Football: Hasselbaink begins to pay dividends

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The Independent Online
Leeds United 2 Grimsby Town 0

George Graham will not count Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink as a fully-fledged success in English football until he takes his goal tally in his first season here to 20.

The Surinam-born striker took his tally to 11 so far in this FA Cup tie on Saturday and, if he scores another nine half as good between now and the end of the season, he will be assured of the cult status at Elland Road enjoyed briefly by his predecessor, Tony Yeboah.

There was no obvious danger when Hasselbaink took a pass from Harry Kewell well out, 12 minutes from the end of a tie over which Leeds had only gradually asserting control.

The muscular determination of his run took him into Grimsby's area and his right-footed shot ended any possibility of them doing what they had done to Sheffield Wednesday and Leicester in the Coca Cola Cup and Norwich in this competition.

Graham makes the point that Hasselbaink is still adjusting to the unrelenting pace of the game in this country. For him to produce a moment like this towards the end of a difficult and demanding Cup-tie suggests that his adjustment is almost complete.

Hasselbaink's ebullience took him close to a goal on three other occasions and his nose for goal was one of the main factors that defined Leeds as the senior partners in the afternoon's entertainment.

Grimsby had plenty of possession and wove some clever patterns with it. There were times when they looked more sophisticated than Leeds in their approach, but there was no end product to show for all their admirable qualities.

Their manager, Alan Buckley, who has clearly imbued them with many good habits, struggled for the right word to describe what they had lacked in the final third of the pitch and settled for "bravery''.

That was a harsh choice, because as well as arguably the game's most skilful player in Kevin Donovan they also had one of its most conspicuous strikers in Steve Livingstone.

But Livingstone had only the lightweight support of Kingsley Black up front and Grimsby ultimately lacked the decisiveness and fire-power that was illustrated by Hasselbaink's late strike.

"But the last three months have been terrific for us," said Buckley, referring to the Mariners' voyage of discovery in knock-out football. They return to Second Division waters with every prospect of putting together a promotion challenge, while Buckley wished Leeds fair weather in the Cup.

"I'd like to see them go on and win it," he said. Leeds might still lack the calibre to oblige him, but, if Hasselbaink continues to produce the goods, who knows?

Goals: Molenaar (45) 1-0; Hasselbaink (79) 2-0.

Leeds United (4-4-2): Martyn; Kelly, Wetherall, Molenaar, Robertson; Bowyer, Hopkin, Ribeiro, Kewell; Hasselbaink, Wallace. Substitutes not used: Beeney (gk), Lilley, Halle, Jackson, McPhail.

Grimsby Town (4-4-2): Davison; McDermott, Lever, Handyside, Gallimore; Donovan, Jopling (Clare, 58), Groves, Smith; Black, Livingstone. Substitutes not used: Rodger, Pearcey (gk), Butterfield, Wrack.

Referee: G Barber (Woking).

Booked: Leeds: Ribeiro, Hopkin. Grimsby: Lever, Livingstone.

Man of the match: Hasselbaink.

Attendance: 29,598