Leeds v Spurs. A Job Well Done

There’s a great deal of satisfaction to be had this morning as Spurs fans bask in the glow of a strong performance. Leeds posed a tough challenge and we rose to the occasion.

My piece yesterday highlighted the two problems with our game at the moment, our marshmallow resolve and the comparative lack of punch up front. Last night there was little reason to question our determination and focus. I’d say we took hold of the match from the start but I was late home from work and so missed the first 25 minutes, although if I break the habit of a lifetime and rely on the ITV commentators, it sounds as if I would not be far wrong. Now having been a Spurs fan for so many years, I don’t actually need to see the game to know what’s happening, so when I switched on it was a tale of Spurs’ superiority and missed chances. We’ve seen this all before, actually in the first game of course, so I sat back and waited for the goal against the run of play and the cup shock that ITV were wanting so desperately that if they could have used CGI to morph the ball into our net, they would have.

JD was on the ball but not quite on his game, looking good to all intents and purposes but we could see that extra touch, that hesitation, momentary but fatal. TV also shows Defoe’s First Law of Thermodynamics to its full extent – ‘the level of performance is in inverse proportion to the level of moaning’. Whinging and scowling like a spoilt child to mask his irritation with his own play, he nevertheless overcame his self-frustration to consistently get in the right positions and was rewarded with a goal, which predictably came not from one of his crisply struck efforts but a mishit shank.

No matter: we deserved to be ahead. The next stage for us is usually implosion and sure enough Leeds forced themselves back into contention. In sport, successful managers and coaches are often praised by sportspeople for their attention to detail. Get the little things right, and what followed was the perfect example of the consequences if you don’t. Almost straight from the kick-off, Dawson went for a high ball well away from the goal, against a guy several inches smaller than he, and fouled him, the sort of irritating transgression that happens ten or fifteen times a match. This innocuous moment completely changed the course of the first half. Leeds seized the initiative precisely at the point where we should have been guarding it like a dog with a bone. They proceeded to hurl the ball into our box from open play and a series of set pieces, the result being an equaliser. Another self-inflicted wound.

The man I felt sorry for was Gomes, and not just for the way he looks with that beard. He had another impeccable game; he is just playing so well right now and is not receiving the credit he deserves. I wouldn’t swap him for any keeper in the land.

But here’s the thing. For the rest of the match Spurs were totally dominant. All credit to them both for their application and intelligent football. Playing to our strengths we kept the ball on the move, supported our men in possession and patiently searched for the gaps. We had so many chances, it looked as if we practiced shooting at the middle of the goal, but the opportunities kept on coming and in the end one went in, this time set up perfectly by Bentley and delightfully finished by Defoe.

Those chances were generated by a willing midfield. Bentley’s was the standout performance, spoilt only by Clive Tyldesy’s ludicrous proposal that after one game against a division one fullback out of position, he’s in consideration for the World Cup. DB used his brain tonight and benefitted from having someone to whom he could pass. He’s not a natural winger so needs that support, but above all he should be praised for his effort and concentration. Hud and JJ had solid rather than spectacular performances but they were in charge of the centre of the park. JJ was wasteful in possession, especially in the first half but he took up good defensive positions, covering the gaps as others went forward and he and Hud took it in turns to venture upfield.

Leeds are to be admired for their passing and movement. They play decent football and deserve to be promoted. However, by the end of the match they looked exhausted, undone by a hard season, a deficiency that we exploited ruthlessly, passing the ball round and through them with economy. Also, our opponents’ back four offerred JD and Crouch so much room that we could not fail to take advantage.

A game to enjoy, in my case for all of the two minutes after JD’s hat-trick. When the second went in, my wife looked up from her knitting (I’ve painting a picture of domestic bliss, eh?) and said, ‘Go on then, shout’. Silence was the reply -in this sort of game, going ahead means only that there’s more to worry about, so it’s only afterwards that the excellence of this performance can be appreciated. Once ahead, we superbly shut the game right down, keeping the ball meticulously. We played really well and the whole team deserve huge kudos for that. This cup is winnable, we can take on and beat anyone who is left in it. Steady now.

21 thoughts on “Leeds v Spurs. A Job Well Done

  1. Well, like you I missed the first 25 minutes. Although in my case it was because the snow in Nottinghamshire caused so much knock on disruption that the last 3 miles to the stadium took over an hour and a half.

    I arrived just as Spurs took the lead. So from what I saw of the first half, Leeds were your equals…. (watching it again on tele I can see this was not the case)

    Second half you were the better team, Leeds relying on the long ball to escape the pressure, and not doing too well at that.

    So, the best team won. But the League One side did well enough to make it an competitive tie right up until the 94th minute. I’m very proud of Leeds. We’ve had a great run, and done ourselves proud. But I’m in no way unhappy to be eliminated from this competition. Firstly because you deserved your win, but mostly, because I want us to save every ounce of effort for getting out of this division and back to the level that the awesome support that Leeds attract deserves.

    Good luck against Bolton and for the rest of the tournament, but I’ll be very very happy to have gone out of the cup if we can muster 10 wins and 4 draws from our remaining 19 league fixtures.

    94pts should be enough…. (fingers crossed)

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  2. What was that all about….having to hang around for 45 mins as we were kept behind in the ground until the Leeds low life left the stadium.

    Nonetheless worth the 3 hr sloog home and the pain in the a..e drive up North

    COYS

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    • Glad you were rewarded for your patience and loyalty, Kev. My son was caught in that too but having warned him about Leeds and the bad old days, he’s happy to have got back to the car!

      Thanks for checking out TOMM, regards, Al

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    • I was actually – ahem – in Portcullis House opposite parliament for a meeting. Sounds more interesting than it actually was, shockingly bad planning on my part, I can’t believe it. I run a series of silly little stories about the self-inflicted pain of putting everything second to football, now this time I cocked up.

      Regards, Al

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    • Not all Leeds fans are hooligans. Its a very small minority, and i haven’t seen proper trouble round Elland Road since we played Millwall 2-3 years ago. It is Millwall afterall.

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  3. Same when we played at Old Trafford in the 3rd Round ….. we get used to over-zealous policing ….!

    Last night showed the gulf in class between where we are and where we want to be. We worked hard, but had no answer to the power and pace of Bentley, Defoe, Huddlestone et al. And realistically, if we were going to have a chance of winning the tie, we had to do it in the first game.

    But this cup run has been fun while it lasted. Good luck for the rest of the season.

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  4. a fair assessment, and i really hope leeds do go up and then up again – the atmosphere at that stadium looked awesome I would have loved to have been there, although it was the same as the first game. It was a proper cup tie, i love the nervous excitement of cup football, and this game has suddenly made me realise i take the fa cup over 4th place without a shadow of a doubt. been listening to the spurs music on the way to work this morning and im starting to dream of wembley!!

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  5. What a nice bunch of yorkshiremen commenting on this blog! Fair play to ya and look forward to playing you lot again more regularly in a couple of yrs!

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      • Very impressed by Spurs last night. We expected the skill level that your team have but i think what took us by surprise was the work rate. I suppose it’s a compliment to Leeds that Harry took the threat we pose so seriously. Your defence & midfield were outstanding & both sides came out of it with a lot of credit. Good luck in the rest of the competition, i yhink many Leeds fans would genuinely like to see you win it now.

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  6. Ha, Ha, I like the comment about your Mrs saying ‘Go on then, shout’. She sounds just like my wife. Good result, but even better was the solid performance. Still not sure about JJ; Palacios and the Hudd for me.

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  7. To be honest as well as Spurs played i always though Leeds were One goal away from putting us out!! For some reason Dawson makes me nervous?? Im very pleased for Bale and Bentley they have realy taken there chances well. when i saw Corluka go down my heart was in my mouth what with Hutton on loan and naugton the same!! but above all Leeds and there supporters need to be in the premiership good luck guys..

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  8. great game …….more like the old days …..
    nice to see players step up…..bentley etc…….
    dawson great tackles in box….etc..
    gomes saving well…..
    defoe never stopping!!

    like the blog…..does the itv media have an anti spurs mental state?

    leeds being given all the early positive comments noises ……

    which was annoying……..eating their words…..at the end …Ha!

    the spurs supporters were awesome in their noise at elland road!

    heard the some leeds fans were waiting after the game when…

    finally let out so lucky no idiots got the headlines this morning…….
    something spurs supporters club should report…….

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    • TV pundits always love to “big up” the smaller team …. God knows we suffered from it at Histon last season and Kettering this.

      It was a proper, old-fashioned cup tie – no quarter given, but nothing malicious in either game (I still don’t understand where the ref got 7 yellow cards from in the first game). And it just showed how sterile so much of British football has become …..

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      • I’m not being disrespectful, and certainly not trying to provoke abuse, but i thought the Spurs fans were immensely quiet, other than the times you scored. Where as the Leeds fans were always singing even when they went behind. Thats the diffenece between the two partys in my opinion. You don’t seem to back your team enough. I might be wrong and it might have been a one off but correct me if you feel you have to.

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  9. We did play well but to be honest I think we benefited from the statistical chance of the team from the higher league winning the replay – if you see what I mean. Leeds played well and are clearly on their way up. What concerns me is that although we look good going forward we still don’t seem to control games and shut down the opposition. Consequently I spend most of game on the edge of my seat. Jenas is the most unconvincing player we have … what exactly is he there for?

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  10. Spurs were at the races and looked up for it.

    Harry has done well particularly to get Bentley and Bale up to standard as they showed last night.

    Thought Leeds played well and the atmosphere was great.

    Hope you guys can get yourselves back in the Premiership asap. It is better with the big clubs in it.

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  11. Leeds fans,you have a good team with plenty of fight in them,and your support is the 12th man,keep this up and you will be a top team in the premier where you belong.just look at some of the premier clubs,who cant fill there stadiums, they should be where you are, not a club of your size.A note on Bentley,brilliant and fully deserved MOTM,keep it up.

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