Post Match Comments
Match ReportSaturday 21st April 2001
FA PREMIER LEAGUE
Referee: Graham Poll WEST HAM0 LEEDS UTD2Keane 8, Ferdinand 47HISLOPDAILLYMONCURSTIMACI. PEARCEWINTERBURNCOLECARRICKLAMPARDDI CANIOKANOUTESubs: BYWATERFOXE 37 DIAWARA 60 SOMATODOROV 10 MARTYN MILLSMATTEOFERDINANDHARTEBOWYERDACOURTBAKKEKEWELLBATTYKEANESubs: ROBINSONKELLY 87 WILCOX 80 BURNSMAYBURYRio Ferdinand received a hero's reception on his return to Upton Park and repaid another slice of his British record £18million transfer fee by scoring Leeds United's second goal in a 2-0 victory.
Leeds made light of their tough Champions' League quarter-final sortie in Spain three days earlier to take an eighth minute lead when Robbie Keane finished a chance created by Harry Kewell and Ian Harte.
When Ferdinand, sold last November, sent a looping header over the static Shaka Hislop and into the far corner of the net two minutes into the second half, the frustrated fans in the Bobby Moore Stand momentarily burst into a chant of "Where's the money gone?"
But it was the Leeds fans who were scratching their heads in dismay a minute later, when card-happy referee Graham Poll brandished a straight red at David Batty after a reckless challenge on Joe Cole by the touchline - not for the first time in a sometimes niggly match that produced seven bookings.
Leeds manager David O'Leary described the sending-off as "a disgrace", claiming that "Batty didn't even make contact with Cole", while Harry Redknapp admitted that he hadn't seen the incident.
Leeds were forced on to the back foot for long periods of the second half and England keeper Nigel Martyn had to be at his best. Michael Carrick - probably West Ham's best player - forced Martyn's first save of the match with a rasping left-foot drive in the 64th minute, and the keeper did even better to somehow keep out substitute Kaba Diawara's downward header soon after.
Diawara, replacing Christian Dailly - who had a torrid time at right back before going off on the hour - enjoyed his best spell in a West Ham shirt. Apart from that goalbound header, he was also unlucky to see a spectacular overhead kick well-saved by the irrepressible Martyn, who also made an agile save from Igor Stimac's header.
With Frank Lampard also twice going close with long-range efforts, Leeds were restricted to just one good scoring chance in a one-sided second half. Lee Bowyer looked certain to score when he burst through from midfield to meet Olivier Dacourt's through-ball, but as the ball was rolling into the net, Hayden Foxe managed to hack the ball clear.
Foxe came on for John Moncur in the 37th minute, who was injured then booked in the space of a few seconds, but the first of Harry Redknapp's three substitutions was enforced as early as the 10th minute, when Fredi Kanoute limped off with a recurrence of the hip injury he suffered at Newcastle and Svetoslav Todorov again came on.
The Bulgarian showed some neat touches on the ball without yet looking like scoring his first Premiership goal for the club.
Harry, who put on a brave face following the death of his mother Violet on Thursday, admitted: "When Fredi went off, I knew it was going to be a massive uphill struggle. Leeds are a better side than us and deserved to win, but Fredi murdered them up at Elland Road earlier in the season and David O'Leary was relieved to see him go off so early in the game.
"Without Fredi, we have no pace, no strength and there is no focal point to the team. Todorov did well enough when he came on but he only cost £500,000..."
Away losses for Everton, Derby County and, more importantly, Coventry City - who lost 2-0 at Ipswich - leaves Hammers six points clear of the relegation zone and holding 14th place, although Harry insists his side still need one more point from the three remaining games before they can afford to breathe easily.
"I just want to get to the end of the season with enough points, bring two or three new players in during the summer and start again. Some of our younger lads have run out of steam recently after playing nearly every game this season, when you wouldn't have thought they would be regulars yet." <
While Hammers fans looked back on another disappointing home defeat - our seventh of the season in the Premiership - Rio remains a central figure in a Leeds side that has now gone 12 league matches unbeaten and heading towards renewed Champions' League qualification.
The 22-year-old defender didn't put a foot wrong - although it can be argued that he wasn't fully tested once Kanoute went off - and he received a deserved ovation from the Upton Park faithful. He even refused to celebrate his goal, simply jogging back into his own half, and Harry said: "I don't think he knew too much about the goal. Igor Stimac seemed to head the ball against Rio's head and it's dropped in the net.
"We know what a great defender Rio is - he hasn't just improved since he joined Leeds. But he knows about Fredi, he respects what he can do, and he would have had a much harder match today if Fredi hadn't gone off so early."
3 - Dailly slips a pass into Di Canio, who in turn finds Cole in the box. The youngster is dispossessed however, before conceding a foul.
8 - GOAL. Kewell's deep cross from the left finds Harte unmarked at the far post and the Irish defender heads down for Keane to smash the ball into the roof of the net. West Ham 0 Leeds United 1.
10 - Substitution for West Ham.Todorov replaces Kanoute.
13 - Di Canio wriggles free on the right and clips in a cross that Cole heads goalwards. Ferdinand is in the right place at the right time though for Leeds to block the effort.
19 - Bakke skips past the lunging challenge of Dailly on the left and lays a pass to Kewell, who blasts his shot high over the bar.
24 - After fouling Di Canio wide on the left, Mills is then BOOKED for strangely trying to drag the ball out of the Italian's hands with his feet, despite having clearly heard the referee's whistle. Di Canio's resulting free-kick is cleared easily by Ferdinand.
27 - Di Canio's well-worked corner sets up Lampard on the edge of the area, but the England midfielder's shot is screwed high and wide.
30 - After Dailly's foul on Kewell, Harte's dipping free-kick from 25 yards out flies just past Hislop's left-hand post.
31 - Keane's chip over the top releases Kewell, who controls before back-heeling the ball into the path of Bowyer. The midfielder is just about to shoot when Carrick's perfectly-timed tackle denies him and forces a corner.
32 - From that corner, Hislop is forced to tip the ball on to the bar only to see it rebound back out to Ferdinand, whose header hits the post and is then returned goalwards by Kewell to Keane, who is offside.
36 - Just seconds after returning to the field of play after sustaining a knee injury, Moncur is BOOKED for a foul on Dacourt.
37 - Substitute for West Ham. Foxe replaces Moncur.
41 - Kewell again races down the left and into the area, before squaring the ball to Keane, who shoots over.
44 - Keane latches on to Kewell's flick and outpaces Pearce before Hislop saves his low shot well with his feet.
Added time: 2 minutes.
45 - A flowing move down the right involving Di Canio, Cole and Dailly at last gives the Hammers fans the kind of football they want to see, although Dailly's cut-back from the byline is sadly scuffed wide by Cole.
Half-time: West Ham 0 Leeds United 1.
47 - GOAL. After Foxe fouls Dacourt, Harte's deep free-kick from the right is met by Ferdinand, whose header loops over the stranded Hislop and into the net. Showing great respect to his former supporters though, the classy defender jogs back to his half without celebrating. West Ham 0 Leeds United 2.
49 - As Cole wins possession near the right-hand touchline in Leeds' half, Batty steams in and challenges the youngster, elbowing him in the head in the process. The former England midfielder is SENT OFF by referee Poll, while Cole is BOOKED for pushing Batty after the incident occured.
53 - After Di Canio's free-kick is cleared, the Italian gains possession again and clips in a pass to Cole, whose shot on the turn is comfortably dealt with by Martyn.
54 - Dailly's slips lets in Kewell, but the Australian fires his effort well wide.
57 - Foxe BOOKED for foul on Dacourt.
58 - Dacourt BOOKED for foul on Cole.
60 - Substitution for West Ham. Diawara replaces Dailly.
63 - Stimac BOOKED for foul on Dacourt.
65 - Diawara controls Lampard's chipped pass well and slides a pass into Todorov, who then finds Carrick on the edge of the area. The Geordie midfielder unleashes a fierce left-foot drive that Martyn tips over the bar.
68 - Lampard flicks a pass high into the area to Diawara, whose acrobatic overhead kick is pushed round the post by Martyn.
71 - Di Canio's corner is headed goalwards by Stimac but Martyn makes another fine save. The ball is cleared by Mills but headed back by Carrick to Lampard, whose volley goes through the legs of Todorov and drifts just wide of the post,
73 - Winterbun BOOKED for foul on Keane.
75 - Carrick's left-foot cross is met by Diawara, whose header appears to be travelling towards the bottom corner of the net until Martyn miraculously gets down to palm the ball away right on the line. From the resulting corner, the ball is cleared to Lampard, who volleys just over from the edge of the area.
76 - Dacourt clips a ball over the defence to send Bowyer clean through on goal. Under pressure from Winterburn, the Leeds man's weak shot is blocked by Hislop, but trickles towards the goal-line and appears to be heading in until Foxe arrives to make a last-gasp clearance. Carrick immediately sets on the attack and feeds Di Canio, whose cross is met by Todorov, who sees his header caught by Martyn.
80 - Substitution for Leeds, Wilcox replaces Kewell.
87 - Substitution for Leeds, Kelly replaces Keane.
89 - Carrick's pass is flicked on by Todorov into the path of Lampard, who is denied by a well-timed tackle, but the ball falls to Diawara, who fails to trouble the Leeds defence.
Added time: 2 minutes.
Full time: West Ham 0 Leeds United 2.