Crowd's derision for Leeds' lack of vision

Leeds United 1 Nottingham Forest 3
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The Independent Online

Leeds United 1 Nottingham Forest 3

Nottingham Forest remained in sight of Europe as Leeds United slipped further into obscurity, to the accompaniment of Elland Road's derision.

An early lead flattered Leeds yet deceived no one, least of all a gallery that was applauding championship success four seasons ago. Yesterday the slow handclap of the disenchanted beat a solemn tattoo on the eardrums of the manager, Howard Wilkinson.

Forest applied order, patience and decisive penetration to their game as the remnants of Leeds' confidence visibly drained away.

Goals by Colin Cooper and Jason Lee eased Forest in front by the half- hour mark and they ought to have doubled their score by the interval.

Forest squandered more offerings but Ian Woan's characteristic strike, midway through the second half, removed any prospect of an injustice.

Without Tony Yeboah, Leeds held little threat and even less self-belief up front. Without Bryan Roy, Forest still proved a handful for a defence disoriented by Gary Kelly's deployment at left-back. Wilkinson conceded as much by restoring him to his more familiar territory on the right, and bringing on another of his young players, Ian Harte.

Their sloppy, visionless football contrasted with the measured assurance of Forest's game. The ever-resourceful Steve Stone and Woan and the influence of Stuart Pearce's leadership symbolised the essential difference between the sides.

Forest might have been two up before Leeds scored butin the 10th minute, David Wetherall brushed aside Steve Chettle's attentions at the far post and headed in Gary McAllister's inswinging corner.

Another inswinging corner after 18 minutes, this time from Scot Gemmill, dropped almost on the goal-line, presumably bamboozled John Lukic, and left Cooper with a simple equaliser.

Woan and Stone combined to create an opportunity for Lee and a deflection off Kelly ensured the goalkeeper was powerless to intervene. Lee held aloft his tresses in a defiant gesture to his manager and anyone else who cares to poke fun at him.

Woan's persistence was rewarded after 66 minutes with a half-volley from just outside the area.

Lee had three chances in as many minutes to embellish his record but instead supplied the Fantasy Football League boys with more irresistible material.

Leeds United (4-4-2): Lukic; Radebe (Harte, h-t), Palmer, Wetherall, Kelly; Gray, Blunt (Wallace, h-t), McAllister, Speed; Brolin, Deane. Substitute not used: Pemberton.

Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Crossley; Haaland, Cooper, Chettle, Pearce; Stone, Gemmill, Bart-Williams, Woan; Lee, Campbell (McGregor, 83). Substitutes not used: Phillips, Howe.

Referee: R Hart (Darlington).