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What a result yesterday. A complete shutout. Well done the Leeds defence. Yep, for the first time since dinosaurs roamed the earth, Leeds managed a clean sheet against England's number one expert at winning free kicks, Mr A. Shearer.
Sadly, two other barcodes and a man in white did put goals past Nige to make Newcastle our current bogey side. Five games since we last beat them, four defeats in a row.
The day began well enough, arriving in Newcastle in plenty of time to take in some much needed sustenance (ie a couple of pints of John Smith's nitrosmoothzeroflavour ale); have a game of Euro 2000 with Thirkers as Laurent Blanc kissing Dave Nattan - as Fabien Bartez - on the head and then collect Sir Edmund Hillary and a group of Sherpas to help us through turnstiles 83/4 and up to the summit of Mount St James'.
Fcuk me, it's a big stand. I never been anywhere (footy stadia that is) with so much legroom. Problem with that much legroom means the stand isn't that steep and you end up being bastard high. Strange contrast with Botlon where the stands are very steep.
Somewhere down below us was a potato field with a load of ants pushing round a white pea. Leeds ants lined up with DO'L showing some welcome tactical nous. Dropping Harte as Matteo was fit, to cope with Newcastle's pace. Dubes played in the centre and Seth on the left wing.
Within thirty seconds Leeds were - incredibly - one up. Having DO'L's babies on a potato field must've put the Irishman at home. Dooks headed the ball through to Smith a few metres inside the Newcastle half and Smith raced away, Newcastle defenders bearing down on him to smash the ball low and hard just to Given's right and somehow into the net.
That was it for the first hald as far as any sort of attack from Leeds. It was relentless pressure from Newcatle and the referee. Not to take anything away from the barcodes who were simply a much better team yesterday, but for a match that was never dirty, to book six or so Leeds players and send one off is a joke. Bellamy (who was already a horrible little gobshite before joining the Toon) is receiving masterclasses from Shearer in how to gob off, dive and win free kicks. Woody booked for a wonderful piece of olympic standard diving by the foul mouthed, diminutive Welsh tosser. It makes me laugh that he was booked the one time he didn't dive. Fcking useless ref.
The pressure told a couple of minutes from the end of the first half when a ball across was deflected on the way through to Dubes' head and he powered the ball past Nige. A shame for Dubes who had a fair match apart from a badly judged decision to let the ball bounce over him in the second half, to give Welshgobonlegs a one on one with Nige.
I wasn't very confident that we'd pull it round in the second half and we didn't. It carried on just like the first; Leeds since the last time we played the Barcodes seem unable to string more than a couple of passes together. Dyer scored with a neat left foot finsh after a ping pong sequence somehow ended up with him unmarked in the box.
Then the inevitable. Barber finally managed to find the excuse he needed to whip out his big red one. A quarter of a mile away Mills ant apparently kicked out at Gobshite jnr. ant, and over went the Welsh cheat. Mills went off. O'Leary refreshingly said Mills deserved it.
This bizarrely lead to Leeds' best passage of play. Kelly dropped to right back from central midfield where he'd done fcuk all, all game (apart from get in the way). Coupled with the introduction of Wilcox a couple of minutes previously (and all credit to DO'L for making a swap) Leeds suddenly started passing the ball around and playing some really good stuff. I can only assume it's because people were eventually playing in their preffered position. Wilcox played really well, got stuck in, sprayed the ball around, crossed it and really made a huge difference. He really deserves a run in the side while Harry's out.
Pieman did really well to wriggle through couple of defenders to get a shot in that was parried and came back to Smith who only needed to slot it past Given into the net, but Given made a great save diving at Smith's feet. At two all with five minutes to go we might've shut up shop and hung on.
It was all over when Dyer fed Gobby for a one on one with Nige and he cooly rumbled it across the potato field into the net. Game over. Some encouraging signs from O'Leary in this game that he might be sussing this tactics thing a bit; balanced against the fact though, that he still thinks playing Kelly in midfield and Bowyer on the right wing is a good idea. If those two'd swapped from the start I reckon it might've been a different game. The ref was shit, but the better team won yesterday.
In the last four meetings with Newcastle we have held the lead in them all. We eventually lost them all.
A few things from my long trip to Geordie land...
(1) The referee was abysmal yesterday. Everything the crowd asked for he gave.
(2) Newcastle showed what you can achieve with pace, passion and movement. Leeds were destroyed. Newcastle had 70 mins of the game, Leeds had 10 and the other 10 was even.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 14/01/2002.
Football's equivalent of bodyline may yet win Leeds United their first title in a decade but, as Douglas Jardine discovered, it may also lose them a few friends along the way. If Newcastle's performance conjured up the most delightful emotions, David O'Leary's kickers presented an image of alley cats playing the role of aristocrats.
Not only were Leeds given a lesson in how to pass the ball, they were also reminded that the game is often contested in an area measuring no more than four or five inches, namely the gap between a player's ears.
Sadly too many of O'Leary's seemed intent on depicting themselves as the type who get their kicks from chucking rocks at the moon. Right now they seem to be revelling in their notoriety rather than cringing at the damage it is doing.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 12/01/2002.
Newcastle United overtook Leeds United at the top of the Premiership with a second victory over the Yorkshire side in the space of a month which was every bit as convincing as the scoreline suggests.
Newcastle will probably not be on top at the end of the season, but they look more than capable of a Champions League place. Leeds, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool to come in their next three games, could have done with opening up a gap here, but despite an ideal start they lost the lead - and their discipline - ending up with only 10 men after another over-physical encounter. Their further entries in referee Graham Barber's book here - six yellows and Danny Mills' dismissal - will bring them a fine, too, to add to their trouble.
Already missing four or five regulars through injury Leeds had to make a late reshuffle when Robbie Fowler pulled out due to a family bereavement, returning to Merseyside on learning of the death of his father-in-law. Alan Smith was the chief beneficiary, making a rare start and making the most of it by giving Leeds the lead in under a minute.
Copy from Yorkshire Evening Post of 13/01/2002.
UNITED'S apparent reputation as the footballing thugs of the Premiership continues to threaten their Champions League dream.
It seems the 'dirty Leeds' image is destined to stick with the club, despite manager David O'Leary desperately trying to maintain his total football revolution at Elland Road.
Six bookings and a sending off at Newcastle, in a game which while passionate was never dirty, paints the picture of a side which has chiselled out a name for themselves as the villains.
O'Leary has often complained that some referees have a hidden agenda so far as his players are concerned and his point of view gained credence at St James' Park as a number of the cautions seemed harsh to say the least.
Michael Duberry, Jonathan Woodgate, David Batty, Jason Wilcox, Mark Viduka and Alan Smith were all shown yellow cards - three of them could rightly question why.
However, O'Leary's players hardly do themselves any favours with moments of extreme madness and stupidity - like Danny Mills' petulant kick at Craig Bellamy off the ball.
His second red card of the campaign, coming as it did in the 70th minute all-but ended United's chances of clawing themselves back into the game and saw their red card tally for the season rise to five.
Add to that the fact that the six cautions, which will mean a £25,000 fine from the FA, now brings the total to 57 for the season and you can see why so many away from Elland Road enjoy vilifying them as a dirty team.
It is an unwanted and potentially harmful tag.
O'Leary has his work cut if United's hopes of a Champions League birth are not to disappear under a mountain of red and yellow cards.
With so many players out injured it is essential he has all of his fit players available. Instead he finds suspensions also eating away at his squad.
Mills, Lee Bowyer and Alan Smith now face lengthy bans at a time of the season when O'Leary quite obviously needs his star men to be available.
The lethal cocktail of suspension and injury is threatening to undermine all of the good work done by the Whites at the start of the campaign. And while they sit in third place today, O'Leary knows he has a battle on his hands to keep them there.
Ironically they could not have had a better start to the game as Smith raced clear of the home defence and blasted a low shot past Newcastle keeper Shay Given inside 30 seconds.
Smith was back in his forward role after Robbie Fowler had dashed back to Liverpool following the death of his father-in-law.
Seth Johnson returned in midfield alongside Batty, Bowyer and Gary Kelly while Ian Harte was rested and Dominic Matteo brought in at left back. Duberry partnered Woodgate in the centre of defence for their first start since the Hull Crown Court trial.
There was no doubting the importance of this match. It was a game which really did not require the added spice left over from the dramatic pre-Christmas clash at Elland Road.
Revenge was most certainly on Leeds' mind and when Smith wheeled away with arms out-stretched after only 29 seconds it seemed the day would belong to the boys in white.
Such thoughts were swiftly scotched as the pacy Newcastle machine eased into gear and started to threaten. In Kieron Dyer, Craig Bellamy, Nolberto Solano and Laurent Robert they not only have pace, but they have skill, quality and creativity. It is a lethal mix.
Bellamy flashed a low shot across Nigel Martyn and Speed slashed an effort well wide as the Magpies began to get into their stride.
Welshman Bellamy was causing problems with his pace and the only Leeds player able to keep track of him was Woodgate who had another brilliant game at the back.
The Leeds defence had looked comfortable under pressure but just minutes before the break they conceded an equaliser - in unfortunate fashion. A cross from Bellamy flicked off the head of Solano and Duberry stuck out his head and deflected the ball past the unsuspecting Martyn.
It was the turning point of the game in many respects as Newcastle came out with all guns blazing in the second half to complete the job.
Bellamy was denied by Martyn when clean through and Robert went close with a low drive, but United failed to heed the warnings and on the hour Newcastle took the lead.
Solano's ball in from the right was chested down by Bellamy for Dyer who nudged it into the penalty area before finishing with an accurate left foot shot.
Mills was sent off 10 minutes later and United's afternoon, which had started so promisingly, was turning into a nightmare.
Hopes of an equaliser were raised as Leeds battled back with a late assault, but some heroics from Shay Given denied Viduka and Smith as he pulled off a fantastic double save. Viduka then had strong penalty claims waved away by Graham Barber after Dabizas ploughed into him as he tried to reach a Smith cross.
Leeds were simply not getting the breaks and while they pushed for an equaliser the cracks were beginning to show in the back line.
Robert shot wide and Solano fired high, but Bellamy then got the goal he deserved as he picked up on a wonderful pass from Dyer to race clear of Duberry and Woodgate and tuck the ball across Martyn and into the bottom corner.