, forced by plod onto the Bus From Hell when he was trying to walk back to the station. After the game, we found a nice quiet hotel away from the station that was only too happy to serve us a celebratory cup of tea - it was Sunday tea-time after all!
Enjoyed a leisurely train trip, accompanied by 3 close friends (3 cans of Stella), arrived in Derby just before one and found the pub (u listening Betts?) within a minute or two. I actually found the right pub. Jesus.
Met Adie-T in there and commenced washing down 'instant' pints of Pedigree before we adjourned to Pride Park at 2:40, quite a few listers there (a dozen or so) and no hint of any trouble or whatever in the Brunswick. Everyone happy.
Sat with the list mob at the back/right of the stand, we had a terrific following (4-4,500 fans) and a whole end, the fans were really up for it and the atmosphere excellent.
As for the game, well, it was just like playing at home - Derby trying to stifle us and looked like they'd settle for a point before a ball was kicked.
We seemed (as usual) to have loads of possession, do lots of nice moves, but really didn't have any edge up front. Huckerby was a waste of space and Bridges wasn't firing on all cylinders. Kewell had his moments, but still couldn't hit a barn door (although he's getting good at hitting the crossbar now). It was a replay of the Saints game and Penalty or not (I thought yes, but not after seeing a replay) we deserved the points on merit.
We will never score from a corner...
Martyn - 7 - Spectator for long periods, couple of excellent
saves when needed
Kelly - 6 - Eratic, poor distribution, not his best game
Woody - 7 - Solid
Radabe - 9 - His best game for us for some time, excellently timed tackles (and I'd thought we hadn't missed him much)
Harte - 8 - Kept his nerve for the penalty, always a useful option on the left, wasted another freekick though
Bakke - 7 - Good game, nice that we have a creative midfielder, unlucky not to score
McPhail - 7 - Worked hard, limped off (how unlucky is this guy?)
Bowyer - 8 - Worked very hard
Kewell - 7 - Caused problems, cocked-up plenty of times, earnt a dodgy penalty (bless him)
Huckerby - 4 - Awful, wasted perhaps our best chance
Bridges - 6 - Held the ball up well, unlucky to score, off the boil for him, but glad to see him fit
Smith - 7 - Looked far more effective than Huckerby, who is a sub, not a starting striker
Jones - n/a - Not enough time for an impact
Ref - 9/10 - Brilliant last second penalty decision. About time.
Leeds fans - 9/10 - Excellent showing, top atmosphere and absolutely memorable mass beer frenzy at half time (whole of stand thoroughfare was packed), all fans singing "lets go fucking mental" and beers being thrown in the air (at least 100 pints went in the air...)
Derby fans - 5/10 - Piss poor, but they were at home and we're as bad at home
Policing - 1/10 - Back to the dark ages as far as I'm concerned, reporting officer 2101 for man-handling me and throwing me onto a bus when I got split from the list mob after the game, despite 2 other officers giving me walking directions to the brunswick pub. Spent 30mins on a bus with the 'no surrender' lot, thought we were all going to get knicked. Eventually got back to the previously friendly Brunswick, where I was intent on regrouping with the list lot and was told at the door to "fuck off, if you know whats good for you" "come in here with that shirt on and you'll get your head ripped off". Nice.
They don't like losing much. One of the worst post-match atmospheres I've experienced in years. God knows what it was like after the 5-0 win. Lets hope they go down, they're mixture of idiotic neanderthals, fascist coppers and dull, insipid, life-sucking football will not be missed by me.
Other than that (and having to stand all the way back on the DELAYED 18.14 to Edinburgh) it was top entertainment.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 06/12/1999.
The game of leapfrog at the top of the Premiership continues although until the fourth minute of stoppage time here yesterday it appeared that Leeds United had missed their turn. Then one rash lunge by a Derby defender, followed by Ian Harte's resounding penalty, restored David O'Leary's precocious side to first place.
Considering that Leeds had only returned home from Sofia after their 2-1 Uefa Cup defeat by Spartak Moscow in the early hours of Friday morning, the victory was more than usually gratifying. Yet had Horacio Carbonari, Derby's Argentine centre-back, not upended Harry Kewell at that late stage they would have gone home ruing an inability to express their overall superiority in terms of goals.
As it was the emphatic victories achieved with much-changed teams that the previous day had taken Arsenal and then Manchester United to the top emphasised the greater strength in depth of both compared with O'Leary's squad. Alan Smith, newly recovered from injury, came off the bench late in yesterday's match but otherwise Leeds's options were slim.
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