Manchester City 2 - 5 Leeds United
(Half-time: 2 - 3)
|« Aston Villa||Sunderland »|
|Leeds United||Martyn, Kelly, Woodgate, Radebe, Harte, McPhail, Bowyer, Bakke, Wilcox, Kewell, Smith (Huckerby 87)||Robinson, Duberry, Mills, Jones|
|Manchester City||Weaver, Edghill, Wiekens, Horlock, Goater, Dickov, Bishop, Grant (J Whitley 55), Kennedy, Jobson, Granville (Peacock 67)||Crooks, Wright, Tiatto|
|Leeds United||Bakke 8, Smith 21, Kewell 42, 89, Bowyer 65|
|Manchester City||Goater 2, Bishop 11|
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|Leeds United||Manchester City|
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers||19, 17, 10, 11, 10||?|
|Matt G||City report|
|Nick Allen||vs Man City|
|The Guardian||Stylish Leeds bounce straight back|
|The Electronic Telegraph||Slick Leeds hand City lesson in finishing|
|The Times||City hit by Kewell and the gang|
|Express Sport||O'Leary's five star strike force show Royle class|
|The Independent||Fabulous Leeds inspired by Kewell|
|Yorkshire Evening Post||A Royle command performance|
|BBC||City can't bridge Premier gap|
|Soccernet||Manchester City 2 - 5 Leeds United|
Sitting at home watching the game is never half as enjoyable as being there, but work called so I ended up watching the game on Sky. I've not got a great record with televised games this season (Liverpool, Leicester, Spartak in Sofia were all defeats) and so I wasn't completely surprised when, with 80 seconds gone, Goater - one of two Man City players standing at least a yard offside - received the ball and produced a well-placed header, just out of Nige's reach and into the back of the net. The City fans - always an enthusiastic bunch - turned the volume up a notch and I groaned.
The next 10 minutes were much more heartening: Leeds completely dominated the possession, opened up gaps all over the place and gave the impression that they didn't care that they were a goal down. With 11 minutes gone, they weren't. City's marking from set pieces throughout was terrible. How bad? Well, for the first equaliser it was that noted tall bloke Ian Harte whose goal-bound header was deflected by Eirik Bakke. A missed challenge by Harte then gave Bishop a yard of space just outside the Leeds box: he only had one thought - shoot! Shoot he did, and with a slight curve, the ball went across the face of goal and for the second time in 10 minutes Nigel Martyn had no chance. They'd had two attempts on target and scored with both - maybe this time they'd defend their lead better.
In fact, the goal changed nothing. Leeds continued to dominate the possession and territory. Dermot Gallagher was offering most of the players a life before they got a booking, but the third late challenge by Horlock saw the City player carded, and Danny Granville was lucky to escape with two bad challenges from behind on Harry. City gave away a free kick on the right side of their area and then proved they'd learnt nothing as they allowed Ian Harte another header from the kick. The ball was stopped on the line but Alan Smith followed up the rebound and both Smith and ball ended up in the net.
To date, whenever Smith has scored we've won - and after several more good chances Jason Wilcox (starting his first game today) broke into space down the left and pulled the ball back across goal to give Harry a simple tap-in just before half-time. Bakke, McPhail and Bowyer were completely dominating the midfield, and Jon Woodgate and Lucas Radebe were bearly breaking sweat. Occasionally City tried to get a move going running at the fullbacks, but very little came of it.
The second half was really more of the same. City reorganised, playing a more orthodox 4-4-2 at first after Joe Royle realised that his 4-3-3 formation was being destroyed. The game was ended as a contest just past the hour mark. Edghill was sucked out of the right-back slot and Harry ran into it with the ball, got to the line and pulled it back. Arriving in the middle was Lee Bowyer, and his sweetly struck left-foot half-volley crashed into the back of the net to seal the tie.
We could have had more. Bowyer brilliantly won the ball in midfield and ran into the box, but could only force another good save from Nicky Weaver - but Kewell was waiting, completely unmarked, on the left. Smith had another good chance after wriggling free of the defence but again Weaver stood in the way. With time running out and several City fans also heading for the exits, Darren Huckerby's fresh legs received the ball at the halfway line and beat the minimal cover before producing a superb pullback for Kewell to blast home from 5 yards. Harry nearly managed a hat-trick - beating four or five players as he ran across the front of the box and seeing his shot bounce out off the inside of the post. 5-2 away from home is a fine result - let's see if we can take some of that form and the verve that we reproduced today back to the remaining league and cup games and really go for it.
Despite all this, DOL still wasn't completely happy with the defence even though they only managed 4 attempts on target all game. We'll lose Lucas for up to 6 weeks now and he will be missed, but hopefully Michael Duberry, Danny Mills and Martin Hiden can provide the right sort of cover - and with Jason Wilcox looking good on the left, that should free up Harry to make more of an impact up front. Villa here we come!
A good day out. Zoomed up the A14 / M6, one of the few times we haven't had to spend ages in a traffic jam crawling past Villa Park and the Bescot stadium. Got to the pub stop well before schedule but the landlord was happy to open early and the Sunday Roast and a couple of pints set us up well for the last few miles to Scumtown. Few police vans flying around when we got near to the ground and the Parkside (or whatever it's called) didn't look particularly friendly as we crawled past as the coaches struggled to negotiate the narrow streets. Moss Side doesn't look to have improved much, you know you are in a dodgy area when even the houses have bars across the windows. Decent away allocation meant a noisy atmosphere from the start, with Leeds playing Kewell up front with Smith and Wilcox starting on the left, and the fans applauding each other after alternate chorus' of "Stand U if You ...
A couple of minutes in and the Leeds defence played statues as Goater headed City in front, apparently it was clearly off-side but from 100 yards away we were just wondering why Nigel didn't seem to try to stop it. We came straight back at them and had a couple of decent chances before McPhail's corner was headed in by Harte. We continued to cause problems, with Kewell playing a free role causing chaos and being on the receiving end of some brutal tackles, that led to surprisingly few bookings. Just when we thought we'd got over our early jitters, Bishop unleashed a shot from the corner of the area and it flew into the corner - cue another chorus of Blue Moon from all around us. Again we stormed back and another Harte header was saved on the line before being bundled in by Smith. At this point it looked like one of those everyone attack and we'll see whose scored most when the music's stopped games, but luckily from then on our defence sorted itself out and we took control.
Last 15 minutes of the first half we played some sweet football and Weaver had to make some great saves, the best of which was when Kewell played Smith through, Weaver blocked the first effort and then got back to stop Kewells follow up which was heading for the top corner. Smith and Wilcox both missed clear chances before the 3rd goal, which came when a sweet move set Wilcox free and what looked like a shot was turned in by Kewell as it whizzed across the goal-mouth.
Half-time brought Duberry on to conduct the signing, which must make him the most expensive half-time entertainer ever, but we haven't yet worked out any other explanations for his signing. Second-half brought more of the same, some sweet passing, more good saves and Bakke and McPhail adding their names to the missed chances list. Fourth goal was inevitable and another goodie it was as Bowyer lashed Wilcox's cross in on the half-volley, the game was over as a contest from then and we played keep ball on the pitch as the fans waved goodbye to the disappearing Mancunians. Towards the end Huckerby found his role in the team - coming on with 5 minutes left against demoralised and tired opposition, and out-paced the defence before drawing the keeper to allow Harry a tap in. He did then ruin the impression somewhat as he still managed to get caught offside twice before the end of the game. Harry then decided he wanted a hat-trick and ran diagonally from the right-touch line to the left corner of the box before hitting a shot that beat the keeper and led to more celebrations until someone pointed out that it'd hit the post and come out.
Bizarre tactics from the police at the end of the game, keeping us in for a bit after the game was not really a problem, I had no great desire to rush out into the streets of Moss Side to exchange pleasantries with the pissed off home fans, but making an announcement every 30 seconds to tell us the exit gates were still closed did tend to wind people up a bit. The gates then stayed closed as people were let out by going onto the pitch behind the goal and out through the side gate, this with constant reminders to go slowly to avoid crushing, which is a bit unavoidable when only one gate is open. Only when the stand was nearly empty did they open the main exits. I was half-expecting another announcement telling us to all come back and sit down, so we could do it again and do it properly this time. It was nearly an hour after the game finished before the coaches eventually moved off, but plain sailing after that. Could have done with a better draw than Villa away - guess that means another Sunday or (even worse) Monday game.
Martyn 7 - Picked the ball out of the net a couple of times not too much else to do.
Kelly 7 - Pretty solid game, as per usual.
Harte 7 - More of a threat in the box from corners than when he's taking them, bit shaky defensively.
Lucas and Woody 7 - Not really at their best, often faffing around when they just needed to get rid but resumed normal service in the 2nd half.
McPhail 8 - Good game most of our good movements went through him, some good delivery from set pieces as well.
Bakke 7 - Solid, unspectacular.
Bowyer 9 - Showed what we missed last week, ran everywhere constantly gave others options, good finish for his goal.
Wilcox 8 - Gave us a good balance, always available on the left, could perhaps have scored a couple himself but a good debut.
Kewell 9 - As usual the opposition didn't know how to deal with him. Kept bouncing up from being flattened and for once knew when to pass and when to run.
Smith 7 - Seemed determined to get himself sent off towards the end of the first half but his best game for a while.
This was a fun away game against some pretty mediocre opposition. Shooting practice - we had 30 shots on goal, so I read.
Standard cupstuff, the underdogs try and rush you or the first 20minutes and if they get anything, they then try and hang on. Once we'd shared 4 goals with them in the first 20 minutes it was all Leeds. McPhail bossed the game from then on, he picked up the ball from the defence brought it forward and sprayed it around to Bowyer, Kewell and Wilcox. And right at the death who dived in to block 2 shots on the edge of the box in quick succession ? McPhail.
Bakke again looked a good prospect covering lots of ground, getting down the wings to the byline etc. Bowyer looked fresh, and his finish for the 4th oozed confidence. Wilcox was good going forward, and laid on a couple of the goals with intelligent balls across the box, but he was hopeless defensively - leaving Harte with 2 on 1 several times. But it does seem that pushing Harry forward and slotting Wilcox into left midfield might be worth persevering with for a few games - the team had more movement and fluency than recently.
The main worry yesterday was the defence - OK the first goal was offside and the second a good strike - but each time it was the result of a so-so clearance making it to the edge of the box and no- one picking up the loose ball. Woodgate had a stinker alltold yesterday, and while Lucas didn't get anywhere near Goater in the air, he did a least look solid in all other aspects of the game. Harte and Kelly were OKish, both better going forward than defending.
Upfront Smith put in a battling performance, without ever really getting the better of them - Kewell was a different case - they'd never seen anything like him and had no idea how to cope with him.
1st - Mcphail corner from the left( the quality of McPhail's delivery of the dead ball was much better than we've been used to all year - almost every one was a threat), Harte rises nods down, it changes direction off Bakke's foot and in it goes.
2nd - didn't see it - was having a piss - what are the chances of that happening? (Smith bundled another cross over the line after abit of pinball at the nearpost)
3rd - lovely reverse ball down the inside left channel from Bowyer, to Wilcox, who takes it on into the box, crosses low to Harry unmarked at the far post - tap-in.
4th - another ball down the left to Wilcox, takes it on and pulls it back across the box to the penalty spot where Bowyer lashes it first time, left foot into the top corner - joyous.
5th - Huckerby makes a meaningful contribution by charging half the pitch down the left, drawing the keeper to him at the near post, and laying it off to Harry - tap-in.
MARTYN -7- not much to do other than the goals, and not a lot of chance with them.
KELLY -6- quiet
HARTE -7- a threat going forward - especially in the air from corners/free-kicks etc
WOODGATE -5- out of touch
RADEBE -6- halfway to Durban
BOWYER -8- superb, driving performance.
BAKKE -7- controlling influence in the middle.
McPHAIL -9- MOTM
WILCOX -7- decent attacking force, non existent defensively.
SMITH -7- better than recently
KEWELL -8- far too good for Manchester.
THE BALTI PIES - 10 - almost went back for seconds.
Kept in afterwards - was deeply pissed off at the time - but when we got out into the street around and found a van over turned, a pub looking the worse for wear and loads of plod, charging round on foot, on horse, in black marias - it was easy to see why. Looks like some of the City boys got a bit upset, left early and caused a bit of bother. Some bloke told us it all kicked off when some lads jumped some mounted plod, dragged em off the GG's and gave em a good kicking. The police in their wisdom cleared the streets away from the ground by sweeping them up onto Rusholme high street where the locals were celebrating Eid - sensitive policing!
I'm sure this will have some wallowing in nostalgia - not me.
The next 3 games will test the mettle of our boys - get some results in these and we will be serious contenders - the Man City result will just be a confidence booster for them. It won't have much more significance than that.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 10/01/2000.
At least Manchester City's departure from the FA Cup this season, unlike the stiff-necked withdrawal of Manchester United, gave their followers a whiff of glory.
That was all it was. Eventually Leeds United's superior passing and movement saw the Premiership leaders through to the fifth round with a victory which, but for the agility of Nicky Weaver in the City goal, would have been comfortable to the point of indecent luxury.
Yet for the best part of half an hour there seemed little difference between City's view from the top of the Nationwide League and the vista at present enjoyed by David O'Leary's aspiring young side. In the first 20 minutes alone the teams shared four goals, with City twice holding the lead.
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