FA Carling Premiership
West Ham United 0 - 0 Leeds United
(Half-time: 0 - 0)
|Leeds United||Martyn, Kelly, Radebe, Woodgate, McPhail, Wilcox (Huckerby 88), Bakke (Bowyer 79), Mills, Jones, Bridges (Smith 28), Kewell||Robinson, Duberry|
|West Ham United||Bywater, Stimac, Potts , Margas, Ferdinand, Sinclair, Foe, Moncur, Di Canio, Kanoute, Wanchope||Feuer, Newton, McCann, Alexander, Forbes|
|West Ham United|
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|Leeds United||Mills 32, Bowyer 81|
|West Ham United||Moncur 17, Kanoute 64||Foe 90|
|Leeds United||West Ham United|
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers||0||0|
|Matt G||Who put the ball....|
|The Guardian||O'Leary secures rich reward|
|The Electronic Telegraph||Leeds weather the storm to fulfil ambition|
|The Times||O'Leary's babies join the big league|
|Express Sport||O'Leary sails in|
|The Independent||O'Leary salutes stamina of tired players|
|Yorkshire Evening Post||United finally hit the Euro jackpot!|
|BBC||Point just champion for Leeds|
|Soccernet||Leeds limp into port with the gold|
|Carlingnet||West Ham United 0 - 0 Leeds United|
An odd game, I spent nearly as much time listening to and trying to interpret crowd chants around me as watching the game. Bowyer was 'rested' again so Jones played central midfield with Bakke on the right. We started quite well, a couple of neat touches from McPhail giving Wilcox and Mills good crossing chances which came to nothing. Pretty physical in the middle with Jones well involved and Moncur was soon booked for fouling Mills who followed him into the book minutes later. Sinclair then attempted to cut Bakke in half but amazingly avoided a booking.
Suddenly chants of "Who put the ball in the Scousers net" sprung up in the Leeds end, which seemed to signify good news, but as they mutated into "Who put the ball in the Man U net" confusion arose and it wasn't until half time that I was entirely sure that Liverpool were indeed losing. On the pitch Bridges limped off to be replaced by Smith, who soon put Kewell through for the best chance of the first half, but to be honest although we were the better team we didn't really test the young keeper that much.
Second-half the game got ever more scrappy and we lost what little control we had. Making Di Canio captain was an inspired move by Redknapp as it allows him to argue with the ref after every decision without fear of being booked, although to be fair a couple of gorgeous touches in the 2nd half set up West Hams best chances with Martyn saving well from Wanchope. Off the pitch it was very nervous, every burst of noise from the West Ham fans was treated as a possible Liverpool equaliser and sent us looking for the people with radios for reassurance. Bowyer came on for Bakke and was immediately booked, Kewell them played Wilcox in for the best chance of the game but he hit it straight at the keeper. Martyn and Radebe then managed to mess up collecting a long through ball, both leaving it for the other and allowing Di Canio to have a shot blocked by Martyn's leg.
As the game petered out Jones went down from a corner and Foe then kicked him as he lay on the floor and was inevitably sent off. This caused a bit of a crowd surge in which a couple of fans seemed to be hurt and the game finished with Martyn baby sitting 2 crying children caught up in the mayhem. The tannoy announcer then told us that it was still 1-0 at Bradford but that the game had been held up by a pitch invasion. We had no idea whether the hold up was for 30 minutes or 30 seconds, luckily it was the latter and soon the celebrations in the away end could begin in earnest - "We're all going on a Champions league tour" - the players also looked pretty pumped up about it as well as they celebrated in front of us.
After the celebrations, we got outside the ground to find that the tube system had ground to a halt. This meant a few thousand people wandering around desperately looking for any bus or taxi back towards civilisation. A combination of walk, bus and central line got me back to the list meet first, but we had a group of good-natured Liverpool fans to taunt as other listers turned up in dribs and drabs.
Martyn 6 - A couple of decent saves, but nearly another cock-up at the end.
Kelly 6 - OK defensively, didn't get forward too much.
Mills 7 - Pretty solid and tried to attack, though hindered by his total lack of a left foot.
Radebe 8 - Classy and largely in control.
Woodgate 7 - More assured than Dubes is, never really in trouble.
Bakke 6 - Wandered inside a lot from the right, leaving big gaps at times.
McPhail 7 - Started well but faded.
Jones 8 - Battled well, won a lot of ball, though distribution could improve.
Wilcox 6 - Quiet
Smith 6 - Put himself about to little effect.
Kewell 7 - One of his more anonymous games but still our greatest threat.
MoM - David Wetherall
Crap game, nervous day, great outcome.
In the end Leeds United needed a bit of a helping hand to secure the third Champions League place yesterday. But who could deny David O'Leary's young team that after such a dramatic and traumatic season?
Liverpool's slump proved worse than Leeds' but, had Gérard Houllier's team beaten Bradford, as many expected, they would have leapfrogged Leeds and left them in the Uefa Cup next season. Paul Jewell's side did their Yorkshire neighbours a huge favour by winning, thanks to a goal from the former Elland Road stalwart David Wetherall.
Yesterday Leeds themselves drew on their dwindling reserves to grasp a point, a team tired at the end of a momentous and unexpected journey.
© Guardian Media Group plc