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Finishing the season with a flourish eh? The result certainly makes it look like that, makes it look like we glided up to a "respectable" 15th - a whole 3 places above relegation. Well don't be fooled folks we were murdered, run rings round, made to look mugs. God knows how we won this when for the majority of the match we had no midfield, a shaky defence and a team in general that could not tackle, support or pass with any success.
We scored the first from a cheeky quick free kick from Harte after 10 mins - following a foul on Viduka, our one and only threat up front - which Villa spent the next 15 minutes moaning about. I actually missed this because I was watching a beach ball bobbing around in the South Stand. Following this Villa dominated. Robinson kept us in the game making 4 or 5 decent saves in the next 60 minutes. Our midfield backed off embarrassingly time after time allowing them all the ground in midfield and they rained down shot after shot from 20-5 yards. One eventually went in from the right hand side 30 yards out swinging across Robbo and in at the far post, but again he picked up the ball and moved forward 10 yards before picking his spot. This was happening in the first games of the season - I remember ranting about it then.
Then in the second half once McPhail had been brought on to replace Bakke's ineffectiveness with his own special brand of the same, we scored completely against the run of play - it might even have been our first shot on goal that half - a corner flicked on by Matteo at the near post and Barmby flying in at the far hammered it into the roof of the net from half a yard. I think that that was his only touch of the ball.
After that Villa pushed for the equaliser and as often happens we broke down the field a ball was played in from the right which one of our forwards (Johnson or Wilcox) missed, their defender missed and Viduka nipped in ahead of the CHalf, sat the goalie down and slotted home from a tight angle to score his last goal for Leeds.
Viduka was the only Leeds player that looked to have any class or ability yesterday - how he missed Kewell / Smith next to him. How Leeds missed - and will continue to miss Kewell's threat. Kelly and Lucas worked their socks off in an effort to keep us on an even keel. While Robbo did his heroics in the first half. The other Leeds players offered very little.
Johnson - was keen and ineffective. He fell over a lot, ran around a lot, but was a boy among men. He really fluffed badly when Viduka slid one through to him which he could and should have knocked back inside for a midfield man bursting through the middle, but instead he lashed a first time shot high and wide.
Kilgallon - came on for 8-10 mins. Barely noticed him I'm afraid.
Along with Viduka, Barry was the class player on show - he should be in the England set-up, especially as a left sided player.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 12/05/2003.
It was inevitable that two of the great underachievers in the Premiership would end the season with a whimper rather than a bang. A game characterised by a general lack of confidence ended with the home fans happy with the result if not the performance. The Elland Road announcer, having asked another full house to stay in their seats so that the players could thank them for their support, added that it was not a lap of honour, a superfluous remark if ever there was one.
At least Mark Viduka, oozing class and confidence, looked dangerous every time he had the ball at his feet for Leeds. It was his wonderful dribble, illegally ended by Jlloyd Samuel on the edge of the area, which resulted in the eighth-minute free-kick in front of which Villa were still organising a wall when Ian Harte curled the ball neatly beyond Stefan Postma.
Villa, who had been playing the better football, responded strongly. Joey Gudjonsson's 25-yard shot brought a flying save from Paul Robinson, and Marcus Allback looked certain to score after the goalkeeper pushed Thomas Hitzlsperger's low cross straight to his feet eight yards from goal; somehow Harte blocked the side-footed shot on the line.