By Mark Rasdall
I was at the game at Carrow Road last night to witness Leeds United come back to gain a point against a poor Norwich City team who only scored thanks to a gift from the LUFC defence.
But there are a few more points to make:
None of the vile animals in white or harmless beasts in green and yellow had any idea why Mark Clattenburg stopped the game in the first half. It transpires that Cameron Jerome accused Giuseppe Bellusci of making a racist remark towards him. Because of Clattenburg's own previous involvement in racist disputes he was bound to take it seriously enough to report it. If proven, Bellusci will be punished and rightly so. There is absolutely no room for racism in football or any other aspect of a civilised society. I tell my children now about the games I attended in the 'Seventies and the shocking behaviour we all witnessed. Thankfully as a society we can and have moved on, but none of those players then or now could ever change the colour of their skin. It was shameful and I am immensely proud that, as a club, Leeds United has been at the forefront of trying to change people's attitudes and perceptions.
We will have to wait and see what the investigation finds. From previous FA and Football League 'investigations' against Leeds United, the omens are not good. Jerome, meanwhile, clattered Bellusci shortly afterwards and went on to have another poor game, as did Clattenburg who was petty throughout and failed to let the game flow - which was difficult enough in the swirling wind.
Bellusci had frustrated Jerome up until that point and effectively nullified his footballing presence. I still do not think, though, that he is a natural centre half. The goal we gave away to Norwich captain, Russell Martin, in the second half was dreadful - a corner that lands on the head of the biggest man in the stadium who is unmarked and unchallenged is a disgrace and this has to be eradicated or we will be let down time and time again.
I think Bellusci has a sweeper role just in front of the defence and I'd bring Cooper in as partner for Pearce. I thought Byram was OK and Berardi was a revelation. He closed players down, got his tackles in and showed real speed on the flanks. I hadn't really rated him so far but he was excellent last night.
Unfortunately the diamond does mean that we lack width and, even with Adryan on from the start, playing through a packed midfield (Norwich showed little ambition as the home team) gave our forwards precious little to work with. Adryan is fantastic on the ball but obviously very slight and was outmuscled a lot of the time last night. I think he is a player to bring on, not to start. I also think that Lewis Cook immediately gave us more going forward and I have to say that, for me, our troubles against Rotherham started when he went off last Friday. I would certainly rest him from time to time - he is only 17 for goodness sake - but I'd start with him and bring Adryan on for Austin as a general rule and possibly replace Cook with Sloth later on in games if necessary.
Doukara makes far too many misplaced passes for me but took his goal really well. People around me were screaming for him to be replaced by Sharp but with so little service to the forwards. especially from the wings, I don't see how he would have fared that much better. It will be interesting to see what happens against Wolves with Doukara now suspended.
We kept our shape pretty well but against a better attacking team I think we'd be punished. I remember vividly Forest pulling teams on to them in the late 'Seventies and hitting them on the break. Although Antenucci ran and ran all night I just think that we not only starved Norwich but also ourselves. When we did attack we showed little conviction and I got the feeling - apart from the goal - that we didn't really believe we'd score. We didn't really go for it when we did get one of the few chances in the match to do so.
Norwich fans surrounded us on the train back and were moaning about Neil Adams and his playing of players out of position and so on. For me, a point at Norwich is a good point but not sure whether we'd have got one if they'd really been on their game. I certainly felt - and feel this morning - more optimistic for the future than they did and, once again, to be part of such a huge away following on a cold night in an overpriced stadium many miles from anywhere shows what Leeds United is really all about: a passion for football, and what a pity that this simple truth is so often overlooked by other news.
By Mike Courtney
Following on from our latest reversal at Rotherham now is as good a time as any to assess the season so far and to look ahead to what might be in the weeks and months ahead. With 12 games gone the season so far can be easily broken down into 3 parts; let's call them Hockadays, Redders days and Darko days.
I think its safe to say that we were all surprised with the appointment of Hockaday during the summer. Few if any Leeds fans had heard of him and few if any will ever forget his short stay at Elland Road. In fairness to him he was on a hiding to nothing and with just one win in his 4 league games in charge, a 1-0 victory at home to Middlesbrough, he was always destined for the chop. The loss to Bradford in the Capital One Cup was the final straw, whereas many would have said the 4-1 battering by Watford the previous weekend should have sealed his fate. With stats of 2 goals for and 8 against and just those 3 points to show for his 4 games at the helm I think its fair to say that The Hockadays were not very successful ones and few were sorry to see the back of him. He tried his best but his best was far from good enough. A nice man, but then so am I and I couldn't manage Leeds United and sadly neither could he. In modern parlance "Epic Fail".
Neil Redfern took over caretaker duties and started with a bang and a 1-0 win at home to Bolton following Stephen Warnock's strike, was a welcome sight for the Elland Road Faithful. This was followed up with a 1-1 draw at Birmingham in a game we could have won. This match also saw the welcome return to form of Alex Mowatt, who was overlooked by Hockaday, and he duly obliged with the equaliser. The reformation under Redfearn continued on the following Tuesday, yes a Tuesday win, when we came from behind away at Bournmouth with goals from Doukara, Bellusci's wonder free kick and Antennucci got the goals in the last 20 minutes. A 3-0 thumping of our Noisy Neighbours Huddersfield the following Saturday had the Leeds faithful dreaming of good times ahead. Redders was doing great as Caretaker with 10 points in his four games in charge, 8 goals for and just 2 against, the polar opposite of Hockadays stats, and some fans were calling for his full time appointment, though others felt he was too valuable to the Academy; a view I totally disagreed with. Unfortunately Mr Cellino sided with the "Too Important to the Academy Brigade" and Redders Days, for now, were over. He left Leeds in a good position though for the incoming manager.
I must admit I didn't know much about Darko Milanic prior to his name been mentioned as a possible manager at Leeds. My knowledge of Austrian and Slovenian football is not what it should be. His record seemed good though and he won a lot of trophies at Maribor and Sturm Graz so with the positivity that had been set in place I was expecting good things under his stewardship. An 2-0 away defeat at newly promoted Brentford was not the start we were hoping for but as it was his first game in charge most fans let it slide, especially as we had two home games to come to get back to winning ways. A scoreless draw with Reading and a 1-1 draw with The Wendies was not what the doctor ordered but there were some signs there that we weren't far away. In fairness if it wasn't for Kieran Westwood we would have beaten The Wendies. The International break came at a good time as it gave Milanic plenty of time to get to know his players and to get them playing his way. There was a positive mood amongst Leeds fans that the short trip to Rotherham would finally see Mr Milanic get his first win as Leeds manager. The first half display didn't quash that belief as we led through a very good Antenucci stike and possibly could have been ahead by more. What folllowed in the 2nd half was dismal to say the least. We were out fought and out thought as we conceded 2 softish goals to let the 3 points slip away. There was one positive in that 2nd half, the short cameo of little Adryan showed he could and should have a big impact this term. Darko's stats for his 4 games read 2 points, 2 goals for and 5 against. A worse points tally than Hockaday.
So what lies ahead for the future? Will Darko survive Cellino's wrath? Will he be given the time to do so? I certainly don't know. There is an improvement in our style of play from the Hockadays, but our goalscoring stats are not good and we are not creating enough chances. All 3 bosses seem to like the Diamond Formation, I'm not a fan of it but who am I to argue. We need more width to create chances for Antenucci, Doukara and Sharp and the Diamond doesn't give us that.
The next 4 games could define our season. Away trips to Norwich and Cardiff won't be easy and home matches against Wolves and Charlton are no gimmies either. Where will Darko get his first win? I would love to say Tuesday Night at Carrow Road but I wouldn't be putting money on it. I'd take a point there and hope to keep the Wolves at bay next Saturday for our 1st win under Milanic. We'd have a week then to get ready for Cardiff, who are not going well and wouldn't it be great to get an away win against a team that have been our nemesis of late. All going well we will be in a confident frame of mind for the visit of Charlton and could snatch another win. That is the best case scenario. I always look at things with a glass half full mentality and 10 points from those games would be amazing. At this stage I'd bite your hand off for 7 points from those fixtures.
Whatever the outcomes I'm sure there will be many twists and turns as the season unfolds. Who will be our manager at the end of the season? Well I know it won't be Hockaday, I wouldn't bet the house on Milanic either. It could yet be Redders back at the helm. With Cellino you never know.
MOT Leeds Leeds Leeds
By Martin 'Badger' Chadwick
Leeds Ladies FC played host to Tingley Reserves at Knaresborough this Sunday afternoon in what was a fairly one sided match. The extremely windy weather made a change from the beautiful sunshine we are used to at Knaresborough but that just meant the fans had to sing louder than normal if such a thing is actually possible.
Tingley lined up without a recognised keeper and although the score line was very unflattering she did make a fair few top drawer saves and stopped a hell of a lot more than she let in.
Leeds Ladies were aware of the keeper situation before the game began and wasted no time in diving upon the advantage when Hannah Campbell had the first shot of the game on the 4th min. Captain Emma Bentley had been moved out of the back line and allowed to return to her natural position of striker and it was evident been up front is where she likes to be when on the 10th min a trademark flick from Kez was met by a Bentley chip that was just a step too far ahead of birthday girl Bianca “Binx” Ross and went just wide of the post as the Tingley defence was still wondering where the ball was.
To be fair to Tingley whilst they were outplayed and outmatched all over the park they didn’t lay down but instead fought for every ball and really made Leeds work hard to break the deadlock which came on the 17th min courtesy of Binx.
The Leeds Ladies Supporters Club were in full song as usual and the humour really shone when Bentz missed a sitter on the 26th min and glared at the fans as we all started to sing “she’s forgotten how to score!”
Tingley still refused to roll over and despite constant pressure from a deadly looking strike trio of Bentz, Binx and Kez it took until the 36th min for Leeds to build upon their lead thanks to a sweet strike from Kez. Three minutes later Bentz scored to make it 3-0 and put all three strikers on the score sheet by halftime.
Halftime saw the supporters club joined by their honorary president and newly crowned European featherweight champion Josh Warrington who kindly posed for photos with fans and talked quite openly and candid about his recent fight.
The second half started pretty much were the first left of with Leeds bombarding the Tingley goal and were rewarding for their efforts on the 46th min when Binx made it 4-0
The 63rd min saw the fans Player of the Month for September Emily von Starkie substituted after yet another fantastic solid performance to make way the return of Leeds legend Fiona Berry. As the fans cheered her first appearance in a Leeds ladies shirt a collective scream of despair could be heard from strikers throughout the league as they faced the realisation that playing against Leeds ladies is really gonna hurt now!
Tingley were very tired from a hard game and couldn’t hold the phoenix at bay anymore. Bentz scored on the 65th and 68rd min to take the score line to 6-0 and be the first Leeds Ladies player to score a hat trick this season.
At the beginning of the season club chairman Gary Cooper promised the players that anyone scored a hat trick and he would buy them chocolates, flowers and a bottle of champagne out of his own pocket and was extremely happy to see the first hat trick of the season. Oh how that was gonna change.
Kez scored on the 75th min to take the score line to 7-0 and Gary Cooper was starting to worry it could be an expensive day having to reward two hat tricks. He was right to worry as Kez completed her hat trick and took the score line to 8-0 on the 88th min.
With a few minutes of the game remaining the fans chants turned from the players on the pitch to the club chairman with chants of “Coopers going bankrupt” and “Gary’s gonna cry, Gary’s gonna cry, One more from Bianca Ross and Gary’s gonna cry” whilst Gary was urging everyone NOT to pass to Binx . Unfortunately (for Gary) no body listened and Binx did indeed score on the 97th min to take the score line to 9-0, complete her hat trick and force a crying Gary Cooper to explain to two of his daughters that Christmas is cancelled this year.
It was great to see a comprehensive thumping score line for the Phoenix, a great battling attempt from Tingley which they should be proud of themselves for and just for a change a wonderful performance from the referee!
So the Phoenix soars into the next round of the county cup and turns her gaze back to the league with a trip to Morecombe on Sunday. As always the supporters club will be running a minibus to the game , find us on Facebook and twitter for more details as and when they are available. I urge all of you to come join us and enjoy watching as the #Phoenixrises
By Andrew Butterwick
Friday night football is not something I want to get used to but after the uninspiring England games during the international break the sweet taste of the return of "proper" football couldn't come soon enough for this fan. Even better yet another mouth watering Yorkshire derby in front of a sold out New York Stadium against Steve Evans' Rotherham team who have settled well in the Championship. Rotherham might only be a short hop, skip and a jump from LS11 but games against the Millers are infrequent to say the least and the most recent memories of clashes with our South Yorkshire neighbours are not happy ones. The last game ended in an embarrassing defeat for Leeds in the JPT at the soulless Don Valley stadium whilst those with longer memories will wince at the thought of the 1.0 reverse at the old decrepit Millmoor Ground back in 2004. So tonight was a perfect opportunity to regain a small bit of Yorkshire pride in front of the Sky TV cameras.........wasn't it?
Along with the usual Happy Chocker and Quiet One I had two Rotherham supporting friends on board as we headed down the M18 into darkest South Yorkshire. They were raving about their Icelandic ball playing centre back, Kari Arnason, who had just blunted Holland's Robben and Van Persie but how would he cope with his TV audition with Ant & Douk? From our point of view the big question concerned the much vaunted Adryan. Would he finally make his Leeds debut or will he be mistaken for the mascot? Stephen Warnock returns at left back after a mysterious period on the side line? Will Billy Sharp get more game time? Yes proper football was back and still as enthralling and intriguing as ever.
Not for the first time this season the team news generated a fair number of puzzled looks from the Leeds faithful. Warnock was back in his left back spot but Berardi had replaced Sam Byram at right back? Lewis Cook was preferred to Adryan in a midfield four with Austin, Mowatt and Bianchi. Was Adryan withdrawn from the starting line up at the last minute? The rumour mill was well and truly stoked as the game kicked off in front of a packed New York Stadium.
Leeds opened brightly with their neat passing game securing most of the possession in the first 15 minutes. Their patient approach might not be everybody's cup of tea but it certainly took the sting out of any potential Steve Evans inspired "up and at em" tactic. In fact Rotherham showed their cards very early on with direct balls into the box looking for the tall Revell at every opportunity. Leeds looked assured as chances started to appear in the Rotherham box. Austin finished off a lovely move with a deflected shot going for a corner before a weaving run from Mowatt so nearly created the opening goal but Antenucci's swivel shot was inches wide. Silvestri wasn't too troubled in front of the massed ranks of Leeds fans although first a high free kick and then a miscued shot from ex Leeds man Ryan Hall delighted the travelling army. Inevitably his horrible efforts earned him a chorus of "you're too shit to play for Leeds"
The only thing that interrupted Leeds' domination in the first 30 minutes was a long delay after Pearce received a knock on the head. The domination was rewarded just after the half hour as yet another sweet move saw Doukara slide a ball through to Antenucci in the box who coolly slotted the ball past the advancing Miller's keeper. All of the 2,200 away fans glanced at the linesman's flag before celebrating. 1.0 Leeds.
Rotherham were rocking as the Leeds midfield linked well to create further chances for Doukara, Austin and Antenucci whilst Silvestri pulled off good saves to deny a Revell header and a Frecklington drive. Leeds wasted an ideal chance to get a second just before half time as one too many passes ruined another slick move by the West Yorkshire side. Half time 1.0 Leeds. Cook, Bianchi, Austin and Mowatt all looked comfortable on the ball in a half Leeds dominated. The only voices of dissent amongst the Leeds faithful was the fact we hadn't scored more than the single goal.
Steve Evans, the Rotherham manager, is always very animated on the touchline and we all guessed that his half time talk wasn't going to be a calm, reflective assessment of the Millers first half performance. We all knew he would be seething at the way Leeds had kept possession and bossed the first 45 minutes and I think we all knew what his response was going to be.........."get in their f****** faces and stop them playing" Question was would Leeds have the guile and skill to cope with the inevitable onslaught? Within a minute of the restart we got the first indication that the answer might be in the negative.
Rotherham got two corners in the first two minutes of the half as they blasted into Leeds with Evans now conducting his team from the technical area like a demented Michelin man. The home crowd responded and suddenly the momentum was with the Millers. Paul Taylor hit a searing shot goalwards that saw Silvestri leaping to tip the ball round the post. The home fans were now baying for a goal as Leeds visibly wilted under the pressure. The confident assured play of the first half was replaced by hurried, panicky passing that delivered the ball straight back to a red shirt who inevitably launched the ball into the box towards Revell. Bellusci couldn't get anywhere near him in the air.
Leeds did get some relief as Mowatt broke promisingly but his shot was easily saved by the home keeper. The 2nd half red tidal wave continued though and when Frecklington fired in a vicious free kick on 57 minutes Silvestri could only punch the ball to the centre spot where Revell beat Bellusci to the ball to steer home the equaliser. New York exploded in celebration. 1.1 and game definitely on. Leeds didn't have time to draw breath. Evans had changed his teams tactics to nullify the visitors first half domination so what was Darko going to do in response? On 62 minutes the young Brazilian, Adryan, took to the field to huge applause. Had the Messiah finally landed? His first touch had the away fans drooling but things were about to get a whole lot worse for Leeds as Rotherham's sub Jonson Clarke-Harris fired in a blistering shot past Silvestri to send the home crowd into raptures and give Rotherham a 2.1 lead.
Leeds were sinking fast but Adryan sparked some hope as his quick feet bamboozled the home defence as he fired a shot just wide before hitting two other shots inches wide and then setting Antenucci up with an exquisite ball but the Italian's shot was just finger tipped wide by the home keeper. Sharp and Morison came on to try and rescue the game for Leeds as they rode their luck at the other end. A final corner deep into added time ended with a Morison header going tamely wide as the game finished 2.1 to the Millers.
Rotherham deserved their victory not because they played the better football but because they played to their strengths and were prepared to change their game plan to secure the three points. As for Leeds they were out muscled in the 2nd half after dominating the first 45 minutes. Adryan's late cameo was delicious and will create even more clamour for him to start a game. Some people are questioning how he can fit into the current system. Well on the evidence of tonight I would suggest he's the first name on the team sheet and build the system around him because if he is as good as he seems he won't be here for long.
In the end it was a classic game of two halves and two very different styles with Mr Evan's more direct and rumbustious approach winning the day. Leeds are still work in progress but there are some good signs amongst all the frustration and disappointment...............something we may need to hang onto with games against Norwich, Wolves and Cardiff up next. Leeds rollercoaster season continues. Roll on Norwich.
By Mike Courtney
So the International Break has come and gone and it's back to the bread and butter stuff of the League with an away trip to our Yorkshire rivals Rotherham just 30 miles over the road. Gone are the days when The International Break would leave us with a nervous wait to see if any of our returning stars were injured or tired after their excurions with their countries. What the break did do was give Darko time to get to know his squad and set to work on implementing his style on the players. Two draws out of three games was not a start to set the world on fire, especially after Redders great run of form, but the signs were there against The Wendies that Darko has inherited a squad that, whisper it, is capable of mounting a challenge.We appear more solid at the back, our midfield is passing the ball a bit better and we have strikers that can cause teams problems. The squad is strong and there is serious competition for most places, especially in midfield and up front. We could still do with a centre back or two because if anything happens to Bellusci or Pearce we could be in difficulty.
What can you say about Bellusci? He is fast becoming a cult hero with his no nonsense defending and his ability on the ball not to mention his eye for a goal. He has been a revelation over the past month or so after an innocuous start when he saw red against Watford. He along with Silvestri has been our best player of late and we will need them and Pearce to be at their best if we are to get anything from the trip tomorrow night.
Darko has some big decisions to make with his selection for the match. He has a 3 way choice at left back to consider with Bererdi, Cooper and Warnock all vying for the one spot. Berardi seems to be in pole position and could get the nod although the experience of Warnock should give the manager a headache or two before he makes his mind up. It is midfield though that the real battle for places is hotting up. Fans have been screaming from the rafters for Adryan to be unleashed and after a few good performances in the development squad he is in contention. The problem is who will he replace? Mowatt, Cook, Austin, Bianchi and Sloth have been the choices in midfield up to now and add Murphy and Dawson, who has also impressed in the reserves over the last fortnight and you have 8 vying for four places. Personally I would go with Bianchi, Cook, Mowatt and Austin, but it's great that the manager has loads of options and whatever 4 he goes with have the ability to get the job done.
Up front Doukara and Antenucci have been the prefered choice but with goals hard to come by under Darko, only 2 in three games, the manager might look to freshen things up a bit with both Sharp and Morison chomping at the bit to get some action. I can't see the gaffer changing things too much as both Doukara and Antenucci have been playing well but again it's great to have those options if things aren't going according to plan.
Rotherham have been doing well since their promotion and a win by more than 2 goals will see them leapfrog Leeds in the table. They have taken 4 points from thier last 2 games against Blackburn and Norwich and I'm sure Steve Evans will have them fired up for a crack at their illustrious Yorkshire neighbours in front of a full house and the Sky cameras. Thankfully our ex striker Luciano Becchio is out injured, as former Leeds players have a habit of coming back to haunt us and he would have been a shoe-in to score a late winner if he was fit to play. They still have a good hard working squad and our midfield quartet will have to be on their toes if we are to dominate possession and create chances for our strike force.
For Leeds 3 points will put us within touching distance of the playoff spots and it is these games that we have to start winning if we want to keep tabs on the top teams. This League as always is tight with just 6 points seperating the top 14 teams as it stands, so a run of a couple of wins can have you in a decent position, wheras a couple of defeats can see you become detached at the bottom and struggling to stay in the division.
It's going to be a long hard season, there is no one running away with things at present. Geting our first win under Milanic will take the pressure off him and I think we can achieve that tomorrow night with a hard fought 2-1 victory to see us move into the top ten before the other temas play over the weekend.
MOT Leeds Leeds Leeds
By Brendan Devereux
Leeds entertained Southampton Saints in the FA Premier League Plate this past Sunday in what turned out to be a controversial affair. I will confess to having no match notes for the first 10 minutes of the match as Carey “Kez” Huegett had challenged the supporters club to chase the linesman & it’s hard to concentrate on the match let alone take notes if you want a laugh at us go see the video on the Leeds Ladies youtube channel. Once the shenanigans had stopped it was clear Leeds were the side on top with Kez & Bianca Ross both having one on one efforts saved by the keeper. The first big moment for the officials came after 14 minutes when the referee had awarded Leeds a corner only to have the linesman signal for a handball inside the area. After much deliberation the referee awarded the spot kick & Kez stepped up & slotted the penalty home.
The goal seemed to light a fire under the Saints who through Leah Shave & Becki Bath seemed to be causing Leeds trouble & on the 15th minute it took a last ditch tackle from Lauren Griffiths to deny Saints an equaliser. Southampton continued to press & on the 19th minute Sheriden Palk split open the Leeds defence & Kerri Why latched on to slot the ball home & bring the Saints level. Leeds immediately hit back & Griffiths went on a run beating two defenders only to shoot straight at the grateful goalkeeper. After a great bit of build up play in the 28th minute the ball fell to Bianca Ross who deftly laid the ball off to Kez on the edge of the area & Kez fired home to restore the Phoenixes lead.
Leeds finished the first half the strongest & what seemed to be a personal battle all day between Ross & Saints keeper Haughton saw shot after shot saved with the Leeds faithful scratching their heads during the interval wondering how the score was only 2-1. While the fans were deliberating the scoreline the officials were also asking questions about the weight of the ball & asked for it to be inflated during the break. As the second half got underway news filtered through that Shelbey Morris had to be taken to a hospital with a suspected broken foot thankfully after a scan it turned out to be a ligament sprain & hopefully it wont be too long before she is back in action.
Leeds started off brightly again Haughton frustrated Ross on numerous occasions however the main talking point of the opening stages of the second half was both sets of players claiming the matchball was now too hard. Firstly skipper Emma Bentley was nearly knocked unconscious after taking a ball to the face then on 70 minutes Erin White went down after heading the ball. With both sets of players, management & fans all incensed with the state of the ball Olivia Smart took the opportunity of White receiving treatment to kick the ball out of the stadium into the neighbouring car park. When the ball was retrieved the psi (pounds per square inch) was tested. FIFA guidelines state the following...
The ball is:
• made of leather or other suitable material
• of a circumference of not more than 70 cm (28 ins) and not less than 68 cm (27 ins)
• not more than 450 g (16 oz) and not less than 410 g (14 oz) in weight at the start of the match
• of a pressure equal to 0.6 – 1.1 atmosphere (600 – 1,100 g/cm2) at sea level (8.5 lbs/sq in – 15.6 lbs/sq in)
So the maximum a ball must be is no more than 15.6 psi the ball we were using was in excess of 16 psi but that is fine according to the linesman because we weren’t playing at sea level. The resulting debate led to the Saints physio being sent off & Saints captain Krystal Whyte being shown the yellow card for kicking the ball out of the stadium which as I have already pointed out it was Leeds full back Olivia Smart. This debate lasted for well over 5 minutes & when play finally restarted it was clear all was not right with Emma Bentley who had to be taken off due to dizziness. Head over to The City Talking to hear her tell Dan Chapman about the incident at http://thecitytalking.com/content/2014/10/14/saints-strike-late-to-deny-leeds-ladies-in-fa-plate
With the incident taking up far too much time the Saints through everything they had at Leeds & with only moments left the ball fell to Becki Bath 35 yards out who unleashed a thunderbolt which agonisingly dipped under the crossbar & just out of fingertip reach of keeper Lauryn Colman forcing extra time. Five minutes into the first period of extra time saw Haughton pull off a wonderous one handed save to once again thwart Bianca Ross. Saints went straight down the other end & forced a corner as the ball came in Leeds failed to clear & Saints sub Emma Whitlock poked the ball home to make the score 3-2.
It was now Leeds throwing everything forward in the second half of extra time & Leeds thought they were level & from our view point it looked as though Ross had finally got the better of Haughton however the officials deemed the ball to have not crossed the line & the score remained 3-2. With Leeds going to a back three so Smart could join the attack Leeds were hit with a counter attack & Whitlock grabbed her second of the match to give the Saints an unassailable 4-2 lead.
So as the Saints go marching on in the Plate, Leeds attention now turns to Tingley Athletic Reserves in the county cup. It’s a shame the headlines of the game are dominated by the officials as this was a great contest between two very good teams both on & off the field as for the first time this season the Leeds fans actually had some competition in the stands. The Phoenix will continue to rise & I will depart with some advice for Tingley “Beware the wounded bear.”
By Russ Vernon
Rotherham have only picked up 12 points from 11 games so far this season where do you think the problem has been for the Millers?
I think the problem is the lack of strike force in that we have revell Bowery and Derbyshire. Erm we did have Becchio as u all know from his days at Leeds who was playing a pivotal part in our up turn in form.
With the players Rotherham have signed how do you think the Millers will fare this season?
I think the millers if we can get a settled strike force together instead of changing the team every game. I personally think we can finish mid table perhaps where we are now.
Which Rotherham United player do you think Leeds should look out for and why?
I’d say Greeny (Paul Green) as he has been exceptional for us when he has played for us.
What is your favourite fixture between Leeds and the Millers?
I’d say the favourite game between the Millers and Leeds is the one at Millmoor when the Millers won 1-0 with Macca (Martin McIntosh) getting the goal in front of the Railway End (Away Stand) as we were totally under the cosh in game Leeds hit the cross bar and post several times.
If the Millers could sign any of this season’s Leeds team who would it be?
Personally I don’t think I would sign anyone from Leeds that’s no disrespect to Leeds United.
Tell us a bit about yourself, how long have you supported Rotherham United?
I have supported the Millers since I was 10 years old had a season ticket in the Millmoor Lane end of Millmoor for 5 years when I was at School. Was gutted when we had to move to Don Valley for 4 years but I think it’s the best thing that happened for the club otherwise we wouldn’t be at New York now. The ground has brought the town back to the club and probably the reason we got back to back promotions
Whats your thoughts on Millers boss Steve Evans?
Steve Evans was a split choice between the fans as a lot didn’t want him due to his links to fraud but I always said judge him on results and he has done a fantastic job at the club. I think 17th is a great return given we got promoted last May .
If you had to choose the first goalscorer for the game who would it be?
First goal scorer would probably be for Rotherham and Bowery will score first
Prediction for the game?
It’ll be a tight game but it will be one goal that separates the teams I’d settle for a draw but I think we can win it
Anything Else you would like to add?
Great talking to you and may the best team win and no trouble before and after the game let the football do the talking
Thanks to Steph Jennings for taking some out to answer the questions ahead of the game.
By Brendan Devereux
On another fine sunny afternoon Leeds Ladies hosted Morecambe at Manse Lane. With The Phoenix playing their third game in 7 days & only 3 days after a very physical affair against Guiseley the first 30 minutes of this match proved a very scrappy affair with neither side being able to establish a foothold in the match. The first real chance of any note came from Emily Starkie with a Beckham-esque ambitious shot from the halfway line which was just tipped over by the keeper.
Ten minutes later & as Leeds pushed forward a Morecambe defender was deemed to have handled the ball just outside the area. With the Leeds support in full voice as always urging free kick specialist Carey “Kez” Huegett to shoot, she duly obliged pacing the ball into the bottom left corner giving The Phoenix a 1-0 lead. Just as Leeds looked to be heading into the break in front 7 minutes into injury time, a stray back pass was pounced upon by the Morecambe forward making the score one a piece with the last kick of the first half.
As both teams headed back out onto the field it was without Shelbey Morris who had picked up an injury & was replaced by Bianca Ross. Early in the second period Ross made her presence known with a shot saved by the keeper & a dazzling run which saw her one on one only to have the ball get away from her & safely pounced upon by the keeper.
On the hour mark the first of a couple of dubious decisions by the officials were called into question by chairman Gary Cooper who was incensed. Leeds seemed to be finally getting the game by the scruff of the neck & Kez saw the keeper make a fantastic double save in which Leeds were unfortunate not to take the lead. Two minutes later and goal machine Hannah Campbell broke through & saw her shot deflect behind for a corner. From the resulting corner the ball dropped kindly to Erin White who stabbed the ball home to restore The Phoenix lead.
Leeds were hit by injury once again as goal keeper Lauryn Colman punched a cross clear & hurt her wrist. With just 4 minutes remaining Morecambe were throwing everything forward & as Leeds cleared a cross it fell to a Morecambe player, who shot from 40 yards & saw the ball lob deputy keeper Lucy Whewall to make it 2-2. A draw would have been a fair result for a laboured Leeds outfit with nearly 110 minutes played Thursday & already an extra 7 minutes played in the first half it was starting to take its toll.
The decisive moment came from controversy as not only a blatant foul on Bianca Ross was missed but a hand ball of Maradona proportions went unpunished & while Leeds protested Morecambe pushed on snatched a last minute winner. This knocked the stuffing out of players, staff & fans alike & the clubhouse afterwards was a very subdued atmosphere.
Attention now turns to the cup competitions as Leeds host Southampton this Sunday at Ossett Town in an early kick off 12:30 followed by the Leeds Ladies development squad taking on the Guiseley Vixens development squad. So come along for a fantastic day of football & watch The Phoenix rise.