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A decent performance given the team we had to put out.
First half we looked on top without being fully in control. A lot of possession but many of our better chances came from Gillingham's attempts to commit defensive hari-kari - a clearance that hit a defender on the ankles when he was looking away, a back pass that slid past the keeper. Bakke was trying hard but really lacked the strikers instinct with the ball at his feet, often taking the wrong option and slowing the play up when we needed to be more direct. Viduka however was having a great game, winning everything in the air and harrying (slightly inappropriate verb) their defenders to great nervousness in the Gills defence. Ably assisted here by Johnson who was charging round looking for someone to tackle and it was often Hessenthaler. A bit of a lucky bounce for the goal but Viduka nearly took the keepers head off with a great volley.
Gillingham had a couple of decent chances when Lucas was beaten to the ball, setting up 2 on 1 and 3 on 2 overlaps but both times they messed up the final ball and I don't think Robbo had a save to make in the first half. Lucas went off with a Head injury after the second incident - which the physio obviously thought was serious cos he ran on the pitch before the ball had gone out of play - and this led to Duberry coming on.
Despite the presence of Dubes, I thought we looked more solid in the second half and though Robinson made one fabulous reaction save from a close range header, we generally looked untroubled. Plenty of chances at the other end as well with Kelly having a field day on the right and even Harte managing to put in a couple of decent corners. Their keeper made on great save after Viduka had robbed the defender near the touchline and also made decent saves from headers from Viduka and Bakke and Seth also got in on the act. Somewhat inevitable that the second goal would come this way - with Bakke heading in Harte's free-kick from near the corner flag.
All looked very comfortable at this point and we got the chance to chant "Short-a*se, short-a*se what's the score at Hessenthaler". Even when they scored with 5 minutes left as Mills got caught out by a long ball and Robbo got caught off his line, I wasn't particularly worried. However, after a couple of minutes of keep ball there was then 5 minutes of madness at the end - and where did all that injury time come from. We kept turning down decent attacking opportunities to keep possession which we promptly lost to put ourselves under pressure - we'd been better off attacking we may have scored and if not the ball would have ended up in the Kop. Gillingham really should have equalised right at the death when Duberry made a good tackle on the by-line but then sliced it back to a Gills player 8 yards out, dead centre, who luckily for us panicked and sliced it wide. A dodgy end to a previously competent performance.
Oh and we had 2 fireworks - one in each half.
Robinson 6 - One great save, little else to do.
Protests 6 - Little sign of anything pre-game and a few chants of Sack the Board / Support the Team but nothing massive. Anti-Leighton chants were louder than the Ridsdale ones. Paper reports an "angry mob gathered outside the West Stand" afterwards but I was on the M1 in the Jabba express by this time, goes on to say they "quickly dispersed after a couple of ringleaders were led away". Anyone seen Rich this morning.
And it was f***ing cold and the chip shop by the Brit was closed. (:
To start the night hearing Eirik Bakke is to partner Mark Viduka up front is not something that breeds a glowing hope for the rest of the evening - but hey, "Bakke capped a storming debut as CForward with a well taken goal"- not really - he ran around a lot, played a few nice balls, a lot of crap ones and generally made a nuisance of himself - but it was quite amusing.
Generally a comfortable game - last 10 minutes flaps are our stock in trade now... Thank god for Robbo.
Good games - Kelly MOTM - but also Robbo, Viduka (at least 2 headers and 2 shots on goal - 1 went in) and Johnson who was quietly effective and looked like he can pass the ball - so he'll be dropped for being so presumptious - his "lob" when the keeper was way off his line was Geoff Thomas in its absurdity.
Fortunately Lucas's wallop from the big guy up front meant that Dubes had to come on against a team who's only ploy was the long high ball - Duberry can cope with that, its when the ball comes to his feet that he has difficulty - do you think he's short sighted?
Christ knows what kind of defence we'll have against WHam - we finished last night with Kelly - Dubes - Mills - Harte. Juliet Bravo should be in for Harte (who made one clean tackle all game and the ref heartless bastard that he was, gave a free kick).
Okon ran so fast yesterday that he ended up in the penalty area twice - PANIC!! - turned around and ran out again double sharp.
Surely there must have been omens in the air when The Rev's return to the ground coincides with the plonkers. All eyes are on Jerusalem.
Cup run - ha ha ha.
PS. Don't know about anybody else but I'm chuffing sick of the revisionism that's going on in Yorkshire's various august media outlets about the life and times of "the greatest ever chairman" - the Evening Post on Monday carried a full page story telling Leeds fans to "Cool it" - saying that basically what else could the board do, and if you don't get behind the board then you're not supporting the team - how bloody dare they. And don't even get me started on the last night's match programme...
Well, I arrived just after kick off and looked straight at the midfield and thought YESSSSSSSSS ! , he's dropped Bakke and we look more solid immediately. Then the ball was played up to our striker in gloves and he fell over and lost the ball. "F'cking hell Kewell , that was useless". Kewell gets up and to my horror its Eirik Bakke. I just burst out laughing. My mate went downstairs for a drink to recover. Tel really rates Bakke - it's obvious, but putting him as striker really takes the biscuit. Of course , everyone will say he scored a goal and did his job. I can't really argue with that but we were playing against the weakest defence I've seen for a while (it was their reserve defence apparently after a couple of their established defenders were ruled out - it showed) but Bakke was dreadful. His control for a professional football is nothing short of a disgrace. He cannot trap a ball to save his life. As I've said before he's straight from the Carlton Palmer school of footy. His first contribution in the box was to get in the way of a Viduka effort that was flying into the top corner. He then continued to bumble his way through the match , spending half of it on his arse. It was painful viewing. As for the goal - yes he got up well but he would have scored that if he was playing in midfield. Bakke has to go. Surely Milner up front or one of the young lads would have been a better option. You can listen to the pundits, listen to Tel, listen to Radio Leeds / Aire, see the odd game on telly and think Bakke is doing a good job. In truth he has been poor all season and is not fit enough to play in the premiership.
Viduka - he looked world class last night. Is he ? Or were the Gillingham defence s**t scared of him. they fell for every one of his Cruyff turns and in the end were scared to tackle him. He should have had a hat-trick against this shower of s**t.
We controlled the game for 80 minutes but we were pedestrian. Gillingham really didn't compete. I couldn't understand it, they seemed scared. We were there for the taking and it showed towards the end. 80 minutes , their little s**t of a manager plays a good ball through the middle, Mills gets the wrong side and then Robinson shows us a great example of school boy goalkeeping and they're back in the game. We then shat ourselves and ended up on the back foot for the last 5 minutes. It was embarrassing.
Mills - a joke performance. He was terrible. Maybe had one too many game at centre back. In contrast I thought Kelly was the man of the match. He looks more at ease with his football. He has had a good run in the team and has benefited. Good control, good runs, good interceptions, good crossing - a real top quality performance (against weak opposition).
Radebe - I think he will continue to get injured if he goes in for tackles like he does. It's all or nothing. Looks good when it comes off.
Midfield - Johnson was tidy but didn't impress. Looks short of games. All left foot and little creativity. Better than Bakke though. Okon - got dragged into a real dogfight at times and really put the effort in. Short, tidy passing but nothing too adventurous. He can do more I think. Wilcox - 100% effort as always but failed to deliver with some good chances and seems afraid to have a good run down the left choosing to play the ball inside instead.
Singing for Venables - pathetic. Listen to Alan Sugar's comments - that is the truth. Tel has done nothing since coming to Leeds. Bakke up front ?? Get real Tel.
Protest - f'ck all really. Approx 100 outside the banqueting suite afterwards. Couple of arrests but more police than fans. As one Leeds lad shouted "No f'cker knows how to demonstrate anymore". West Ham will be different.
Elland Road's a weird sort of place when it's only three quarters full. Last night was doubly weird as I took a friend along to his first ever footy match and tripply weird as we beat a lower division team in the FA cup!
Driving along we learned via Radio 5 that Smith and Kewell were out. Coupled with the "fact" that Rads and Matteo were also out we wondered what sort of team we'd be able to offer as sacrifical lambs to the Nationwide league slaughter. Presumably Milner would play up front with Pies. Dubery and Mills at centre backs.
Wrong in most ways (although Mills and Dubes did end up together for the last few nail biting minutes).
Pies and Fowler is the slowest imaginable Premier league forward line, right?
Wrong. That'd be Pies and Bakke. (sic)
The fortunate thing about playing Bakke up front though, was that (with the mysterious instant healing powers of Rads and Matteo) there were a whole host of other players suddenly playing in their normal positions. And even Kelly who was playing out of position was at least still playing in a similar position to his "proper" place. In fact Kelly playing right wing gave the team so much more balance than Smith does on the right wing. Smith is *not* a fekkin' right winger. He doesn't take people on, he doesn't run at people, he doesn't get behind defences enough. Kelly does all of the above. The other bonus was that with Bakke being up front Seth came in central midfield (oo-er). What a massive, massive difference that made. Suddenly there was someone in midfield who was willing to drive forwards with pace, get stuck in and win tackles, make passes to other white shirted players and put loads of energy into his game. You can bet your arse that TV'll stick him back on the bench as soon as Bakke is available for midfield duty.
Leeds never allowed Gillingham into the game up until Matteo went off to rest his injured knee to leave Mills (who isn't a centre half, you know!) and Dubes (who once again looked like a large rabbit trapped in very large headlights when the ball came near him) guarding the centre of defence. (No chances to Gillingham apart from one excellent save when Robbo parried away a strong header.)
In the first half Viduka smashed home a ball that fell at his feet about nine meters out; Bakke went through one on one towards the goal, should have passed to Pies who was in space, but got hilariously shoulder charged off the ball; generally kept the ball pretty well and were effective without it being a massively exciting game.
Second half was different and definitely had a high oooh and aaah factor as loads of chances were carved out. Kelly ran his socks off, running at the defence, crossing with both feet and generally playing almost as well as he did when he first started playing for Leeds. He's one of the few players who's really prospered under TV. Another one, Wilcox, also ran his arse off; being a little higher up than normal last night his work rate was even more evident than usual. Unfortunately for him, often when he runs into space (something he does more than every other Leeds player put together probably) people usually failed to spot his runs.
It was no surprise when Bakke headed the second goal. (Actually, that's a lie - there were two surprises, one that it was Bakke that scored and two that Harte banged in a superb free kick!) Suffice it to say that the second goal was long coming. If it wasn't for the fact that the Leeds players were more intent on keeping the ball in the corners rather than scoring it might've been an avalanche of goals.
When Matteo went off things started to fall apart a bit as Milner went to right wing and Kelly to right back. Gillingham pumped the ball down field, Mills and Robinson both hesitated and one of their huge forwards deftly flicked the ball into the net. Panic ensued for the next nine minutes (where the Hell did four minutes injury time come from?!) and how Gillingham didn't equalise when Duberry won the ball well in the area - and then passed it right in front of the goal to an unmarked Gillingham player is - anyone's guess. Robinson held on gratefully to the ball like Lord Didsbury would a naked Madonna.
Best chant for quite some time: "Short arse, what's the score? Short arse short arse, what's the score?" Hessenthaler: what an annoying little s**t who every supporter would love if his was playing for their side!
Bring on (remarkably) Palace. Maybe Venables' cup abilities will jam us a smooth passage through to the final (doubtlessly where we get hammered as Red S**t win part three of their quadruple ;-)
Ooops, don't speak to soon, Palace are a bogey side, n'est ce pas?! ;-)
Copy from Football Unlimited of 05/02/2003.
Leeds United were given a taste of what their future might hold last night but it was not the expected one of rebellion and acrimony. What Leeds experienced was mediocrity and, if the club continues to sell its best players, they can look forward to more of the same.
Leeds have made it through to visit the winner of tonight's replay between Liverpool and Crystal Palace in the fifth round but they did so in front of the lowest crowd of the season here, 29,355, which was 10,000 down on Leeds's last home attendance. Well, Peter Ridsdale did say 10,000 fans versus £9m was no contest.
Sadly nor was this game. A goal from Mark Viduka early on and an Eirik Bakke header near the hour brought the win but it was against a desperate Gillingham team that rallied far too late for Guy Ipoua's 86th- minute lob to matter.