Football / FA Premiership: Strachan unpicks lock

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The Independent Online
Leeds United. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

Deane 81, Wallace 86, Speed 89

Swindon Town. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

Attendance: 32,630

AN AFTERNOON of nail-biting frustration for Leeds was transformed by three goals in the last nine minutes to send Swindon off into the foggy Yorkshire night wondering what had hit them.

Gordon Strachan, that's what.

Elland Road's Loved One was back and although it took until the 81st minute for the little Scot to pick the lock of a stubborn Swindon defence, with a chip that created so simple a scoring chance even the off-song Brian Deane could take it, Strachan then provided a couple of encores which brought goals for Rod Wallace and Gary Speed.

Swindon can feel miffed at the scoreline. Until Strachan unzipped their defence, they had played an astute, containing game.

Indeed, 10 minutes before Deane's goal they had shown a welcome flash of impudence when John Moncur, Kevin Horlock and Paul Bodin whistled shots inches the wrong side of the Leeds woodwork.

The home side had started in up-and-at-'em mode, but they failed miserably to create anything resembling genuine clear-cut scoring opportunities. Deane, despite the promptings of Strachan, Gary McAllister and Speed, was determined to play the proverbial square peg in the round hole, and the Leeds attack usually spluttered to a pointless halt when the ball reached the big striker. But his world was transformed when Strachan guided his pass sweetly over defenders' heads for Deane to thunder his shot past Fraser Digby. Five minutes later the same service brought Wallace's goal, and Speed's in the last minute came via a Strachan corner.

Obviously perked up by their first Premiership victory over Queen's Park Rangers in midweek, Swindon had shown no signs of an inferiority complex, and soon established that they had the credentials to really play among the big boys.

Until the roof fell in on them in the last 10 minutes, they had done more than enough to justify a point. They left Elland Road with the knowledge that there can be dangerous wee devils like Strachan among those big boys.