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Sometimes going home after a game to watch the highlights can be a good experience - you can see that your forward really was offside when his goal was disallowed or that your Chalf really did handle the ball in the area for that penalty - and sometimes it isn't. I came out of the game on Saturday convinved that we had had 2 bad decisions go against us - Robinson's movement for the penalty and Forsell's offside goal. However on seeing the highlights I realised that there were 3 (possibly 4) that had gone against us in that last 10 minutes that had well and truly cost us the points:
- the foul was outside the box. I agree that if the foul was given then he had to go - last man, goal scoring opportunity and all that - but contact was outside the box.
- Robinson moved backwards. The save should have stood. (But if it didn't why didn't the penalty have to be taken for a third time because of encroachment?)
- Forsell was offside for the 3rd goal.
- (the possible 4th wrong decision - did Roque foul him or did he just trip and land on him?)
The loss of points because of these two clowns - and the linesman was involved in every decision/non-decision - did piss me off but more importantly is the possible effect on team morale. We'd had a mauling on Monday night and were putting in a professional and dsiciplined performance against reasonable opposition (albeit opposition who'd come for a point). We were getting involved making a lot of tackles, putting together some decent passing and covering as a team should. I think Robinson had one save to make before the penalty. We squandered 3 decent chances - Smith on the turn on the spot stuck straight at the keeper and Pennant twice at the back post lost the chance due to poor control on his first touch. Arguably on one of them he should have shot first time.
The worst that we were heading for here before the intervention of the officials, was a draw, but now we've got our first home defeat of the season and so early. The longer you can go into a season without losing at home the greater your belief that you are unbeatable at home.
I thought Reid seemed to have done a decent job of picking them up after Leicester. Camara and Roque Jnr looked like they had at least been introduced this time. Camara had a decent game - apart from one slip which did nearly cost us. I'm not convinced about Roque but let's give him a few more games. Olembe got better as the game went on he began to move the ball around, picking passes, winning the ball a few times and generally making a nuisance of himself. He looks promising - don't know if he'll struggle against the real heavyweights but we'll see. Sakho had another decent game - always available and always on the move - a couple of good runs into the box might have produced more. He had two fairly lame shots from the edge of the box which on another day he might have struck a bit more convincingly.
Smith did lots of huffing and puffing - he won more headers than just about anyone in the 2nd half - while Viduka was once again a trundling nonentity. Lennon came on and looked lively.
All in all there was some promise there in the form of the team discipline and work ethic - but you just can't legislate for officials having that kind of day. There was no way Brum were going to win the game all other things being equal.
Cheated - cheated - thrice cheated.
Extremely p***d off of Leeds.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 22/09/2003.
Birmingham's anthem "Keep Right on to the End of the Road" for years rang of stoicism as if rendered by exhausted PoWs on the long march to captivity. But now the Blues are running free down the highways of the Premiership.
As the tune sounded from so many visiting fans' mobile phones on Saturday evening, it seemed they could not believe their sudden good fortune. Neither could the majority of a numbed crowd, who could not see what two officials saw. TV re-runs will not soften the Leeds mood either.
Steve Bruce's side were handed a questionable penalty, a contentious re-take and a debatable onside. Leeds argued that all three were not slices but dollops of luck.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 21/09/2003.
A controversial penalty, twice taken, knocked the stuffing out of Leeds who had played considerably better than in their midweek performance at Leicester. Robbie Savage was the scorer, after Jose Roque Junior was sent off and David Dunn's first attempt had been saved by Paul Robinson only for the referee's assistant to spot an encroaching Leeds player. When Christophe Dugarry and Dunn set up Mikael Forssell for a second six minutes from time, Leeds accepted the inevitable as meekly as lambs.
Leeds, after their tepid display against Leicester City where they lost 4-0, fielded much the same side with Ian Harte replacing Didier Domi at left-back and Solomon Olembe coming into midfield in place of Seth Johnson who has tonsillitis.
Leeds's favourite son, Alan Smith, had promised that there would be no repeat of the Leicester debacle. And manager Peter Reid wrote in his programme notes: 'The manner of our defeat was particularly disappointing, we had terrific travelling support and it wasn't fair on them.'