Whilst Jermain Beckford's last minute penalty was a disappointment to
Spurs fans, as Leeds secured a late, late 2-2 draw, it was refreshing to
see a side come to White Hart Lane and have belief in their own ability
to get something from the game and not stick ten men behind the ball and
pray for a clean sheet.
extent, you would have been able to identify Leeds as the team of old
with several incidents a throw back to their "dirty Leeds" days, but
they showed some good passing and had the better of the second half of
the first period with Spurs suffering from déjà vu in the opening twenty
minutes, as Casper Ankergren saved everything that was thrown at him.
It was during that opening salvo that it
looked like being Hull City all over again, as Tottenham's attacking
opened up Leeds on a number of occasions. It came after an earl
misunderstanding between Bassong and Gomes, as they left a through ball
for each other and Jermaine Beckford almost got in, but Gomes managed to
block the effort near the edge of his box with his legs. Firstly,
Defoe tested Ankergren with a towering lob from 35 yards out, as Bromby
hesitated in dealing with a headed through ball from Michael Dawson.
As the ball came down with ice on it, the Dane managed to get his
footwork right to tip the ball over, as it looked like it might sneak in
below the bar in the sixth minute. From the corner, Kranjcar hit a
drive that the keeper had to dive full length to push aside.
An eighth minute long throw to Crouch was
knocked down in front of him to Danny Rose, who controlled the ball
before finding a boot in his groin from Doyle, producing a pointing to
the spot by referee Wiley. Amazingly, Wiley did not book the Leeds
midfielder for a challenge so high that it was almost down the player's
throat. Anyway, he probably thought that giving a penalty was
punishment enough, but I am not sure who for. Rarely do you know
the outcome of a situation before it takes place, but Defoe's record
from the spot is becoming worse with each successive effort. This
time he chose to place his shot to Ankergren's left and the keeper got
down on the dive to push the ball wide as he stretched to meet the
weakly hit shot.
Sebastien Bassong tried to get in on the
act in the tenth minute, as he hit the target with a volley, but it
lacked any great power and the keeper caught it simply enough.
Defoe ran through onto Crouch's flick to out-pace his marker, but
Kisnorbo slid in to throw a block on the shot and the ball went out for
a corner and then a 25 yard Bale free-kick got up and over the wall, but
lacked sufficient power to trouble the keeper unduly. He simply
pushed the ball wide and allowed his defence to clear it away. On
20 minutes, a free-kick for a foul on Crouch saw Kranjcar drive in a low
shot and through a packed goalmouth, Ankergren spilled the shot to
Jermain Defoe, who shot instantly, but Kisnorbo got in the way to lock
Halfway through the first half, Modric
slipped Defoe through the middle and as the striker ran away form the
defender Crowe, he was brought down by a sliding challenge from behind
that seemed to take the player before there was a touch on the ball.
It was a challenge that would later on be penalise din the middle of the
pitch and be worthy of a booking, but here, it was simply ignored.
Indeed, a couple of minutes later a foul on Defoe brought a free kick 20
yards out on the corner of the penalty area and Bale beat the wall once
more, but the goalie fisted the ball away to safety.
After this pressure, Leeds settled enough
to start putting together some passes and one saw a chance carved out
for Snodgrass to curl a shot at goal, but it was a good height for Gomes
to dive and palm away from the danger area. Just before the half
hour, Dawson misjudged a through ball and Beckford was away, but hit his
shot across Gomes and it ended up going about two yards wide.
Gomes was forced to save Beckford's next effort as there was a
controlled volley that dipped just before the Spurs keeper, but he
gathered the ball safely.
It was a bit against the run of play when
Tottenham broke up the other end and Gareth bal got right to the
touchline on the left wing and oulled the ball back low to Kranjcar on
the edge of the area and his low shot caused Ankergren difficulty and he
saved with his legs. However, he could not control where it went
and Peter Crouch was waiting to stick the ball in with his twiggy legs.
Relief spread across the home crowd and for all the Leeds fans' singing,
they were behind to a piece of top class clinical finishing.
There was one last Spurs chance before
the interval, with Defoe leaving a through pass to let Jermaine Jenas to
run into the are and side-step one defender before shooing over the bar
from as short a distance as seven yards out, with a defender physically
throwing himself on the ground in front of the Spurs man.
Interestingly, the 1991 version of JJ
appeared to talk about his FA Cup Winners medal and David Howells spoke
for his part of the interview about his time at Wembley for the Final
against Forest and his time at Tottenham. Alan Mullery had
preceded this and he also told fans what the 1967 FA Cup Final was like.
At the start of the second half, Defoe
had a long chat with the referee and there were a few fingers being
pointed. But Leeds got back into the game in the 67th minute, with
a corner not being adequately cleared with the ball bouncing around the
six yard box, Beckford slammed it into the net from close range.
To stiffen up the midfield, Wilson
Palacios was brought on for Rose, who had not had enough possession to
show his effectiveness, with Modric moving out to the left. The
game was starting to get spread and Bassong hit Ankergren with a header
form a corner and then at the other end, Snodgrass was just preparing to
shoot when through on the edge of the box, when Palacios slid in to put
him off and see his shot end up halfway to the sideline. On 70
minutes, Harry Redknapp made a double substitution to try and change the
way the game was going, with Pavlyuchenko and Keane coming on for
Kranjcar and Crouch. The move worked with Bale playing Palacios
away on the left and his low pass into Defoe was dummied by Roman and
then JD fed it through to the Russian striker who shot into the ground
but wide of the goalie to give Spurs the lead with 75 minutes gone.
It was a well crafted goal and one which
meant Spurs had to negotiate the last fifteen minutes without letting
another goal in. Well, they tried to add to their lead, but, in
doing so, probably handed Leeds the chance to get something out of the
match. The linesman's flag denied Keane a rare headed goal, when
he nodded home Bale's cross and then Jenas picked up the ball well
inside the Tottenham half and went on a long run that ended with a 20
yard shot that spun off Kisnorbo and went wide.
A low ball in by Bale from the left came
off Bromby's heel and had to be hacked away by Hughes as he stood on the
line and with time ticking down, Hutton laid a short corner into Keane,
who shot straight at Ankergren with no great power. Still
Tottenham poured forward and with Bale marauding up the left, he cut
inside and instead of finding Pavlyuchenko outside him on the left, the
Welshman tried a shot with his weaker right foot an it was blocked.
When the last minute could have been run down in the Leeds half, the
ball was switched to the Spurs end and substitute White ran at the
Tottenham defence and the ball fell to Beckford, who set up Howson who
was denied by a crashing tackle from Dawson.
Fro the throw, the ball came to Beckford
wide of the goal on the left, but just inside the penalty area, drawing
a tackle form Michael Dawson that looked to take the ball first, but the
striker then fell and Wiley pointed to the spot. it was
surprising, as there had been many challenges like this in the game and
few were awarded. Crouch probably has two hand marks on his back
from his opponents regularly putting them into him when the ball was
Whether it was a penalty or not, it was
not any more of a foul than Crowe's on Defoe in the first half and it
was fairly obvious that Beckford would not repeat what Defoe had done
and he sent the ball rising into the roof of the net with Gomes going
the right way, but not high enough.
The match restarted, but the final
whistle went immediately, leaving Leeds to celebrate like they had won
the cup and Spurs facing another midweek game sandwiched between the
games with Birmingham City and Aston Villa. Not the ideal
situation if the team are on a serious challenge for the fourth place.