|Leeds United 2 v 0 Ipswich Town|
Saturday, 15th December 2012 Kick-off 15:00
|Mullet added 19:10 - Dec 15|
Unchanged, it was Town who characterised the game from the off. Both sides were pedestrian in the engine room but, fast counterattacking and wing play was the order of the day. Town went at Paddy Kenny's goal like a bout of norovirus, torrents flowed down the wings through the energy of Martin and to a lesser extent Edwards early on. Fits and sputtering sprayed the ball onto the heads of centrebacks either side, before the first chance after barely 90 seconds.
Man of the match Martin cut in from the left and running at goal he opted not to shoot but tumble cheaply. He was waved away and Leeds broke for the first time through Diouf. He would be the catalyst down the right for the hosts own dominance in a game of fine margins.
Winter temperatures and an expansive autumn vista of mottled green saw both teams with room to play and territory to give and take, throughout the afternoon. Leeds capitalised with pace and athleticism in attack as well as the gift of Ipswich hesitancy at crucial junctures. However Town would have a small burst of chances in the first ten minutes.
A loose ball fell to Cresswell on the edge of the box who took to it with his weaker foot and zeppelined it into the laughably named "Kop". It was to set Town alight albeit briefly as Martin, DJ and Drury all sent balls down the wings with little end product from Town.
Leeds warned fairly early where the Senegalese spitter sent clear and volleyed against the chest of the onrushing Henderson from close range. The glovesman showed again he can spread better than butter on hot crumpets in the chilly environs of Yorkshire.
Town endured, but the lead came when pressure saw a Green header flicked innocuously into the six yard box. Chambo clowned around and Orr trundled the ball over the bar somewhat clumsily. Leeds' corner was simple but Thomas' finish somewhat fussy as a gangly heel flicked out speculatively. The lad megged Martin on the goal line much to everyone's disbelief. It was softer than lethal injection and ultimately the beginning of a slow death for a resilient Town.
Drury grew in belief; his earlier wastefulness gone as like N'Daw he played simple balls to find the front men. Murphy came deeper than Ron Jeremy too often, nullifying his menace to odd flicks and hold ups. However it was DJ whose running and endeavour would worry Leeds without really getting under their skin.
Leeds nearly made it two when Towns inability to close down and press saw Cresswell watch Diouf float a ball invitingly onto Becchio's rushing head. The Argentine couldn't RSVP with anything other than a wasteful header. Town meanwhile dragged the ball wide both in terms of build up and end product time and again. From over hit corners to, dithering wing play it was to be an afternoon of nearlys.
One such overhit corner saw Tommy Smith bound a header over his own head, before a rubbish Rivaldo impression as he stepped and stuttered on the flank, only to lose the ball and bring down his defensive counterpart unceremoniously. Town's best chance came from Carlos the captain.
A neat spell saw the ball interchange from clever play down the right. Drury, Carlos and Orr all exchanged neat passes which saw the Trinidadian burst into the box unchecked only to fire viciously off the bane of buffets everywhere which is Kenny. It was to be Town's best chance of the half and tellingly indicative of the lack of invention we suffered. N'Daw cleverly cleared a corner to the lonely Murphy who found DJ with an exquisite volleyed backheel to set DJ off on the halfway line being a close second in terms of flair and entertainment.
Leeds nearly grabbed a second where a quick flourish caught out Drury and down the left Leeds stormed. Cutting the ball back in, Tonge flicked a ball goalward for Norris to clatter a header against Cresswell cowering on the line, and a knee against Henderson on the floor. The ref played on briefly as the keeper clutched his head and Town fans held theirs collectively.
DJ may score when he wants but his assist for Martin's crisply taken net rippling drive to be negated by a linesman's late flag. Set away down the right hand side Town carved Leeds open as the loanee was adjudged to stray past the backline as he received the ball in space.
Town fans mulled, whines would have been unjustified as half time came and went.
Colin and Mick made no changes - it showed. More cut and thrust saw Leeds open the game up. Another easy cross was slammed by Becchio's head, looping off Chambers, Henderson readjusted nicely to tip one handed up and away. A wasteful snapshot saw the danger subside.
It was nice to see Town playing a simple passing game today. While possession was often not converted or too often, given away cheaply it was N'Daw for me who was the beating heart of our game. His first hour and change was the footballing embodiment of Occam's razor. Winning the civil war of Senegal when Diouf came inside, like a muscly, mutant, mongoose he neutralised the spitter and all over on-comers with equal aplomb. By bringing the ball out of the 18 yard box and laying it off, it sent Martin and co. away time and again for the first 75 minutes.
Importantly on the hour DJ made way for Chopra. His introduction changed a Town attack who had been lacklustre at times and wasteful too often. The troubled talisman ran and ran like a man missing the goals and adulation he is accustomed to. It was telling he would later make the miss of the game.
Martin again set away, this time down the right cut inside to square the ball to the striker waiting patiently on the penalty spot. He drove a lashing shot straight onto the legs of Kenny somehow.
As it was, Leeds would double their lead and sink the game for the blues much earlier on. A rasping drive from former Jewell target, Paul Green was a worthy winner from inside the box. He hit it with bend and venom into the postage stamp of the goal. Three points seemed to leave Town standing as Leeds delivered.
The game would fizzle out but not before JET replaced Murphy and a change in tack for Town. The wizardry only showed once as he dropped his shoulder to launch a ball for Martin to go clean through. Felled by the chasing defender as he was bearing down on goal the ref simply waved him on again. Not to book him for what was either a second miscarriage of justice, or act of clear simulation was frankly treacherous.
With the game and atmosphere flatter than Boxing Day Buck's Fizz, it'd be a harsh critic still making their mind up over Mick. He blooded young Hewitt to the departing grace of Lancs based loanee Orr. You can't read much into six minutes where the kid looked keen and athletic at least.
Leeds could have grabbed an undeserved third on a couple of occasions today. McCormack came off the bench to storm through the middle only to blast wide. Henderson claimed a couple of balls bravely from unchecked crosses. But ultimately the scoreline and result was perhaps undeserved. A young TWTD luminary lamented "I hate coming to away games with no goals to celebrate". Young man you miss the point. Some days teams will have days like this.
With the school holidays approaching today's report might read "must do better", however there was enough potential on show not to warrant festive worry just yet. Christmas may just about become Micklemas if he can pull out a few crackers and leave the baubles alone this yuletide.
CaptMickMills added 20:38 - Dec 15
cornishblu added 23:55 - Dec 15
Am not seeing Martin as mom ...n,daw for me,......he's improving each match that I have seen and adds much needed muscle in the middle of the park.......still not convinced by Henderson and was the only town player not to clap the away fans at end of match......Martin played well but must add the final ball to his game otherwise all his endeavour comes to nothing.
Positives.....back four definitely improving as a unit......we are starting to play out of defence not just hitting it up field....DJ always causes problems....and great to see another youngster blooded further in Hewitt...and although limited got to see some confident touches......mm has got this team working,giving optimism to the supporters and we will get results that reward this type of play...this is a blip rather than a step backwards.....ps thank you for autographs afterwards
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