WEDNESDAY 10th MARCH, 1999
FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP
LEEDS UNITED 2 (1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 (0)
Referee:- Neale Barrie ( replaced by Stephen Lodge due to injury after 83 minutes )
Leeds (4-4-2):- Martyn; Woodgate, Wetherall, Radebe, Harte; Haaland, Bowyer, Batty, Kewell; Smith, Hasselbaink
Subs not used:- Robinson(GK); Halle, Mc Phail, Jones, Wijnhard
Booked:- Batty, Haaland
Spurs (4-4-2):- Walker; Carr, Young, Campbell, Edinburgh; Anderton ( sub Nielsen, 75 ), Freund, Sherwood, Ginola ( sub Sinton, 75 ); Iversen ( sub Ferdinand, 75 ), Armstrong
Subs not used:- Baardsen; Vega
Booked:- Freund, Sherwood, Young
Leeds exacted full revenge for their recent FA Cup exit at the hands of Spurs, and maintained their challenge for a European place on the league front with a convincing display. I haven't seen such a poor display from Tottenham since they went three down at Villa Park in early November. Spurs lost this game for a number of reasons. Their front runners failed to hold the ball up; their flair midfield players; Anderton, and Ginola were too easily harried off the ball; Freund and Sherwood had some of their sting removed with relatively early bookings; and to give Leeds the credit they deserve, their players wanted the ball more, and were generally first to it, and more eager. George Graham made a triple substitution with a quarter of an hour to go, and Spurs then enjoyed more possession, but the game was already won by that time.
The game was a little slow to warm up, but Leeds had the better of the play in the early stages. There was a heated clash between Hasselbaink, and Freund, when the Dutchman was perhaps lucky not to get booked. Haaland had two efforts on goal; one blocked, and one wide, whilst Hasselbaink also had a shot go wide. Spurs first real opportunity came after 12 minutes, when Freund passed to Carr, who found Armstrong, whose shot was comfortably held by Martyn.
Batty got a booking for a crunching foul on Sherwood. The Spurs man had his name taken when bringing down Bowyer on the edge of the area after some panic in defence. He may have been fortunate to escape with a booking, on the basis that he prevented a clear goal-scoring chance. Hasselbaink shot well wide of the post from the free kick. Leeds picked up the pressure, and Walker looked a little shakier than of late. He failed to hold a Harte cross, but Spurs survived the resulting goalmouth scramble. Each of the Spurs defenders were generally tackling and clearing danger well, but the ball was coming back too quickly.
Freund was in the thick of the action and got his booking after 23 minutes. He was still effective for the rest of the game, but had to be careful, of course. Apart from his defensive responsibilities, the German was often to be found leading the better attacking moves by the away side. A Spurs counter attack by Armstrong gave Sherwood a half chance when he ran onto the ball on the edge of the area, but Nigel Martyn was able to clear safely.
At the other end, Batty sent a ball over the defence, but Bowyer's cross went in front of young Smith, who impressed me more than Hasselbaink tonight. After 31 minutes, Batty threaded a pass to Kewell, who hit the post with his shot, but he was just offside. Spurs only threat came in spasms, and a Ginola short corner caused some problems for the Leeds defence, but no attacker got on the end of his cross.
Steve Car made a very important tackle on Hasselbaink after 39 minutes, when a Smith cross reached his partner in front of goal. After 42 minutes, Anderton sent a cross from the left, which reached Sherwood. His touch was good, and he got a shot in, but again Martyn was equal to the threat. Immediately after this, the ball was quickly sent into the Spurs half; Kewell beat Young on the right of the penalty area, and although his shot was well saved and parried by Walker; it went to Smith, following up, and he was able to shoot home easily.
Spurs responded quickly, and a Ginola cross from the right led to a double save by Martyn from short range from Sherwood, and Iversen, who at this point made perhaps his one telling contribution to the game.
The pattern of the game did not change in the second half, with Leeds dominating possession, and penetration. After 51 minutes, Freund lost the ball under pressure from Haaland, who put Hasselbaink clear. On this occasion, Walker was quick off the mark, and able to clear. There were one or two snatches of attractive play from Tottenham featuring Freund, Ginola, and a Carr cross which was headed over by Armstrong.
Leeds increased their lead after 68 minutes. Smith passed to Haaland on the right, and his cross was headed with too much ease past Walker, as Kewell got in front of the defender. Then came Graham's triple substitution, and a little pressure by the visitors. Another Carr cross reached Armstrong. This time the forward forced a good save from Martyn, who had to tip the ball over the bar. From the resulting corner, there was a little panic for Leeds, as Martyn failed to hold the ball. Nielsen had a couple of useful shots during the run-in, but it was all to no avail.
For Spurs' second consecutive game, the referee suffered an injury, and had to be replaced. George Graham was subject to a fair amount of abuse from the home crowd, and with Stewart Houston beside him, one prominent chant was "Gooners, Gooners, what's the score.....?" So, Spurs end their 16 match undefeated run. Aston Villa, our next opponents also lost ( again) tonight, and Saturday's game promises to be most intriguing.
· Brian Judson's preview
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