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As the standing ovation for our new chairman died down to a smattering of polite applause the Gelderd end broke into a rendition of Wash Your Mouth Out Son. And that was the last defiance of the day.
This was a pathetic display from Leeds against a Brighton team who were utterly toothless up front, even if they did play some reasonably neat passing football to get there. Despite our obvious individual superiority in pretty much every position, we played at a pace dictated by KB's chosen leaders, namely Butler, Gregan and Deane. That's no pace at all. Poor old Gregan, it's not that he doesn't try, I'm sure he does, it's just that he's utterly unsuited to the Vieira / Lampard role he's expected to fill in our fashionable but strangely muted 4-3-3 formation. Just when a surge into the box is on the cards he shovels the ball sideways to a player in no better position, usually one of the full-backs. It's incredibly frustrating to watch one of your so-called better players ignore the space opening up in front of him in favour of a short sideways pass to Kelly. Incredibly frustrating. Walton gives it a go sometimes but based on Saturday's performance it's obvious he's no midfielder, he just doesn't have the talent for it. What's wrong with Matthew Spring we all wonder.
Gregan's purposeless strolling was just one example of the shoddy leadership shown by the senior staff. We also had petulance from Kelly directed at Lennon when the kid was just trying to do a one-two that didn't quite come off, there was a diabolical lunge from Bakke that must have been close to red card material, and apparently, I didn't see it myself, dissent from Butler directed at the bench when Lennon was substituted. If true, I don't blame him, but nevertheless, not in public, he's supposed to be the captain, the mouthpiece of the manager on the pitch, not a mouthy fan from Row B.
There's a myth doing the rounds that Leeds create chances but just can't finish them off. From the evidence on Saturday that's nonsense. Brighton's fetchingly shirted keeper (cue renditions of 'who's the faggot in the pink') had only one significant save to make, an excellent one as it happens from a Kelly lob of all things. Otherwise there were a couple of regulation catches from the head of Einarsson and that's it. It was no surprise that our goal came from a set piece for which the centre backs were up, and even then it was a scrappy affair with Carlisle's first effort luckily coming straight back to him off the midriff of a defender. Fair do's to him though, he slotted it nicely.
The debut boy Einarsson made a couple of late runs into the box to get on the end of the numerous crosses from Kelly and also won three free-kicks in the inside left position about 35 yards out. Definitely one worth watching. He's a reminder of Gary Speed when he was on the left in Wilkinson's team. Speaking of which, where's the Chapman clone when you need him. It's definitely not Brian Deane! He works his socks off alright but on Saturday he repeatedly failed to get his head anywhere near the crosses raining in on him. That's not good enough for a 6 foot 3 striker, especially yesterday when the supply from Kelly was of unusual quality and one in particular from Richardson was world class. The fact is that for all his admirable effort the old soldier is past it and I don't see the point of making him the focal point of our attack. Forget the thousand and one crosses, Deane can't reach them, so let's go to plan B.
Which brings us to Lennon and Healy, by a country mile our best performers on Saturday. Lennon had the crowd buzzing every time he picked up the ball. Lots of trickery, a little pace and the holy grail for wingers, an end product. On the other wing (why?) we have easily our most accomplished player in Healy. Working in tandem these two would be a joy to watch. So why are they stuck on opposite wings? It's madness. They should be closer together, working the opposition down one flank or through the middle, in the way that Pires and Henry do for Arsenal. Shouldn't this be Plan A? Let alone Plan B.
KB's decision to substitute Lennon was baffling, although some reports do say the youngster is recovering from illness. One thing for certain is that he wasn't showing signs of tiredness. Almost immediately the sub was made Brighton scored, again inevitably by a centre back during the second phase of a set-piece, they weren't going to score any other way. It is unfortunate for KB that the telling cross came in from their left-back, who just two minutes earlier would probably have been too petrified to go so far upfield while Lennon was lurking for the break.
That just left time one final trick from our badge replete manager, bringing Bakke on for the final two minutes. Quite what the thinking was behind that little gem is a mystery. Bakke hasn't played for 6 months and he just had time to show us he's lost none of his timing, missing a tackle by about 3 months and nearly breaking the leg of his victim. Cue handbags at tea-time to nicely eat up any remaining time for an unlikely winner.
So there we have it. On Jan 26 we had a makeable chance of being in the play-off zone by the end of the month. We needed to win two matches against mid-table opposition. Game on, something to reach for, an achievable target , the pressure is on.....and we got one point out of a possible 6.
Sullivan - nothing to do, B+ distribution and kicking
Kelly - solid defending, great crosses
Richardson - unperturbed in defence, put in one superb cross with his left foot, which is probably why he's playing there.
Carlisle - gave nothing away in defence and slotted the goal with aplomb
Butler - a presence in defence, wish could the say the same about his leadership
Gregan - a talented ball player but what's the point?
Walton - headless
Einnarsson - put himself about, won free-kicks and got on the end of crosses. Great debut.
Lennon - nutmegs, step-overs, jinxes, terrified his marker. Superb.
Healy - quiet for him, one 50 yard run with the ball that was ultimately well defended and a couple of snap shots from distance. Wasted without a like-minded accomplice.
Deane - works like a cart-horse. Sadly the similarity doesn't end there.
Spring - one lovely pull-back in the 10 minutes he had. Why doesn't Blackwell rate him?
Bakke - on for 2 minutes.
Blackwell - Wheeeee
Crowd - generally good humoured. Reality must have set in.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 30/01/2005.
Eirik Bakke returned to familiar surroundings, appearing for the first time in nearly nine months after injury, but this was not how it used to be. The Norway midfielder's last game at Elland Road was against Liverpool in the Premiership, when he scored.
Old friends have gone, old rivals are a division above him, and an old chairman has left in an undignified manner. Ken Bates is the man who Leeds hope will restore them to the position they were in when Bakke joined six years ago. Bates kept a surprisingly low profile on his first visit to the ground as the new chairman but spoke to the players in the dressing room at 1.45pm. There were no histrionics.
"He wished us all the best for the game and said keep your heads up," said Bakke, who has no plans to quit the rescue mission. "A club like this will always come back; I'd like to stay and see what happens."