One flash of genius

ONE moment of brilliance lit up an otherwise dull game and one very upset Leeds manager brought a novel approach to the usual humdrum of the post-match press conference.

By Derek Davis

ONE moment of brilliance lit up an otherwise dull game and one very upset Leeds manager brought a novel approach to the usual humdrum of the post-match press conference.

Gavin Williams provided a sublime touch and finish to win the game for Ipswich after a superb diagonal long pass from Alex Bruce was nodded down by the ubiquitous Alan Lee.

Williams gathered the ball, wormed his way past Hayden Foxe and hit a stunning volley past a befuddled Graham Stack.


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Apart from the occasional glimpse of decent passing football, usually involving Williams, Owen Garvan and Sylvain Legwinski, the rest of the fare was not up to much.

Leeds had the better of what few other chances there were but Tresor Kandol, looking every inch a Fourth Division footballer on loan to Leeds, squandered them.

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But the main talking point was Kevin Nicholls' 84th minute sending off, with Dennis Wise taking the unprecedented step of backing his argument against a sending off by showing a ProZone video of two separate incidents which he insists affected the game.

While referee Keith Stroud refused to watch the incidents again at Wise' behest, the media were shown in detail the Nicholls' dismissal and an incident 15 minutes earlier when Lee is booked and not sent off for elbowing Foxe.

Instead of getting away early to celebrate his 40th birthday, Wise wanted to make his point in person and argued that the referee's assistant had originally given Leeds a free-kick as Nicholls and Danny Haynes came together.

The linesman then told the referee that Nicholls had elbowed the Ipswich striker and a red card was shown, even though Leeds still got the free-kick.

Wise said: “If Lee goes, then the game changes. If he has given him a yellow then he should give Nicholls a yellow. But if he stays with a red then does he change Lee's to a red? He can't, yet Lee's is worse than Nicholls and the linesman has made the decision and not him.

“He has given us a free-kick initially but he has some punters behind him screaming for blood and says it was an elbow, yet we still get the free-kick.

“These things cost our season. These people go home watch the video, have a beer and relax but doesn't realise the circumstances it leaves us in. They get away with it while it impacts on us. We lose Nicholls for three games and he loses two weeks wages with a fine.”

And, to add to the bizarre incident, Ipswich manager Jim Magilton admitted his player Owen Garvan should have been red-carded.

Garvan did appear to touch Nicholls but the Leeds' man's reaction by dropping to the deck, as if he had been shot, was way over the top, leading many to believe he had been given a second yellow for diving.

Nicholls had been booked two minutes earlier for an ugly challenge on Lee, which was all part of a running battle the Town striker was having with Leeds players.

While you can understand Wise's frustrations, he may want to look at himself for dropping proven goalscorer David Healy to the bench. It is a fair bet that Healy would have buried the first chance that fell to Kandol, when Frazer Richardson picked him out 10 yards from goal but poked his shot wide under pressure.

He headed wide from a corner when unmarked and had a good low strike turned away at a base of a post by the alert Lewis Price.

Those moments apart, Ipswich defended well enough without ever really getting their own game going on a good pitch that stood up well despite only being laid during the week at a cost of around £100,000.

Lee hustled and bustled, Jon Macken did well with his hold-up play and generally trying to involve the midfield but was never given much decent service to work with for himself.

Gary Roberts showed a few flashes of his ability to get at defenders but his final ball was not up to his usual standard at times.

So, while the quality was not the best, the quantity was fine, with three points in the bag with Stoke City, whose invincibility was shattered at Colchester, to come next week.

It was a big win for Town ahead of the busy festive period, when it will be vital to pull away from the bottom group and have the play-off places in their sights.

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