Football: Cort holds off the flair of Leeds

Leeds United 2 Wimbledon 2

DAVID O'LEARY'S anxiety to burst the balloon of optimism is not working. The biggest crowd of the season, 39,816, was lured to Elland Road last night and they did not come in search of also-rans. The feeling is growing that promise is flowering into something substantial at Leeds.

Those eternal showers on anyone's parade, Wimbledon, denied them their fifth successive home win last night but even they could not entirely cloak the fact that Leeds are going to cause plenty of damage in the rest of the season. Certainly they are scoring enough to be regarded as potential FA Cup winners.

Bruno Ribeiro and David Hopkin took their side's tally to 21 in their last eight matches but Wimbledon, who had equalised earlier through Robbie Earle, did so again through substitute Carl Cort seven minutes from time.

"We gave away two bad goals," O'Leary said, "but Wimbledon are a very difficult side to play. It's the land of the giants when you take them on."

Another big man, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, was the game's outstanding player and it was he who first hinted that Leeds would continue to score freely with a curling shot from the left after six minutes that scraped the far post.

A feature of his play last night was his creativity rather than his strike power and he consistently beat his man on both flanks to cross. Such repetition breeds respect and Wimbledon paid for their exaggerated care after 25 minutes when Kenny Cunningham gave him too much licence on the left. Hasselbaink cut in and, as the defence advanced, slipped a pass through to Ribeiro, who swivelled and shot into the far corner.

Wimbledon, who were insistent that Ribeiro was offside, had been largely nullified but with 41 minutes gone they shook off their shackles in spectacular fashion. Earle won a tackle 25 yards out, held off a tackle from Lee Bowyer and then rifled a low shot past Nigel Martyn, scoring via the post.

Leeds did not deserve to be held at half-time and they needed only 11 minutes after it to make amends. Harry Kewell had wasted a glorious through ball from Ribeiro, slicing wide, but in a more difficult position, with Chris Perry breathing down his neck, he did far better.

The Australian turned the defender on the edge of the area and then hit a shot that skidded along the turf until Neil Sullivan stretched to stop it close by the post. It was a good save, but not good enough because Hopkin, charging in, side-footed in the rebound.

That appeared to have settled it, but by dint of necessity and experiment Wimbledon's manager, Joe Kinnear, introduced Cort and Mark Kennedy and his escapologists duly slipped out of the strait jacket.

Kennedy bewitched Gunnar Halle on the left and then arced a cross that was begging for Cort to volley it past Martyn. "Fantastic tactics by the manager," Kinnear said.

O'Leary was less happy but realistic. "Going into Christmas if I had been offered four points from two games I would have taken it," he said. "Maybe we're getting too greedy that I'm disappointed."

Leeds United (4-4-2): Martyn; Halle, Wetherall, Woodgate, Harte; Haaland, Bowyer, Hopkin, Ribeiro (McPhail, 80); Hasselbaink, Kewell. Substitutes not used: Wijnhard, Granville, Smith, Robinson (gk).

Wimbledon (4-4-2): Sullivan; Cunningham, Perry, Thatcher, Kimble (Kennedy, 62); Hughes, Euell, Earle, Ardley; Gayle, Leaburn (Cort, 72). Substitutes not used: Ekoku, Roberts, Bakke (gk).

Referee: P Jones (Loughborough).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral