City 1 – 1 Leeds United
City recovered some dignity if not form with a 1-1 draw against Dennis Wise’s relegation doomed Leeds United side on Tuesday night.
Wise received his usual warm welcome from the City fans and was even polite enough to live up to his reputation by initiating a fracas in front of the bench at the end of the first half. On this evidence he will be collecting his P45 from Uncle Ken or else providing the likes of Doncaster and Port Vale with the pleasure of his company next season.
The first fifteen minutes was a fair reflection of the rest of the game as neither side settled into any kind of rhythm and the ball spent far more time in the air than on the ground. With no apparent urgency from the City players there was nothing to breed any confidence that a poor Leeds side would be dispatched with ease. The exception was the energetic Hume who ran his socks off up front without ever really threatening the United goal. He was brought down on 19 minutes but the absence of any organisation from the resulting free kick was typical of the opening spell.
Leeds offered little and looked to be a side bereft of confidence befitting their position in the bottom three. On 33 minutes they earned a corner which on another day could easily have been turned in, on this occasion being put across the goal with no-one able to get a touch. Richardson had a chance 5 minutes later with a free kick but put the ball straight into Paul Henderson’s arms.
The remainder of the first half provided little in the way of incident until Henderson came out of his area to clear a high ball being pursued by Jemal Johnson. The City keeper leapt well to win the ball with his head and, in the eyes of the referee at least, foul the onrushing Leeds man who failed to jump for the challenge. It was a gruesome and unfortunate injury but a questionable foul and certainly not a booking, something which Mr Laws seemed unable to comprehend as he awarded a free kick to Leeds on the edge of the box and showed Henderson the yellow card…
City were punished further when Robbie Blake took the resulting kick and then pounced on the rebound to lash his drive past Henderson to put Leeds 1-0 up. City’s heads could have dropped at this point being so close to half time but it was barely a minute later that they were back on level terms. Maybe the United players were still celebrating their goal, but Porter found space to cut inside Richardson on the left and play in Hume who put a looping header past the wrong footed Ankergren to equalise for City.
The latest effort to “improve” the atmosphere saw an uncomfortable looking lad with a bass drum dispatched to the kop end, no doubt to “drum up” some more singing from the crowd. He seemed to lose enthusiasm as the game went on, maybe he too is motivated by action on the pitch rather than being told he should be enjoying himself by the marketing department.
It is just my opinion but this kind of thing adds nothing to the atmosphere and just pushes the match day experience further down the road towards some kind of American Ice Hockey/Karaoke/Pantomime hybrid. Cut the PA system and let the bass drum-less crowd generate some pre match singing which would then be carried on through the game.
In this case the second half provided even less in the way of incident or indeed entertainment to sing about. As Leeds struggled to put any kind of passing or goal threat together City seemed drawn down to their level. Some woeful defending from the visitors should certainly have been punished. Porter had a few decent runs on the left but his delivery into the box was generally poor and the anonymous and immobile Horsfield had little to work with or offer himself and was eventually replaced by Hammond.
City’s debutant Shaun Newton performed OK on the right and worked hard but it was Hughes who had the chance to make an impression on the game in the second half. A couple of gilt edged shooting chances from distance could have put City into the lead but both shots were very poor. Jarrett had a quiet game in comparison with a couple of weeks ago and himself had a shot just over the bar on 70 minutes after some rare good play between Newton and Hammond.
The crowd were treated to the Elvis Hammond offside show for the last 20 minutes as he seemed intent on spending more of his time on the pitch in front of the Leeds defence than behind it. One rare occasion when he was on side however saw Porter denied the opportunity to take the ball through as the official was unable to distinguish between Hammond running one way and the diminutive left winger the other.
With more quality going forward it should have been a win for City and should be regarded as two points dropped. In itself this may be a measure of City’s improved league position in recent weeks but the level of performance seems to have dropped back to pre-Mandaric levels. Food for thought indeed for the newly installed City chairman as he assesses his options for the summer. The honeymoon is over, now it is time for a close look at the new family…
City: Henderson, Maybury, McAuley, Kisnorbo, Johansson, Newton, Jarrett, Hughes, Porter, Hume, Horsfield (Hammond 66). Subs Not Used: Logan, Yeates, Tiatto, Stearman.
Leeds: Ankergren, Richardson, Heath, Michalik, Armando Sa, Blake, Kishishev, Douglas, Carole (Thompson 59), Cresswell, Johnson (Healy 44), Thompson (Moore 72). Subs Not Used: Robbie Elliott, Kandol.
Attendance: 25,165 , Referee: G Laws (Tyne & Wear).
The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation