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Match v Portsmouth (Carling Cup)
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                            PORTSMOUTH..............2 LEEDS UNITED...........1
                                     Portsmouth badge                          Leeds United badge


United boss Kevin Blackwell was forced into a number of changes for the visit to Fratton Park. Suspensions for skipper Paul Butler and Matthew Kilgallon forced him to reshuffle his squad and in at centre half came Simon Walton, whilst Danny Pugh reverted to left-back.

Matthew Spring made a rare start in midfield after finding himself on the bench for recent games.  Simon Johnson, recalled from his loan spell at Sunderland played on the left of midfield.

Upfront Blackwell went for Deane alongside Julian Joachim, who missed the Brighton trip to be at the birth of his fifth child.

Portsmouth started with a forward pairing of Ricardo Fuller and Diomansy Kamara,  leaving Yakubu and Lua Lua on the bench.

The Match

The signs were ominous for Leeds from the start as Ricardo Fuller showed the danger he possesses after just a minute as he volleyed a shot over the top of Neil Sullivan's goal following some neat control.

Eyal Berkovic too looked dangerous, he showed his trickery with a run and chip into the penalty area, the danger from which was eventually snuffed out by Walton.

The game was 14 minutes old when Portsmouth took the lead, United conceding a very soft goal.

A sloppy pass from Gregan put Carlisle's in trouble and the defender lost possession to Cisse, who in turn set Kamara on his way and the striker burst into the area and rounded Sullivan before firing in a low shot that Walton just failed to intercept.   Kamara was booked for celebrating with his shirt off, as the rules say he must be.

The first half was not all one sided though, Leeds saw plenty of the ball and created one or two early chances for themselves, but nothing that was to come close to a goal.

Frazer Richardson put in a teasing ball into the middle of the area that had the Pompey defence arguing between themselves who was to clear the ball and Joachim was nearly on it before the responsibility to turn it out of harm's way was taken by Linvoy Primus.

It was down the right flank that United were seeing some progress, with Richardson and Kelly both managing to break forward well.  Kelly's cross on 20 minutes was headed down by Deane but blocked on its way to goal by Andy Griffin.

Leeds though were 2-0 down on 30 minutes when Gary Kelly conceded a penalty to end a good spell of pressure.

It was French midfielder Valery Mezague who won it when he duped Kelly into making the challenge just as the Pompey man was running away from goal.  He took no persuasion to go down and Steve Bennett pointed to the spot.  Berkovic sent Sullivan the wrong way from the spot.

Had Fuller's aim been better he could have finished the game as a contest but twice shot wide from a good position.

Gary Kelly, captain for the night in place of the suspended Paul Butler, continued to make plenty of runs down the right flank and from one of them Leeds got a deserved goal back on 39 minutes.

Kelly swung in the cross from a position level with the edge of the penalty area and Brian Deane met it with an accurate header into the bottom corner of the net.  

Suddenly it was game on again with United having given themselves a way back into the tie thanks to Brian Deane's first goal since his return to the club.

No changes for either side at half-time, Leeds started the second half with gusto and were unlucky not to have had a penalty themselves when De Zeeuw went in hard on Brian Deane inside the area. 

Pompey were looking for another penalty themselves when Fuller went down in the penalty area, but the striker had not even been touched.

Leeds were nearly gifted a goal when backpass to the keeper was charged down by Joachim and Pompey keeper Jamie Ashdown hammered it against him and Portsmouth were fortunate that the rebound fell just between Brian Deane and two home defenders who muscled him out of the shot.

Ten minutes into the game Portsmouth were forced into their first change of the night when Berkovic limped off and was replaced by Yakubu, the man who completed United's humiliation with the final goal in last season's 6-1 defeat.

Leeds did get the ball in the net again a minute later but Deane was ruled offside after finishing off a great pass from Gregan, unfortunately he did not time his run to perfection.

Portsmouth's second change came on 68 minutes with Berger, another scorer in last season's drubbing, coming on on for Kamara.

Kevin Blackwell made his first change with 18 minutes left to play, taking Julian Joachim off and giving Aaron Lennon some time to make his impact on the game.

The game was end to end for the next five minutes as the crowd were treated to some entertaining, attacking football from both sides.

First Fuller could have killed the game when he was put clear on goal but put his left-footed shot wide, then turning defence into attack,  Johnson cut the ball back across the face of goal from the byline where De Zeeuw cleared in the nick of time with Deane and Lennon there for the tap in.

The missed chance saw the ball recycled and Portsmouth broke again and only a great save from Sullivan prevented Berger from making it 3-1. 

Clarke Carlisle picked up the game's first booking after a late challenge and barely a minute later Mezague joined him in the book for a high challenge on Matthew Spring.

United then threw on two more strikers with Ricketts coming on for Gregan and Keogh making his first team debut in place of Simon Johnson.   It was clear that Blackwell had instructed his side to go for broke.

Leeds rallied late on to try and force an equaliser and a number of chances did fall for them.

First an unconvincing clearance from De Zeeuw fell to Brian Deane on the right hand side of the area but his ball back into the area was rushed and straight against a sea of legs.

Leeds won corner in the last few seconds of the game and Neil Sullivan came forward to get on the end of the cross but the delivery from Spring was poor and the last chance of the game went begging.

Leeds may have waved goodbye to the Carling Cup for another season but at least they had given a good account of themselves.



Starting XI

30Ashdown, Jamie

16Griffin, Andy

2Primus, Linvoy

6De Zeeuw, Arjan

14Taylor, Matthew

10Berkovic, Eyal

18Cisse, Aliou

22Hughes, Richard

34Mezague, Valery

19Fuller, Ricardo

21Kamara, Diomansy


1Hislop, Shaka

3Stefanovic, Dejan

15Faye, Amdy

20Aiyegbeni, Yakubu

23Berger, Patrik

Leeds United

Starting XI

1Sullivan, Neil

2Kelly, Gary

4Carlisle, Clarke

18Walton, Simon

12Pugh, Danny

8Gregan, Sean

15Richardson, Frazer

17Spring, Matthew

39Johnson, Simon

11Joachim, Julian

30Deane, Brian


13Carson, Scott

10Ricketts, Michael

25Lennon, Aaron

38Keogh, Andrew

40Winter, Jamie

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