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Blackburn Rovers

Premier League
Game 07: Sunday 22 September 2002

Blackburn Rovers 1 - 0 Leeds United
(Half-time: 1 - 0)
Crowd: 25415
Referee: G Poll (Tring)
Leeds United
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Match Facts
Blackburn Rovers Team Leeds United
Brad Friedel   Paul Robinson
Craig Short   Danny Mills
Henning Berg   Ian Harte Subbed - 63 minutes
Martin Taylor   Jonathan Woodgate
Subbed - 90 minutes David Dunn   Lucas Radebe
Goal - 24 minutes Garry Flitcroft   Olivier Dacourt Subbed - 63 minutes
Tugay Kerimoglu   Eirik Bakke
Booked - 76 minutes Lucas Neill   Lee Bowyer
David Thompson   Nick Barmby Booked - 76 minutes
Keith Gillespie   Alan Smith Booked - 34 minutes
Subbed - 68 minutes Egil Ostenstad   Mark Viduka Subbed - 63 minutes
Alan Kelly   Nigel Martyn
Nils-Eric Johannson   Gary Kelly Sub - 63 minutes
Craig Hignett   Jamie McMaster Sub - 63 minutes
Sub - 90 minutes Neil Danns   Paul Okon
Sub - 68 minutes Corrado Grabbi   Stephen McPhail Sub - 63 minutes
Match Reports
Martyn Brown Articulate but brief synopsis
Rich Walker Blackburn on the day report
BBC Blackburn stun Leeds
The Guardian Rovers relish putting Leeds on the spot
The Independent Thompson provides inspiration as Leeds pay for Smith's miss Injury-hit Rovers too strong for lame Leeds
The Sporting Life Blackburn Rovers 1 - 0 Leeds United
The Electronic Telegraph Thriving Thompson sews seeds of Leeds' demise
The Times Thompson rises to the task
Yorkshire Evening Post It's Jekyll and Hyde United!

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.

Articulate but brief synopsis - Martyn Brown

Total bollocks.

Doesn't help when Douglas Bader could out-pace your left-back and your striker will only ever chase the aroma from the pie-van.

A rare away day afternoon for me and on this evidence I think i'll nestle back into my part-time fan full-time father routine pretty sharpish.

Shame for Smith but Milly's ought to have whacked it - Smith grabbed it from him then proceeded to have an experiment in how softly and central you could hit a penalty.

We ought to have got something out of this especially given we had a 15-20min intense pressure spell in the 2nd half which coincided with the subs coming on.

Ratings from me:

Robinson - 8/10, Not much he could do for the goal, couple of great saves.
Mills - 7/10, Unlike a lot of the team had pace & purpose going forward and did well at the back. Distribution/crossing was iffy.
Harte - 4/10. Got done for pace every time. Real achilles heel in every sense. Needs resting/selling/shooting/putting out of misery.
Radabe - 9/10, Calm, assured. If he'd played last season we'd have been in the CL. Fantastic, a pity he's winding down his career.
Woodgate - 8/10, Never put a foot wrong. Can't say we miss Rio really.
Bowyer - 6/10, Better than of late, but only just.
Bakke - 6/10, Not as bad as before, but only just. Huffed and puffed but we need more.
Dacourt - 6/10, Steady if unspectacular.
Barmby - 5/10, Only improved when we made changes (4/10 before). He's too slow, especially "linking" with Harte.
Viduka - 4/10, very poor. Slow. Disinterested.
Smith - 8/10, Worked hard and was our only output. Cocked up the penalty, but that's football I guess.

McPhail - 7/10, Actually RW, I thought he did OK. I didn't understand why Dacourt went off though.
McMaster - 7/10, Gave us pace, passion and purpose. Looked promising.
Kelly - 6/10, refreshed us at the back despite the reorganisation.

Graham Poll - 2/10, the only person on the pitch worse than Harte. Refused to get his book out. Very frustrating all day.

Our lot - 6/10, the on-field performance failed to lift us as the frustration wore on. Harte was booed loudly when he went off.
Their lot - 3/10, loud drum and "Rovvvvvvers" occasionally from the Royston-Vasey brigade.

8/10 - Tasty Balti-Pie but alas no luck embedded into the crust.

Blackburn on the day report - Rich Walker

This was dire and in my opinion was a worse performance than Birmingham. After 10 minutes someone in front of me commented on how much we missed Kewell the understatement of the year. From the away end you just looked across the park and there was no movement at all. We had possession but just passed it square or backwards and then when someone dared to push a ball forward we lost possession immediately. Blackburn are not a great side but they are better than us. David Thompson is similar in build and stature to Nicky Barmby. The difference ? Thompson has PACE. He breaks from midfield quickly and with Bakke and Dacourt doing their statue impressions in central he had so much space. Dunne is the opposite. He is slow but he does the simple things well controls the ball, passes it with conviction moves to collect the next ball. Simple football done well. Barmby has no pace and Bakke has not got the grasp of the basics. So often giving the ball away , so often stood not marking anyone , so often not having any ideas when on the ball, so often s***e ! With Bakke and Barmby in a 4 man midfield we will get beat more often than not. I thought it would be interesting to see a straight forward 4-4-2 with Smith and Viduka up front. If nothing else it brought home a few more home truths :

1.Kewell is our best attacking player. Nobody in the team has the skill, movement and pace of Kewell. He is 70% of our attacking options. Without him today we were toothless.

2.Smith and Viduka do NOT play well together. Both play with their backs to the goal, theres nobody to turn round and break through their defence.

Smith worked hard and did many good things in the game but he was playing on his own. Tel dragged Viduka off after 60 mins and this corresponded with our best spell of the game second half when we dominated for 20 minutes after Viduka went off . No surprise there then. Viduka was just plain awful (again !). He not only now looks completely unfit, he actually looks uninterested. He had a shot in the first minute then it is no exagerration to say he did nothing else. Surely its time to put the fat boy out to grass. The Leeds fans deserve better. It says it all when Viduka is now coming off when we dont even have a striker on the bench. Where the f*ck was Bridges ?

Bowyer worked his bollocks off. He was bloody everywhere. I dont think theres many professional athletes that could cover the distance he does but is he trying to do too much. Hes playing all over the park, left central, right. Today he made all the forward runs none came off. In possession he invariably disappoints. Poor crosses, poor shots, poor passing. Its becoming a problem. I can understand his frustration playing alongside Bakke and Barmby but I think hes trying too hard at the moment.

At the back we were shaky first half. Woodgate seemed strangely hesitant and was commanding the area leading to a few half chances for them. Thank God for Radebe. He was outstanding for the full 90+ minutes. Man of the match by a mile. Fantastic. I think hes better than Matteo. Even though we didnt look solid I thought we could have played all day and they wouldnt have scored. But like DOL and now EL Tel I forgot. Weve got Ian Harte at left back. Another cock up would you say ? Not really, he just got done for pace. Was bound to happen sooner or later. Soon as I saw Gillespies name on their team I thought Harte but then I thought maybe he could get away with it like he has been doing so far this season. Times up though , cos he cost us the match today. We cant let him lose any more games for us. El Tel dragged him off after some disgraceful booing from the Leeds fans when he got the ball. The lads got no pace ! What can he do? . Its the f***ing clueless manager that I blame ! What I will say is that Harte isnt even doing the things he does well anymore - freekicks and corners. Would he have scored the pen ? I doubt it.

Anything else ? Oh yes. McMaster I was impressed when he came on. Looks like hes got a bit of pace and a very nice touch. He played out on the right and looked good , should have had a penalty also. I would definitely play him on the right of midfield next match.

Mcphail just waddled around playing one or two backward passes. Please , please , please bring David Batty back into the squad.

We are a very slow team and if we played that team every week I really do believe we would be fighting relegation. Kewell and Batty are very important players for Leeds.

Rovers relish putting Leeds on the spot - Dominic Fifield

Copy from Football Unlimited of 23/09/2002.

Grim realisation has finally dawned on one side of the Pennines and overwhelming relief on the other.

Those Leeds fans who spent much of yesterday hollering about the recent league success over Manchester United were brought down to earth with a bump by this inept display. With the discomforting memory of an anaemic performance fresh in their minds, any prolonged title challenge appears distinctly unlikely this morning.

Beaten by Garry Flitcroft's first goal in 11 months, they even passed up an undeserved route to parity when Alan Smith missed a late penalty. Instead Rovers were left to savour a first home win of the campaign at the fifth attempt, their success driven by the effervescence of David Dunn and David Thompson in midfield to hoist Graeme Souness's injury-depleted side into the top half of the table.

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