Leeds United AFC: Chapman…

When Sgt Wilko’s promotion chasing troops began to stutter over the Christmas period in 1989/1990, the manager took decisive action. A combination of 1 goal in 3 games & injuries saw him swoop for Lee Chapman. Chapman’s impact on the season was remarkable & after scoring on his debut away at Blackburn, the big striker boosted the promotion challenge by netting 11 more times. If that was impressive, his goal scoring feats in Division One over the next 3 seasons were nothing short of phenomenal. Chapman netted 21 league goals as the side finished 4th in 1990/1991, before spearheading the Whites to the 1991/1992 Division One title…

Even in the struggling side of 1992/1993, Chapman netted another 14 league goals, before the striker was allowed to leave the club. Such is the players legacy, many are in no doubt that only Strachan can be placed above the striker in the list of Sgt Wilko’s “best buys”. The player was brought back on loan to the club in 1996, however, there was to be no “Second coming”. Chapman was sent off just 30 minutes into his first game against West Ham & A 0-5 defeat at Liverpool were Chapman’s only contributions before he ended up at today’s opponents Swansea City.

Our last visit to Swansea was in 2007 & ended in 2-3 defeat, despite the home side down to 10 men. Beckford & Thompson netted for the Whites, whilst a certain Andy Robinson played a starring roll for the hosts…

If the Whites were to increase our Play Off hopes, then a similar result would need to be avoided. As it turned out, the Whites never turned up in one of the most disappointing away displays since early September. Grayson hinted after Barnsley that a new face was likely to be on board by the time we headed to Swansea. Despite much speculation & unlike the aforementioned Sgt Wilko, no such decisive action was forthcoming. Speculation instead reverted to who would fill the gap left by Bradley, but nobody seriously considered Grayson would risk a 4/4/2 system given the midfield options available. It was either going to be a master stroke, or footballing suicide & within 5 minutes, we pretty much knew the answer…

The home side settled quickly & should have taken the lead early on. Dyer turned McCartney inside out & his cut back found Dobbie, who hit the post. Sinclair then shot narrowly wide & with barely 10 minutes on the clock, the fleet footed hosts were already passing us off the park. In contrast, we were wasteful in possession & at times were left chasing shadows. It’s unlikely that the (Liberty) stadium had been more ironically named as we simply could not escape from our own half. It was no surprise when the hosts took the lead as an incisive move started at the back & ended with Sinclair exchanging passes with Moore, before firing past Kasper for 0-1.The Whites were all at sea & Bruce had to make a decisive block from Dyer…

We needed a foothold in the game, but it was hard to see where it was going to come from. McCartney was having a torrid afternoon & his constant backing off gave the Swansea wingers time & space. Dobbie  also got past him before flashing a cross along the 6 yard box. With the game going against us, we started to lose discipline. Both Lichaj & Snoddy booked by Dowd in quick succession, giving the man in the middle the attention he so clearly craved. On 20 minutes good footwork from Snoddy got the Scot into a great position, but his final ball let him down. It had been the closest we had got to goal, but within seconds play switched up field & Kasper had to deny Dyer…

With only Gradel really showing anything resembling the standard we have come to expect, the only up side was the fact it was still 0-1. We did get some respite as all hell broke loose after what looked a great tackle from Bruce in the centre of the park. Dowd booked Bruce & told Grayson off for complaining, but it led to the best Whites move of the half so far. Bruce to McCartney to Kasper, who duly booted upfield. 3 magical passes without a Swansea player touching the ball, but it summed up our plight. After Snoddy was crowded out on the edge of the area, the hosts came straight back at us. Bruce headed a corner over his own bar, before O’Brien stepped in to clear from Sinclair…

Battered would sum up the first 40 minutes, but as bad as we had been, we were denied a clear penalty & the chance to get back on terms. This time, we really did put our own incisive move together which ended with Somma feeding Snoddy on the right of the box & the wing wizard let fly. The ball was clearly handled inside the box by Tate, but a corner was the only decision & Kilkenny was duly booked for berating the assistant who missed it. Bruce headed over from the corner, but suddenly there was fight, suddenly we awoke & amazingly, we almost scored. Kilkenny’s freekick found Sommas head, but his free header smashed the bar & away. Bizarrely, halftime came too soon, but at only 0-1, where there was life, there was hope…

However, that hope was quickly extinguished in the opening stages of the second half Kasper saved under his own cross bar & the spark of fight was evaporating. On 54  minutes, it all but died as Gradel brought Dyer down in the box for a clear penalty. Sinclair sent Kasper the wrong way for 0-2 & moments later, Kasper came out to deny Sinclair a hatrick. On the hour, we had a real chance to get back into it against the run of play. Somma latched onto Kilkenny’s through ball, but saw his effort tipped over the bar. Grayson tried to change things, throwing on Watt for Becchio, but the let off only prompted the home side to raid forward in waves. Kasper had tipped a Gower freekick onto the post, before Sinclair fired one wide…

It wasn’t a shock when the 3rd goal came. Dyer & Dobbie took the pi55 before Moore was played through the heart of our static defence. The strikers sublime finish past Kasper killed the game dead. Parker ended McCartney’s traumatic day & Paynter came on for Snoddy, but it was all too little too late. The hosts continued to stroke the ball around with embarrassing ease & could have had more. With 10 minutes to go, the bemused & shell shocked White Army responded in the only way we could. A defiant “We all love Leeds” rang out from the faithful as the home team used us for pass & move practice. The final whistle came not a second too soon, bringing an end to what had already been a long & disappointing day…

So, whilst the penalty decision could have proved a turning point, take nothing away from Swansea, who were unplayable at times. Talk of 2nd spot before Norwich has now pretty much become a pipe dream & seems clear that we are now pretty much in a race for a Play Off  spot only. Given the run in we have, it will be no mean feat if that is to occur. We move on to the home game against Doncaster pondering what could have been, especially if Grayson had been as decisive in our transfer dealings as Sgt Wilko…

Leeds United AFC… “We’ve got to pick ourselves up & start again“… Keep Fighting…

Youtube clips with thanks to LUFCStephen94, TonyH55555 & Jontsta86

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Posted February 27, 2011 by keepfighting in leeds united, Uncategorized

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