Football: Kelly is the hero

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The Independent Online
Southampton 0

Leeds United 2

Kelly 82, Sharpe 89

Attendance: 15,241

After what had seemed like an eternity a Leeds player at last scored his first goal for the club yesterday. He waited artfully beyond the far post, took advantage of some dilatory defending and with a calm authority thumped the ball high into the net. It was thoroughly clinical and his ecstatic reaction was understandable.

One day Ian Rush will doubtless deliver some telling blow like that again but the legendary striker must wait a while. The man who changed the course of events yesterday in a match drifting nowhere was Gary Kelly, in his 163rd game for the club. There were only eight minutes left and if it was the last thing the Irish full-back expected a goal from any quarter by then was also pretty surprising.

The affair started breezily enough and given Southampton's recent tendency both to score and ship goals a measure of knock-about stuff should have been in order. This of course is to forget what sides managed by George Graham can inflict.

Still, the chances created in the first 15 minutes appeared to augur brightly. Egil Ostenstadt pursued a series of acute crosses, one of which he prodded into the net only to be discovered to be marginally offside. Leeds themselves flirted with counter-attacking but gradually emerged to prevent any fluidity from either side. There were moments in the second half when they rose above the doggedness, but not far. Lucas Radebe was composed at the back, Brian Deane was impressively involved at the front, perhaps more so than Rush, who had scuffed a shot from eight yards in those deceptive early exchanges.

Southampton introduced another new foreigner - this one Aly Dia, a Senegalese international who was recommended to the club's manager, Graeme Souness, by George Weah. He is at the Dell for a month. On his debut he lasted 53 minutes, coming on as a substitute for Matthew Le Tissier and being replaced himself.

Southampton and everybody else had probably settled for the draw when Deane's cross from the left was deflected. The ball went into an agonising spin, goalkeeper Chris Woods stood rooted as did the defenders before him. In came Kelly.

There was a second in the final minute, Lee Sharpe receiving Deane's pass and comfortably scoring. Graham was hardly fooled by this: Leeds still have much to do. So now do Southampton.