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Leicester City

Premier League
Game 31: Saturday 23 March 2002

Leicester City 0 - 2 Leeds United
(Half-time: 0 - 2)
Crowd: 18976
Referee: S Dunn (Bristol)
Leeds United
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Match Facts
Leicester City Team Leeds United
Ian Walker   Nigel Martyn
Subbed - 53 minutes Lee Marshall   Danny Mills
Matt Elliot   Ian Harte
Jacob Laursen   Jonathan Woodgate
Matt Piper   Dominic Matteo Booked - 52 minutes
Jonathan Ashton   Olivier Dacourt Subbed - 13 minutes
Subbed - 86 minutes Stefan Oakes   David Batty Booked - 44 minutes
Booked - 59 minutes Robbie Savage   Harry Kewell
Muzzy Izzet   Alan Smith
Booked - 52 minutes Paul Dickov   Robbie Fowler Goal - 31 minutes
Brian Deane   Mark Viduka Goal - 18 minutes
Tim Flowers   Paul Robinson
Matt Heath   Gary Kelly
Sub - 53 minutes Frank Sinclair   Seth Johnson Sub - 13 minutes
Trevor Benjamin   Jason Wilcox
Sub - 86 minutes Tommy Wright   Robbie Keane
Match Reports
Richard Naef Leicester report
Robert Wood A dreaded sunny day...
BBC Leeds shoot down Leicester
The Guardian Smith on the wing without a prayer
The Independent Leeds revive ambitions with a stroll in the park
The Observer Leeds expose the gulf Champions race on for revitalised Leeds
Soccernet Surefire Fowler is stating his case
The Sporting Life Leicester City 0 - 2 Leeds United
The Sunday Times
(moved to pay-archive)
Fowler flair lifts Leeds
The Electronic Telegraph Fowler thrives on happy hunting ground
The Times Welcome signs of maturity revealed by Smith
Yorkshire Evening Post Overshadowed

The Times, Sunday Times and Telegraph now seem to require registration to view articles on their sites, with the Times and Sunday Times charging readers outside the UK. The Times/Sunday Times has also moved some of the older articles into an archive which requires separate registration and requires you to pay to access the content. The Independent now charges for access to articles more than a week old.

Leicester report - Richard Naef

As usual for us at leicester the main talking point in the papers has been the racist chanting. Why do we supporters put up with these twats dragging our name thru the dirt? First of all the "Paki" stuff is a) offensive b) stupid given some of our players' recent antics c) completely f@@king wrong! Leicester is a town mainly full of white people (71%), with a large number of people who can trace their recent forebears back to India (22%). The %age of people from/or with parents from Pakistan is 1% - thats almost exactly the national average and lower than Leeds - TOSSERS! The club is willing to pay, say, Lee Bowyer £25000 a week, if it spent anything like that much on undercover stewards we'd get these arseholes out within a couple of weeks. It always seems to be at its worst at Leicester.

But really what goes on in the "terraces" is our responsibility. There we a couple of people a few rows from me indulging in this, but apart from a couple of subdued boos and "shut up's" i did nothing. I wish I'd at least taken there seat number so I could have squealed to the authorities.

We as a group should do something so that next time we can all react together, singing "racists out" maybe? What are the supporters clubs doing about it? They get preferential treatment in many cases, so should be at the forefront of any action. But as I say it's up to us all.

The Game.

A decent performance against a crap team. Woody & Dom didn't really gel early on and Leicester had a couple of good chances due to them being static and Nigel getting all flappy again, tho' he did make one fantastic save early on. Both CH's remeeded themselves later on with some good challenges and balls out of defence, but Rio and Woody (or Lucas?) have got to be our first choice. Danny Mills played OK, but didn't get up the pitch enough, maybe Smithy's raoming left him a bit exposed? At least he had a couple of shots on target. Harte had another decent game. got beaten a few times, but also actually tackled as well and got the ball off Dickov and Piper in dangerous situations, also did a bit of dribbling. He is a Leeds lad thru and thru and while Matteo or Johnson may be favourites to take his place next season, anyone who has foillowed him has seen him make real improvement in the close season before, so we shouldn't write him off. Harry had an OK game and was sighted tackling back on a number of occassions. he hasn't got the speed or confidence of last years' model, but has improved steadily in the last 5 games. Smith ran his bollox off all game, but with little desernible result. He didn't get sent off and got into some decent positions in their box, but scuffed his shot on the one occasion when he got the ball. Dacourt made a brief appearence to get some chanting from the crowd and then limped off - its the extra hair I reckon. He chcuked the armband to Batts who passed it on to Smithy. What a gesture from Batts. Viduka was a wonderful example of the laid back centre forward and Robbie was sharp and into everything for - ooooh, at least 40 minutes. The lad does seem to get bored easily.

MOTM, Batty maybe, but pretty much a good all round performance. Johnson covered well for Dacourt in the second half after a shaky start.

Good, wholesome chants of the day were "Smithy is our Leader" when he got the armband, "we're only here for a curry" etc..., "Down with the Afghans" was a bit mysterious tho' - reference to the R Marines going out there to replace the Americans in the front line (Q. to US Listers, has these been mentioned AT ALL in the US?.)

A dreaded sunny day... - Robert Wood I meet you at the cemetery gates.

These lyrics kept bouncing round my head on Saturday as we went to see Leeds' last game at Filbert Street. Filbert Street and Leicester's season are all but dead and after a bout of depressing racist singing Leeds' reputation, already on its last legs, suffered another kick in the bollocks. I used to think that it was a load of old crap that fans would behave better in more pleasant surroundings, but after Saturday, I'm not at all convinced environment doesn't affect people's behaviour at matches.

Why is it always Leicester that these chants erupt at? Is it because it's disgusting shed of stand that we are put in? Maybe. The new ground stands beside the old and when we do meet again at Filbert Street Mk II maybe we'll see and hear some improved behaviour.

It's a shame all this overshadowed what was a fun day in the sun. Leicester looked a poor side, Leeds cruised through the match, probably never leaving second gear - certainly not after going two up. It was story we've seen so often this season, early lead for Leeds - sit back and enjoy the ride (or not as the case may be).

Fowler and Viduka played provider and executioner early in the first half. First goal saw a cross into the box to which Fowler connected well with an overhead kick. Walker (Ian, not Rich ;-) parried the ball up in the air and Viduka dove like a whale bellyflopping into the ocean to head the ball home just inside the post. There was some minor pandemonium as we went flying terrace style in the midst of the celebrations. Almost like the good old days with the added bonus of chairs to go flying over!

Soon after, Harte's throw, level-ish with the six yard box found Viduka who spun like a whale playing aquatic tricks in a water park and smacked the ball towards goal; Walker parried the ball on to the crossbar and it dropped to Fowler who promptly became Filbert Street's highest scorer this season with a header from about the range that Chappy got his hat trick goal against Wednesday in '91/2. Smithy ran over and pointed out to us that he was wearing the captain's arm band. Sheesh, what a megalomaniac. ;-) This was to later spawn the excellent "Smithy is our leader" chant which was sung with much lust and much volume by even the non racists.

2-0 up and in tribute to Viduka we started singing "Whale meat again, don't know where, don't know when etc" at the Leicester fans about to watch Nationwide footy.

Harry looked a bit more up for it than recently at times and ran Marshall ragged, he [Kewell] even shot a couple of times. In fact so did Viduka! Leeds created a few more efforts, but Leicester came closest when Nige made a tremendous save to tip over from a point blank header just before half time.

Second half saw DMIFB so close to use you could see the hair on his head (sic). "Danny Mills is f@@@ing brilliant" we chanted just before the second half got underway, he turned round and grinned at us as if to say, "Who? ME?". The aformentioned follically challenged speedster made a couple of forays down the right flank, but possibly as Smithy is so attack minded, seemed to spend more time defending. He made one belting cross at the bye line that no-one quite managed to stab home. Viduka made a belting turn and shot that was quite unlike anything an aquatic creature could ever muster that Walker was equal to. All in all though, it wasn't a very exciting half and as the game petered away I was glad to see they didn't equalise with twelve minutes to go this time.

We chanted for Brian Deane and bless him, he sneakily gave us the thumbs up behind his back as he was running away. We then chanted "Deano is a Leeds fan" and I was sure he was going to bloody score against us again. But Leicester are a spent force, a shadow of Martin O'Neil's side. The Leicester fans are clear in the their mind whose fault it is as they chanted, "Peter Taylor is a wanker, is a wanker..."

Strange view so close to the front. Glad I wasn't any closer to the front though as the terrace goes below pitch level. The Leicester announcer tried to get Leeds fans to sit down. Some hope; if some of the people at the front had sat down they'd have seen sack all. As it was, they almost had to stare over the top of the terrace wall, Kilroy style.

Glad to see the balanced views of Champions' League possibilities have returned now we've won three in a row. ;-) It's a shame we didn't get anything out of Boro or Charlton. I'm convinced that in the middle of this run of three wins, we'd have won both games. The line between success and failure is as thin as Danny Mills' hair...

One gripe. No bloody subs.

Smith on the wing without a prayer - Dominic Fifield

Copy from Football Unlimited of 25/03/2002.

Alan Smith's World Cup dream may have died a premature death, but at least Leeds's angry young man appears to have seen the light.

Along with Jonathan Woodgate, Smith travelled to the east midlands on Saturday hoping to seize a last chance to impress, yet any faint hopes were snuffed out even before kick-off. The watching Tord Grip proved a harbinger of bad tidings: neither received the news they were hoping for.

Though Woodgate's omission prompted the greater shock - his chances scuppered by the Football Association's insistence on looking at "the bigger picture" - Smith's was just as much a slap in the face. Recently returned from an eight-match suspension, the striker finds himself saddled with an ill-disciplined and prickly past and back in the Under-21s, where his three full caps will hang heavy.

Read the rest...

Leeds expose the gulf - Stuart Barnes

Copy from Football Unlimited of 23/03/2002.

A comfortable, if not entirely convincing, victory by Leeds United put them back in contention for the fourth Champions League place. There was no doubting the superior quality of David O'Leary's side, but the failure to put condemned Leicester City to the sword after scoring twice in little more than half an hour took some of the gloss off this display.

Leicester battled from start to finish, twice hit the woodwork and could certainly argue that little luck went their way. But the gulf between these teams was there for all to see.

The last thing Leicester wanted to accompany their slide towards the First Division was assistant manager Micky Adams ruffling feathers by declaring that he would quit the club unless he was appointed manager for next season. An embarrassed Adams subsequently apologised - and in his programme notes for the match Dave Bassett went some way to taking the sting out of the situation.

Read the rest...

Overshadowed - Matt Reeder

Copy from Yorkshire Evening Post of 25/03/2002.

NOT for the first time this season, United's off-the-field troubles overshadowed what really matters.

Talk of England squads and player omissions completely swamped what was another professional performance by the resurgent white machine.

This crucial 2-0 victory over bottom-place strugglers Leicester was shunted into nothing more than a supporting role on a day of high drama, intrigue and, for the umpteenth time, controversy.

Jon Woodgate's England prospects took centre-stage as rumour and counter-rumour first suggested he was in the squad to face Italy and then confirmed that he would remain in the international wilderness.

Whether or not the player himself knew of his future before kick-off at Filbert Street was hard to tell. He performed to his usual levels of perfection in a Leeds display which was efficient, dominant and classy when required.

However, football was never going to be the key ingredient of the day and, as David O'Leary's side moved to within two points of Newcastle, their victory was ushered into the background.

The chaos which has seemingly

followed Leeds throughout what has been an horrific campaign is destined to stay with them for some time to come.

It is a sure-fire bet that everyone within the halls of Elland Road, from chairman Peter Ridsdale down, is willing the season to come to a swift end. They can only take so much.

If, when that finale does arrive, Leeds have grabbed their holy grail and finished in the top four of the Premiership then it will have been a monumental achievement a massive, massive display of courage, skill and sheer dogged determination.

Down, dead and buried and without a hope just three weeks ago, the Leeds players never gave up hope that they could reach their goal of securing that all-so-important Champions League spot.

Three wins on the bounce have propelled them back up the table and given them a fighting chance of over-hauling both Newcastle and Chelsea.

Given the determined mood they are in at the moment, you would back them to continue this form and come out of what has been a stinker of a season smelling of roses.

Confidence is flooding back through their veins and all of a sudden O'Leary has a side which looks strong at the back, tough and creative in midfield and lethal up front.

The big test comes next week when they face the champions Manchester United. A win or even a point there will complete what has been an almighty turn-around from the side which went an alarming 10 games without victory at the start of the year.

Saturday's result was never in doubt. It was obvious from the start that United had far too much for the Foxes and, once they had nudged themselves into a 2-0 lead midway through the first half, there was no way back for the doomed Blues.

The pre-match talk may have been all about Woodgate, but it was another England star who took the opportunity to shine in front of the watching England assistant coach Tord Grip.

Robbie Fowler, the 11m signing from Liverpool, was brilliant and should United reach the Champions League they will owe him a great debt.

It is not just his exemplary finishing, but his technique, vision and intelligence. He has added a new dimension to the side and he has been one of the influential figures in dragging the players out of the doldrums in recent weeks.

It was his acrobatic scissor-kick which set United on their way. Heading for the top right corner, it was brilliantly saved by Ian Walker but the rebound dropped kindly for Mark Viduka, who dived forward to head in his first goal in 11 matches.

Fowler and the dangerous Harry Kewell had both tested Walker with early low drives and Leicester's Matt Elliott had hit a post in an entertaining opening. But as the half wore on it was United who started to take control.

Even the departure of injury victim Olivier Dacourt didn't halt them as Seth Johnson returned after two months out injured and slotted in well to aid the masterful David Batty.

United's opener knocked the wind out of the home side and the inevitable second arrived shortly after the half hour mark when Fowler himself doubled the United lead.

Kewell's long throw from the left wing was taken down by Viduka. He turned his marker and flashed a fierce volley goalwards. Walker again did well to save, but the ball dropped kindly for the Leeds striker and he had the simple task of nodding the ball over the line.

Amazingly some Leicester supporters started streaming out of the ground, but they missed a mini-revival from their side as Leicester ended the half strongly with two great chances for Paul Dickov.

First he was denied by a wonderful Nigel Martyn save as Matthew Piper flung over a wicked cross and the former Manchester City man headed powerfully goalwards.

Then he reacted quickest as a long throw from debutant Jon Ashton caused havoc in the Leeds penalty box but his hooked effort bounced off the top of the bar.

However, the longer they struggled to make the breakthrough, the easier it got for the visitors, who stepped up a gear and snuffed out the game at their own pace.

Viduka had a number of chances to make it 3-0, but saw one effort blocked on the line by veteran defender Jacob Laursen and then just failed to make contact with a late Alan Smith cross.

Fowler too could have put the game out of reach but his long-range strike inched past a post. However, it did not matter how many Leeds scored, the headlines were always going to be centred on matters off the field.

The report used to be available online here.

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