FA BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP
SATURDAY 10TH JANUARY, 2004
LEEDS UNITED 0 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (0)
Referee:- Mark Halsey
Leeds (4-4-2):- Robinson; Kelly, Duberry, Kilgallon, Harte; Pennant, Bakke, Matteo (Capt..), Olembe (sub Sakho, 66); Barmby (sub Milner, 66), Viduka (sub Bridges, 46)
Subs not used:- Carson (GK); Richardson
Spurs (4-4-2):- Keller; Carr (Capt.), Doherty, Gardner, Taricco; Dalmat, King, Anderton (sub Poyet, 88), Davies; Keane, Kanoute
Subs not used:- Hirschfeld; Kelly, Jackson; Postiga
It was a great day for the away fans at Elland Road today, as Robbie Keane scored the only goal of the game to deepen the crisis at his last club. Once again, Robbie's celebration was subdued, perhaps as a mark of respect for the demise of the once great club, whose fate he may have accelerated. Billed as six-pointer, it was more vital to Leeds that they should win this game, as Spurs were already 4 points ahead of them. However, Leeds are in such disarray that they forgot to play the "Marching on Together" theme at the start of the game (playing after the interval was not the same), and with David Batty injured and Alan Smith suspended, even Nicky Barmby got his first start of the season, and Olembe also made a rare start for Eddie Gray.
Spurs recalled Taricco and Gardner, pushing Ledley King back to the middle, and leaving Gus Poyet on the bench. Leeds only had one shot on target all game, against Spurs' 7, but the first half was fairly even, with Gary Doherty enjoying and winning a great battle with Mark Viduka. Doherty was arguably man of the match, although Spurs were so dominant in the second half, that he was not so often employed.
Leeds had the first break, when Barmby raced for a through ball from Olembe. Doherty was on hand to keep Barmby off the ball, and allow Keller to clear. At the other end, Robbie Keane brought a save from Robinson with a quickly taken shot from outside the box. Then, after 5 minutes Olembe passed from the middle to Pennant on the right, whose good cross into the danger zone was well cleared by Doherty, already winning admiring cheers from the visiting fans, who were on top form throughout the game.
Pennant was proving a bit of a handful for both Simon Davies and Taricco, who got booked for his trouble, with a tug-back on the Arsenal loanee, predictably baited by the Spurs crowd. Spurs won a corner after 7 minutes after the first bit of trickery from Dalmat. Anderton took, and Robinson had to be alert to reach Doherty's header to his top right corner. Spurs were paying too much respect to the home side in the first half, and there was danger for them, when Dalmat failed to control the ball just inside his half. Carr was stranded, and Olembe was on the ball, sending a low cross just in front of the goal.
More skill from Dalmat led to a chance for Spurs, but the ball rolled to Robinson from close range, after Dalmat's cross. Doherty and Viduka had a clash of heads, and the cheers for Doherty as he left the pitch then returned were amazing. I have spoken to one or two people that thought the crowd were taking the mickey on Wednesday night with their Doherty chants, but I suspect that most fans would be happy if Richards stays on the bench when he returns to fitness. One of Spurs problems was the number of free kicks they conceded about 25 yards out, but Ian Harte is not the player he was, and only one of his kicks was on target, collected on his line by Kasey Keller. Simon Davies and Darren Anderton had late shots for Spurs. Davies was over, but Anderton's shot was swerving away from the keeper who did well to hold the ball at the second attempt.
Viduka was replaced by Bridges at half-time, and will fly home to Australia for family reasons. (I understand his father is ill). Spurs looked more like the side that beat Birmingham so well mid-week, and really took the game to the home side. They should have scored more than just the 1 goal that did secure the points, which meant we did have a nervous closing minute or two. Within 3 minutes of the re-start Dalmat was away, cut inside and passed to Robbie, whose shot was parried again by Robinson, with no Spurs player on hand to kill the ball. Next it was Kanoute and Keane providing for Anderton who tried a sharply taken left foot shot that went just outside the post.
Spurs took a deserved lead after 55 minutes, when Keane latched onto Taricco's quickly taken free kick, and after a quick jink to the left and right, beat Robinson with a shot from inside the box. Once again, we had to make do without the cartwheel, but the Spurs fans were sure to sing "Thank you very much for the Robbie Keane" again! Robbie has scored in each of the three games he has played against Leeds since signing for Spurs in August 2002. Spurs were well in control now, and Dalmat hit two powerful right foot shots that beat Robinson but that were outside the post.
Barmby and Olembe were replaced by Milner and Sakho, and Bridges spurned a good chance from a corner when he stabbed the ball wide. After 73 minutes, Dalmat won a challenge deep inside his own half, then carried the ball at his usual pace. Dalmat passed outside to Kanoute who hit a powerful shot from the right, that Robinson could not hold. However, the danger was cleared in the follow-up by Leeds. Mauricio Taricco brought another good save from Robinson, as he tried a repeat of his great goal in the home match between the two sides. With 3 minutes to go, Spurs completed a slow build up, with Carr placing a good through ball for Anderton, who could have shot, but chose to set Kanoute up. Kanoute hit the ball wide. Anderton was replaced by Poyet, who did hit a swerving shot just wide after a Keane lay-back.
Leeds remain in 19th place, whilst Spurs have left the bottom three behind and hold 13th position, having scored more goals than Middlesbrough, who lost 4-1 at Highbury today. Without a doubt this was the best away atmosphere we have enjoyed this season, and as our other win at Leicester was somewhat fortuitous, this was the best performance by far away from White Hart Lane. Three wins in 8 days does so much good for the morale of the team and the fans, and next week we can test our form against Liverpool, who have also won 3 times in the last week.
· Read some post-match statistics here
· Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
· The Preview for this game can still be read here
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