FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP
SATURDAY 12TH FEBRUARY, 2000
LEEDS UNITED 1 (1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 (0)
Referee:- Dermot Gallagher
Leeds (4-4-2):- Martyn; Kelly (capt), Duberry, Woodgate, Harte; Bakke (sub Haaland, 84), Bowyer, Jones, Wilcox; Kewell (sub, Huckerby, 67), Smith
Subs not used:- Robinson (GK); Mills, Maybury
Booked:- Bakke, Bowyer, Kelly, Jones
Spurs (4-4-2):- Walker; Carr, Perry, Campbell (capt), Taricco; Anderton, Sherwood, Clemence (sub Nielsen, 73), Ginola (sub Dominguez, 76); Korsten, Armstrong
Subs not used:- Baardsen; Scales, Young
Booked:- Clemence, Sherwood, Armstrong, Taricco, Anderton
Spurs' slide into mid-table mediocrity continued with this predictable third 1-0 defeat in a row. George Graham's side have now won only two of their last fourteen games, and the year 2000 has been dismal since the defeat of Liverpool on January 3rd. We are now only six points clear of Glen Hoddle's Southampton, who won again today, and even Coventry should go above us in two weeks time, as the form guide dictates that they will beat us. If you ask me, the pressure ought to be building up, as George has to look over his shoulder in the weeks to come.
This game developed into a physical battle, as there seemed to be no love lost between the players. Despite the recent instructions to referees to show more leniency, Dermot Gallagher was obliged to pull his yellow card out nine times today. Korsten was given his full debut, but neither he, nor the hopeless Armstrong managed to truly threaten Martyn's goal once. Anderton was not the only player to be below par, but in my view, we should relegate him to the reserves until, and if he signs a contract. Why keep him in the shop window?
There was work for the Spurs defence early on, as Taricco and Campbell looked a little shaky, but it was Anderton on the break who found Sherwood in space in the middle. Sherwood tried an ambitious long shot that went wide, and might have measured his effort a little more. Walker then had to be sharp to keep out a Smith effort, as the Leeds player cleverly turned and shot in a fluid motion.
There was little goalmouth action, but Leeds were the more likely to succeed, with Kewell looking particularly sharp, and even Sol Campbell struggling against the Australian, who limped off before the end of the game.
After 22 minutes, a beautiful ball from Carr found Armstrong, but the striker's first touch was so poor that he ran the ball all the way to the corner flag from the edge of the box. Then a minute later, Leeds were in front. A Walker kick was headed straight back over the Spurs defence. The retreating Smith was not considered to be interfering with play, and Kewell was allowed to advance around Walker who came out of his area to try and clear, leaving Kewell with only Campbell to beat. Kewell scored with ease.
A Clemence throw found Korsten in the box. Korsten turned, and nearly got round Duberry, but the ex-Chelsea defender cleared the threat for a corner. Kewell again beat Sol Campbell to a long ball, and forced a good save from Walker. Taricco conceded a needless corner, which was taken by Harte. Smith was allowed two touches in the area before firing well over the bar. Smith soon turned Perry with ease, shooting across the goalmouth, with Walker beaten, but none of his colleagues in sight. Even Stephen Carr struggled defensively, as he put the ball into the path of Smith, whose shot required another save from the Spurs keeper.
Just before half time, Armstrong was given an excellent chance by another long Carr ball. Armstrong got in front of his defender, but shot hopelessly wide of the mark. This man would even struggle to excel in the first division!
There were ugly scenes at the start of the second half, as Bowyer earnt a booking with a dangerous challenge on Clemence. Perry got spoken to after the melee, but seemed to be one of the most innocent parties to the dispute. O'Leary was furious with Taricco, as the Argentinian writhed on the touchline after being elbowed in the neck by Smith, who escaped unpunished. Then Wilcox stamped on Ginola (unpunished), and Smith and Kelly wanted to give the Frenchman some more rough treatment. Spurs fought harder (in football terms) in this half, but still failed to make their final balls count.
After 58 minutes, a free kick from the left was headed down by Kewell, and well saved by Walker. The rebound came back into the net off a Leeds player, but was adjudged offside. At the other end, an Anderton throw reached Stephen Carr in a rare attacking position, and his cross was met by Armstrong - this time on target with a header, but too easy for Martyn. Too many of Ginola's tricks didn't work today, but he showed superb skill before sending a long crossfield ball to Carr. The full back found Anderton in the penalty area, but that was as far as the attack got.
Korsten had a couple of half chances, but for much of the remainder of the game, Spurs were on the back foot, with the likes of Huckerby and Bowyer making excellent runs into danger areas. A last minute Nielsen long throw was allowed to go across the Leeds six yard box, but no-one could take advantage, and another frustrating day for Spurs came to a close.
As for Leeds, this was an excellent result, which put them back into the Championship running, as Man Utd lost 3-0 at Newcastle (also catching up with Spurs).
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