Leeds United AFC: Shutt…

The 1988/1989 season was a period of transition at Elland Road. Having taken charge in October, Sgt Wilko was imposing his brand of football on the club & slowly putting plans in place for a crack at promotion a season later. In March, he dipped into the transfer market to secure the services of both Chris Fairclough & Gordon Strachan. Around the same time, Wilko raided Bristol City for Carl Shutt & this weekend marks the 23rd anniversary of the striker’s debut. AFC Bournemouth were the April Fools day visitors in 1989 & Shutt more than made his mark by notching a sensational hatrick. In doing so, Shutt joined a very exclusive club, becoming only the 3rd Leeds United AFC player in history to manage a debut day treble…

In 1920, Eugene O’Doherty’s debut day hatrick against Boothtown in the FA Cup, meant he was not only the first player to score 3 on his debut, but also the first ever Leeds United AFC player to score a hatrick in any game! It took 42 years before the debut day hatrick feat was repeated, this time, Don Weston netted 3 against Stoke City in 1962. Shutt’s amazing start to his Leeds career was followed up with a goal against Palace in the very next game, but sadly, he was not to become the prolific marksman his early performances had promised. Shutt won many hearts with his tireless workrate & commitment to the White cause, but he would only go on to grab a handful of goals, including one away at today’s visitors Nottingham Forest in 1991…

However, Shutt will be forever remembered for his winner against Stuttgart in the infamous European Cup game in 1992 which was replayed at the Nou Camp:

Over the last 23 years, a handful of players have come close to joining the 3 players, but only scoring debut day doubles. Of course, Michael Bridges did hit a hatrick at Southampton, but that was his 2nd appearance. Given the turn over of players at the club nowadays, the law of averages suggests that it might not be too much longer before we add a 4th name to the list. Grayson opted against giving Livermore a full debut, as the manager surprisingly stuck with the side that lost to the Blades. It was a decision that surprised many & one that needed a helping hand to be vindicated…

The Whites were forced to shoot towards the Revie end in the 1st half, which is always a bad omen & in a nervously subdue atmosphere, there was little to get excited about in the opening exchanges. Both sides spurned early free kick chances as Gradel fired over, before the visitors attempt hit the wall. That prompted a swift counter attack from the Whites, but Gradel set the tone of most of his day by finding Camp’s arms with the cross. After Bannan struck a shot from long range shortly after, we slipped into our shell. Forest were allowed to grow into the game & had 2 chances to take the lead. Majewski’s shot was goalbound before Johnson deflected out for a corner…

That was quickly followed up by Tudgay failing to convert Lynch’s ball after sliding in at the far post. Only Snoddy’s jinxing run & weak shot came in reply, as frustration began to surface on the terraces. Forest again hit back & Majewski was at the heart of it. After a great run into the box, his pull back found Tudgay unmarked & with Kasper in no man’s land it seemed a certain goal. However the strikers tame shot was cleared off the line & the miss proved the turning point of the game as all hell broke loose just seconds later. From the clearance, Cohan steamrollered into a needless challenge with McCartney. In real time it looked a terrible challenge, with the defender flying into the air…

It left Elland Road furious & after consulting with his Assistant, Mark Halsey showed Cohan a Red card. However text messages immediately after suggested it was harsh when seen on the TV replays. It was to be a game changing decision, but despite the man advantage, the incident failed to spark the Whites into any meaningful action & it was once again thanks to Kasper that we entered halftime level. The discussions during the break centred on our woeful record of playing 10 men, but the worries soon became academic. 6 minutes into the half, the Whites scored a goal out of nothing. A throw in on the right found Snoddy & his ball over the top set Lichaj free, behind the Forest defence…

The defender raced away before cutting the ball back to the onrushing Howson & the skipper took the ball down with his left, before swiftly firing past Camp with his right, to send the faithful mental. As the old saying goes, goals change games & it led to the Whites finally moving up the gears. Nervous first half hoofball was replaced by a period of pass & move as we looked to add to the lead. We didn’t have to wait long as, after saving well from Johnson, Camp was caught in no mans land for the resultant corner. Bromby’s header came back off the post, before Becchio nodded in the rebound for the 2nd. Becchio’s goal celebration once again raised a few eyebrows, but it was just reward for the strikers battling efforts…

With the confidence flooding back into the Whites, Snoddy curled a stunner onto the bar, before Gradel lashed a great chance well wide. It had summed up the wingers afternoon up to press, but as suggestions were being made that Max should be withdrawn, disaster struck. McCleary was given space on the right to curl a stunner past Kasper for 2-1. Once again our left back Bannan had been left so exposed. Oh, hang on, isn’t McCartney our left back? Forest cranked up the pressure & only a stunning stop from Kasper kept the lead intact as the defensive Achilles Heel threatened to strike again. That was until the frustrating Gradel finally found a flash of brilliance…

After a spot of head tennis on the edge of the visitors area, Johnson cushioned a superb header to Gradel & in one flowing movement, he turned & volleyed a superb strike past Camp for 3-1. It was all but game over & Grayson celebrated by swiftly handing Livermore his debut in place of Bannan. Forest’s last chance saw Tyson shoot just wide, but as it was, we could finally relax with just 3 minutes left. Bromby found Livermore in the area & the midfielders shot was parried by Camp. The keeper then reacted brilliantly to Becchio’s follow up, before Gradel nipped in to fire in the 4th for “Job Done”. It capped off a much better 45 minutes for the Whites & the win keeps the Play Off hopes in our own hands…

That said, the win should not lull anyone into a false sense of security, as at 11 v 11, Forest should really have pressed home their advantage. The Whites seldom profit from a game changing decision such as today & we need to build on this result if we are to get anything from our next 2 games, especially in the bear pit of the New Den. So, the rollercoster is now in full flight & we have 7 games left to hold on tight. Next up we head to Millwall in what will be an emotional trip, as this week we mark the 11th anniversary of the loss of Chris & Kevin. No doubt the home support will be quick to remind us of it in their usual c**tish fashion, but lets hope it inspires the Whites to take 3 points in their honour…

Leeds United AFC… “Christopher Loftus & Kevin Speight – Never Forgotten”… Keep Fighting…

Youtube clip with thanks to STEAKANDSID

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Posted April 3, 2011 by keepfighting in leeds united, Uncategorized

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