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Rod Marsh advised us to put our mortgages on Leeds winning this game, and despite the fact that I know Leeds far better than he does, that Leicester City are our bogey team, I duly popped down to William Hill and put the deeds of my house on a home win.
The bailiffs accompanied me to the match, and sat down to me, dressed in blue and white, with "Savage" emblazoned across their backs in lilly white...
They sat down beside me and I smiled at them as Leeds tore into Leicester. It wasn't long before Seth dispossed a Blue shirted player and stabbed the ball through for Viduka for a one on one.
Ah, why do I even bother mentioning it?
Still, Seth carried on battling away, harrying and passing neatly, and it wasn't long before a move on the right found Viduka, whose neat back heel found Kewell just insude the area with a small amount of room between keeper and post to aim at. The strike was sweet: low, hard and accurate and even if Leicester had a decent 'keeper, he wouldn't have stopped it.
I smiled more broadly at the bailiffs while they sulked and pouted.
Unfortunately, Seth got a knock, and although he tried to run it off he was eventually replaced by the one dimentional Bakke. Leeds never looked the same after this. They missed the balby headed one's bite and passing and although Leeds were still clearly the better side, they weren't pulverising Harry Bassett's team any more.
Still, half way through the first half, a ball played for Viduka, trickled its way to Fowler who found himself unmarked, with loads of time in the area to shoot. But rather tham shoot first time he dallied. Then dallied some more. We popped off for a brew and a chicken balti pie (apart from Viduka, who had a snake and pygmie), we came back and he was still dallying. Eventually with a defender bearing down on him, he dinked sideways and shot, only for the defender to nip in front and block the shot. He won't have a better opportunity to open his account - should have shot first time.
Then (or maybe earlier) a great flick on to Viduka who twisted and fired a beauty into the top corner of the net. I'd seen the flag straight away, so as almost everyone else danced, I sat glumly. At which point the bailiffs got up and danced.
The TV replays later showed Pieman to be clearly onside.
Oh, Brain Deane had a header well saved by Nige, that was about it for Leicester first half.
Second half was a different kettle de poisson. Batty's passing radar must've been buggered by a flying teacup at half time and Leeds really struggled to be creative. The really wasn't the "oooooh" factor that the first half had held.
Despite this, Leeds did score again, to prevent the jitters the Leicester attacks were giving me. The ball slid to Kelly on the right, who provided yet another goal scoring cross, this time to Viduka, who did a mid air volley to send the ball cripsly past Walker.
The bailiffs were positively scowling now.
However, with the thirteen minutes to go after a lot of fcuking about not clearing the ball on the right hand side, the ball was whacked across the face of the goal. It eluded everyone in defence and ended up at the feet of someone.
Let's have a guess who.
He played, like, a squillion games for us at home before he scored at ER.
Yep, Brian Bloody Deane (to give him his full title).
Open goal, 2-1, ten-fifteen minutes of Arsenal/Blackburn type crapping yourself. A grin spread over the bailiffs' faces and they rubbed their hands. I shat meself.
Leeds seem to have two modes of playing:
1. To feet, lots of movement, flowing football with a purpose.
2. Hoofing it/not holding on to the ball.
Which one gets results?
Which one did we play?
Bakke ran in to one of his blind alley runs with a couple of minutes to go, was disposessed and the ball found its way on the right with a Leicester player, who crossed a hopeful ball in which Rio completely managed to not control, it broke to Scowcroft who rammed the ball home.
I'm homeless and destitue now, writing this from a cyber cafe with my sleeping bag for a home tonight.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 17/12/2001.
Officially, at least, Leeds United returned to business as normal yesterday, although it certainly did not feel that way. At a time when David O'Leary is having his post vetted for death threats, Michael Duberry cannot leave home without looking over his shoulder and a firm of slack-jawed heavies has been employed to bolster security, the routine of beating inferior opponents appeared to have been temporarily forgotten.
O'Leary called it "stupid" and "something that could come back to haunt me", which, funnily enough, could be an appropriate way of describing his decision to swell his own bank account by writing a book, Leeds United On Trial, on the club's difficulties after the attack on Sarfraz Najeib. Thankfully he stopped just short of blaming yesterday's dramatic capitulation against a willing but strictly limited Leicester side on the microscopic scrutiny of all things Leeds United since the trial of Jonathan Woodgate and Lee Bowyer reached its finale, even if he did complain about it being a "tough weekend".
Yet the manager could scarcely disguise his displeasure about the vapid manner in which his side sieved two goals in the final 12 minutes of a match that, until that juncture, had been as one-sided as anything else witnessed at Elland Road this season.
Copy from The Independent of 16/12/2001.
One of the worst weekends in Leeds United history got no better yesterday. They wanted to put the trauma of the Bowyer and Woodgate trial behind them. Instead, they threw away a two-goal lead against one of the Premiership's strugglers, and with it the chance to move into second place in the table.
The entire team were guilty of complacency and their manager, David O'Leary, who had hoped last week's victory over Blackburn had ended their recent run of patchy form, must start their rehabilitation all over again.
"We went two goals up and then stopped playing," he said. "We thought we could coast and didn't have to work hard after that. I hope these two lost points don't come home to haunt us at the end of the season."
Two men not haunting Elland Road yesterday were Jonathan Woodgate, who was elsewhere starting the community service imposed after he was convicted of affray, and his fellow defendant Lee Bowyer, who was at the training ground being treated for an injury.
For an hour it looked as though neither would be missed. Leeds had employed a security firm for fear of adverse action to the verdicts at Hull Crown Court, but for much of a one-sided first half they might more usefully have been engaged by the Leicester manager, Dave Bassett.
His penalty area was in need of additional protection as Leeds swarmed round it and hit the woodwork after just 45 seconds. Seth Johnson, back after suspension, dispossessed James Scowcroft midway in the Leicester half and fed Mark Viduka, who shot from 15 yards was pushed on to the crossbar by Ian Walker.
Six minutes later the Leicester goalkeeper was picking the ball out of his net. Ian Harte slipped the ball to Viduka and the Australian cleverly back-heeled it to his countryman Harry Kewell, who scored his 10th goal of the season with a low shot from the edge of the box.
Robbie Fowler, making his home debut for Leeds, then released Viduka, who dribbled past some tentative Leicester tackling only to shoot weakly at Walker.
When the same pair combined again, Viduka put the ball into the net with a spectacular volley, but was adjudged to be offside. Only 17 minutes had elapsed when the influential Johnson limped off to add to O'Leary's injury problems and the Leeds momentum began to falter.
Scowcroft crossed for Brian Deane and the Leeds old boys' powerful header was palmed away by Nigel Martyn before being scrambled to safety. Any anxiety that may have generated was clearly already being felt by Fowler, who scored a hat-trick at Filbert Street earlier this season and was too anxious to impress his new supporters.
Put in by Viduka he delayed his shot long enough to allow Callum Davidson to block it, and saw a hopeful chip towards the top corner, easily gathered by Walker.
Leeds had enough chances to kill the game off before half-time, but Leicester refused to lie down. Deane again went close with a header, Lee Marshall broke clear to force Martyn to concede a corner and when Deane thought he had finally scored his header was disallowed.
"I was gutted", said Bassett. "Only the referee knows why he disallowed it. But to our credit we refused to give up when we went two-nil down."
It looked as if Leeds had done enough when Gary Kelly crossed from the right and Viduka scored from six yards, but it was merely the overture to Leicester's remarkable recovery.
Inevitably, Deane started it with a low, angled finish from Davidson's cross in the 78th minute and Scowcroft earned them an unlikely point, a minute from time, when he finished off a neat, four-man move.
Muzzy Izzet crossed, the substitute Ade Akinbiyi laid it back, Deane flicked it on and Scowcroft chested the ball down before driving it beyond Martyn to complete Leeds' unhappy weekend.
O'Leary's disappointment was compounded when he was forced to defend the serialisation in a Sunday newspaper of a chapter in his forthcoming book concerning the trial.
"I got no money for this serialisation, and I stand by everything I said in the book," he said.
Goals: Kewell (7) 1-0; Viduka (59) 2-1; Deane (78) 2-1; Scowcroft (89) 2-2.
Leeds United (4-4-2): Martyn 4; Mills 7, Ferdinand 5, Matteo 4, Harte 5; Kelly 6, Johnson 6 (Bakke 5, 18), Batty 6, Kewell 7; Fowler 4, Viduka 7. Substitutes not used: Robinson (gk) Wilcox, Duberry.
Leicester City (4-4-2): Walker 6; Sinclair 5, Elliott 4, Marshall 5, Davidson 6; Savage 5, Oakes 5, Izzet 5, Impey 4 (Akinbiyi 6, 70); Scowcroft 6, Deane 7. Substitutes not used: Flowers (gk) Jones, Benjamin, Stewart.
Referee: R Styles (Waterlooville) 6.
Bookings: Leeds: Bakke. Leicester: Savage, Elliott.
Man of match: Deane.
Copy from Yorkshire Evening Post of 17/12/2001.
FOR 40 most enjoyable minutes Leeds United finally played like the championship contenders everyone wants and hopes them to be.
Unfortunately for the rest of the afternoon they slumped back into the kind of form which is threatening to de-rail any bid to grab the seemingly available Premiership crown.
The football within that opening spell was undoubtedly better than anything seen so far this campaign. After such a difficult few days off the field it seemed United would put a few smiles back on the faces of those around Elland Road.
This was the first match since the high-profile trial of Lee Bowyer and Jon Woodgate had ended. Neither Bowyer or Woodgate were fit enough to play, indeed neither were at the ground as the media circus which has followed their every step over the past two years arrived for one last performance.
But once again United showed yesterday they still have lessons to learn if they are going to be the ones to end Manchester United's reign. And the fiirst lesson is how to kill teams off.
United started playing some stunning football but simply could not find the finishing touch to put their East Midlands visitors out of the game. Leeds had thrashed Leicester 6-0 in the Worthington Cup earlier this season and in truth this score could and should have been something similar.
United hit the bar with only 45 seconds on the clock, Seth Johnson playing the ball through for Mark Viduka but his shot on the turn was expertly tipped onto the frame by Ian Walker.
Johnson, recalled in place of the injured Olivier Dacourt, was the driving force and it was no surprise when they opened the scoring after seven minutes.
Ian Harte's pinpoint ball to the feet of Viduka on the edge of the box started the move, but with the Aussie crowded out there seemed to be nowhere to go.
However, a cheeky back-heel bemused the defenders and gave Harry Kewell the chance to fire his tenth of the season beyond Walker's grasp.
The football was exquisite as fast, neat passing had Leicester chasing their tails leaving Foxes coach Micky Adams, a former Leeds man, jumping about in a mild panic on the sidelines. It was not all going Leeds' way however. They had lost Robbie Keane in the pre-match warm-up to an ankle injury and then they lost Johnson with barely 15 minutes gone. The former Derby man picked up a dead leg and was replaced by Eirik Bakke.
It was a crucial loss for United as Johnson had looked in good form and was no doubt fresh after missing last week's trip to Blackburn. That win in Lancashire had given the side a massive boost of much needed confidence and Leeds continued to pound the visitors rearguard.
Viduka was inspired, shrugging off the attentions of four defenders before seeing a weak shot saved by Walker and when the target man did finally beat the keeper with a stunning volley from the edge of the box he was wrongly adjudged offside.
The first threat from the visitors did not come until the 19th minute as Brian Deane sent a header toward the bottom corner only for Nigel Martyn to stretch out a left hand and make a fantastic save.
There was still no hint of any real danger however and had Robbie Fowler finished a guilt-edged chance just before the half-hour then things would have seemed more comfortable.
Kewell's ball into the edge of the box was behind Viduka but it fell perfectly for the £11m man who should have hit it first time. Instead Callum Davidson stole in and blocked his shot. Fowler will have better days in a Leeds shirt, of that there is no doubt, but it is obvious that at the moment he lacks match sharpness.
He had previously scored a hat-trick against the East Midlanders for Liverpool but since then Dave Bassett has settled in to his role and he certainly knows just what is needed for a team to survive in the top-flight.
His side came out with a renewed belief and eagerness in the second half and took the game to United instead of simply waiting to react.
The half was barely four minutes old when Stefan Oakes played Lee Marshall in and the defender managed to get in a shot that Martyn did well to save.
Minutes later and Leicester thought they had drawn level as Deane headed an Oakes corner past Martyn - but referee Styles had already blown for a foul on Matteo. United went straight up the other end and made it 2-0.
Harte's cross from the left was flicked on by Viduka to Gary Kelly. The man who set up both goals at Blackburn last week was once again having a good game on the right side of midfield and his cross back into the area was clipped in by the big Aussie.
At 2-0 against a side second from bottom you expected United to go on and win the game easily, but everything then fell apart.
Ade Akinbiyi replaced the ineffective Andy Impey and when he had touched the ball into Davidson's path his cross to the far post allowed Deane to tap into the empty net.
Even at 2-1 surely Leeds would hold on - wouldn't they?
The shocker came just two minutes from time as Izzet swung over a hopeful ball, Deane did enough to make Ferdinand miss it and Jamie Scowcroft chested it down and placed a neat volley beyond the reach of Martyn.
It was hardly the scoreline or the performance that Leeds craved.