Leeds United 2 - 0 Port Vale
(Half-time: 0 - 0)
|« Spartak Moscow||Leicester City »|
|Leeds United||Martyn, Kelly, Woodgate, Radebe, Harte, Bakke, McPhail, Bowyer (Bridges 75), Kewell, Smith (Jones 72), Huckerby||Robinson, Mills, Duberry|
|Port Vale||Musselwhite, Tankard (Naylor 67), Minton, Gardner, Snijders, Foyle, Eyre, Burns, Briscoe, Widdrington, Rougier||Pilkington, Butler, Cordon, Bogie|
|Leeds United||Bakke 61, 68|
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|Port Vale||Snijders, Widdrington, Eyre, Briscoe|
|Leeds United||Port Vale|
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers||19, 19||0|
|Stotty||Leeds vs Port Vale|
|The Guardian||Bakke opes account with the Leeds|
|The Electronic Telegraph||Bakke's striking impression|
|The Times||Bakke double nourishes depleted troops|
|Express Sport||O'Leary's Bakke in the old routine|
|The Independent||Bakke relieves fixture fears for Leeds|
|Yorkshire Evening Post||Eirik in at the double to dump Valiants|
|BBC||Bakke sends Leeds forward|
|Soccernet||Leeds United 2 - 0 Port Vale|
Ghost town Elland Road. If it hadn't been for those pesky kids then Port Vale might have got the draw they craved for and a few extra hundred thousand quid in their meagre coffers.
An atmosphere more akin to the Moon was in stark contrast to the delirious scenes on Thursday night when the mighty Russian champions were slain by the youthful leaders of England's elite.
No amount of last-gasp winners today would have livened up this uninspiring encounter in a quarter full stadium.
Pre-match predictions, still fuelled by the euphoria of our latest UEFA cup triumph, were of the magnitude of 5 and 6 nils. Not wishing to dampen the high-spirits I quietly whispered "goaless draw" to myself.
After 45 frustrating minutes of Leeds possession and a Port Vale rearguard action I wished I'd invested a few quid in my prediction. I also wondered, like 12,000 other folk, what the hell was I doing here.
Today was a day for the loyal(or perhaps the insane), and also a day for the affluent. 20 quid to watch a game which on paper was about as exciting as Lead was never going to set the pulses racing and fill the Elland Road terraces with pre-christmas cheer.
For 20 quid you can buy a squeezy South Park Eric Kartman that speaks to you when you strangle it. Try convincing your kinfolk that watching Port Vale in the freezing cold on a Sunday afternoon is better value than that.
No Michael Bridges in the starting line up. Smithy and Huckleberry up front suggested to me that goals would not be in abundance. Batty still sidelined, perhaps held back by Mr O'Leary for more daunting tasks ahead. Another chance to see how Messrs McFrail and Bakke would perform together in the centre.
Polite clapping as the players took to the same field that 3 days previous had seen them depart to a deafening 40,000 chorus of "Marching On Together". No tingles down the spine today. It's always a bad sign when you can hear individual players shouting during a match.
"Oi Lee cobber, what time's the Emmerdale omnibus on tonight ? - our Sheila says she's bonza" enquired Mr Kewell, his knees still grazed, presumably from his diving routine a week earlier at Pride Park.
"Knock it on the head guv, I'm out on the razz having my McJellied-Eels and large fries tonight" replied the South London ruffian.
Port Vale, defending deep and with a midfield fuller than Fred West's cellar, peculiarly created the best opening chances. No real threat but it gave the 3000 or so Potteries fans a brief fillip.
Leeds took control but inexplicably seemed content to get the ball forward early, a tactic bordering on insane as Smith's marker resembled Carlton Palmer on stilts and Huckleberry's feet were, as usual, glued to the turf. We showed none of the usual guile and craft. No Bridges to work his magic, Kewell suffocated by a persistent man-to-man marker, and Bowyer again left to chew the cud on the right of midfield.
45 minutes slipped by without too much excitement. Bakke headed narrowly wide from a corner, Kewell denied by the keepers legs in a one-on-one and a skidding Ian Harte drive connecting with the post. We needed a goal, not to settle our nerves or give us a shot of confidence, but to warm us poor cold fans up a bit.
O'Leary roasted some chestnuts at half-time.
Leeds came out more business-like. Kewell lost his marker with sublime ease time and time again. Kelly and Harte pushed on knowing Vale had set up shop on the edge of their box. All of a sudden we had more passing options. An incident down at the South Stand end involving Hartey earned him the wrath of the Vale fans. This inspired the young left back into meaningful action. Clever footwork down the flank manufactured space for a cross. Uncle Gary headed down into the box and despite valiant attempts to clear, the stranded Vale 'keeper could only watch as Bakke crashed the ball home from an acute angle.
Minutes later a Harte corner to the near post was deflected deftly goalward with the outside of his right boot by the giant Norwegian. 2-0.
The cheer was hardly deafening. "Have we scored?" us kopties pondered. ?
The Port Vale breeze had long since blown itself out and 2 wasted one- on-one chances by the ever-disappointing Huckerby and the recently introduced Bridges emphasised that our dominance had not been turned into goals.
Leeds won with ease but there was a distinct lack of urgency and fluidity at times but Vale came to spoil the game and had we scored early in the 1st half we would have topped South Africa's 1st innings score of 450.
11 straight wins at home. Enough said.
Scores ------ Martyn 6 Bored out of his mind. Brought a dot-to-dot puzzle book out during the 2nd half to kill the time. Kelly 7.5 Too good for the likes of this 1st division shite. Harte 8 Contributed to both goals, hit the post and got stuck in. Radebe 7.5 Not just a pretty goalscorer. Like a nappy - Solid at the back. Woody 6 Made 2 bad errors that led to half-chances for Vale. Bowyer 6 Quite quiet. Still at least he's shagging an Emmerdale girl. Bakke 7 1st and 2nd goals for the club. Still a lot of room for improvement but so far so good. McFrail 6.5 I'm still undecided about this guy. Needs to impose his undoubted class on the game more. Only 20 years old it must be said. Kewell 7 Did nowt 1st half, burst into life 2nd half. Needs a haircut - maybe Emmerdale lasses like the extra length. Smith 7 Battled admirably against a floodlight of a defender. Still showing signs of unnecessary petulance. Booked. Huckerby 2 Like a nappy. Piss upfront. Subs ---- Jones 7 Looked very lively. Maybe worth a go at Leicester. Bridges 6 Didn't have much time, but looked the part.
Back of the Kop -- what was that song about Harry Kewell and some bird (to the tune of My Old Man's a Dustman ?)
Copy from Football Unlimited of 13/12/1999.
Until yesterday the most frightening thing about Eirik Bakke was his dad. Svein is the Norwegian troubleshooter who stirred up a Wimbledon uprising after he was brought in with a view to selling their top players to balance the books.
While the father ponders how to deal with the Crazy Gang's brand of economics, Eirik can now claim to have kept Leeds' season heavily in credit.
The two goals that sunk Port Vale were Bakke's first since his £1.75m summer transfer from Sogndal and his neat understated performances in Leeds' midfield are attracting growing praise. He looks a sound investment which, as Wimbledon's patriarch Sam Hamman no doubt impressed upon the father, is the only bottom line that matters.
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