Billy Bites Back
Sunday, 9th Dec 2007 17:57
Leeds United 4 Huddersfield Town 0
There was an unsavoury start to the day, as some Huddersfield Town fans saw fit to vandalise Billy Bremner’s statue on the occasion of the 10th. anniversary of his death. Dennis Wise claimed that he used this incident to fire up his team, and the culprits got exactly what they deserved, as Leeds recovered from a poor first half to give the visitors a jolly good stuffing after the interval.
At least the minute’s applause for Billy’s memory was respectfully observed by everyone, with a few Huddersfield fans joining in. Wise opted to go with an unchanged line-up, although Carole was fit enough to get a place on the bench. But Huddersfield had a couple of enforced changes to make due to suspension, so 17 year old Alex Smithies had to make his full debut in goal.
The weakened Huddersfield defence was to prove crucial in the end, but it didn’t seem to matter during a hectic opening to the game, as the visitors adapted better to the atrocious conditions. They got the ball forward quickly, but played some neat passing moves in and around the box. I thought their best player was Kamara on the right wing, who gave Hughes a difficult time, which showed the problem of taking the field without a proper left back. Their best early chance came when Kamara got past Hughes and a scramble in for possession in the box ended with Wallwork firing narrowly over the bar.
So it came as a surprise when Leeds took the lead in the 24th. minute, rather against the run of play. Prutton swung a cross into the box which went straight to a defender, and it was it was cleared straight out to Douglas, but as he was forty yards from goal it seemed rather too far out for him to take a shot. Or so I thought, but shoot he did, and the young keeper seemed to go down rather late as the ball passed him on it’s way into the corner of the net.
But Huddersfield were undaunted, and continued to enjoy most of the possession up to half time. Jeavons did well to control a high ball on his chest, before turning to fire a volley from 25 yards that went just wide of the far post. Meanwhile Kishishev was doing his best to get sent off. I thought his booking was a little bit harsh, but just before the break he dived in for a silly challenge and could have walked, but thankfully the ref settled for giving him a final warning. Wise was taking no chances and replaced the Balkan maestro with Howson at half time.
And whatever else Wise said during the break, it must have worked, as we came out looking determined to put the rookie keeper under a bit more pressure. In the 50th. minute Prutton popped up on the left, and delivered a low cross into the box, for Beckford to get a touch and steer it into the net. I don’t know if Prutton thought his cross had gone straight in, as he seemed to be claiming the plaudits himself in the celebrations that followed, but todays TV showed that the goal was correctly credited to Beckford.
Smithies wasn’t commanding his goal at all, and by now he was starting to get some fearful sledging from the Kop. “Does your mother know you’re here?” and “2-0, it’s the keeper’s fault”, amongst other ditties. The chances kept coming, and Huddersfield were beginning to look a well-beaten side. Smithies reacted late to a free kick and only just managed to push it over the bar, and he had to push a curling shot from Howson round the post.
In the 69th. minute the Town defence was AWOL once again, as Westlake chased a long ball down the left, and Prutton and Beckford were both completely unmarked in the middle. Prutton had the first shot, which the keeper did well to save, but that just left Beckford the simple task of tapping the ball over the line from two yards. A few minutes later Beckford seemed to aggravate the knock that forced him out of the Port Vale game, and once again he had to limp off the field to be replaced by Flo.
The fourth goal came with three minutes left, when Rui’s free kick was nodded on by Kandol for Westlake to shoot from a narrow angle, and though the keeper did well to make the save, it Flo reacted faster than the Town defence and knocked the ball home.
After the game there were the usual gang of chavs hanging round to try to have a go at the away fans and shout at the police. (Not that I was one of them I hasten to add, I watched it all while innocently waiting in the chip shop queue, honest!). And apart from a bit more shouting when the Huddersfield fans were eventually let through the police cordon there wasn’t any trouble. So much for WYP thinking they need a minimum allocation of away fans to prevent violence.
After our two wins in four days we can confidently say that were through our post-Poyet slump, though we remain in fifth place, as most of the other top clubs also picked up points over the weekend. Still, we’re now only two points off the top, and long may our good form continue. On! On! On!
Photo: Action Images
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