Football: Leeds fall to Fear

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The Independent Online
Wimbledon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Fear 3

Leeds United. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

Attendance: 9,035

AS adverts for football go, a 60- minute documentary with Graham Taylor would leave the national game with more credit than Wimbledon against Leeds yesterday. Thank goodness it was not screened on television, though at least then viewers could have switched it off. Some people paid pounds 12 to see this. It was the most tedious of aerial battles, to which Wimbledon contributed muscle, menace and a third-minute goal.

They say that playing Wimbledon brings out the worst in teams, and Leeds were no exception. Gary McAllister was out of sorts and Brian Deane justified the abuse that the home fans flung at him when an error with a pass in the second half saw him find Wimbledon's keeper rather than the unmarked Rod Wallace.

It was not fun for David Wetherall either, visibly loathing his individual battle with John Fashanu. Late in the second half, the Wimbledon striker was shielding the ball, Wetherall approached and was simply pushed to the ground. Wetherall may have wished for the turf to swallow him up. This was his latest of many losing encounters, the first coming in the third minute when Fashanu won a hard tussle that continued over 30 yards before he tapped the ball to Peter Fear who scored an untidy goal.

This set the pattern for the rest of the game: Wimbledon outscrapping Leeds on their way to an untidy victory. It was not even as if Leeds threw the game back at Wimbledon after the early set-back. McAllister came close with a 25-yard free- kick, but thereafter the first half was virtually all played out on the edge of Leeds' 18-yard box.

Scales, Fashanu and Holdsworth all nearly hit the target, but it was a ball kicked into the side netting by Marcus Gayle, picked up midweek from Brentford, which should have doubled the home lead. Fear also had a good try when a speculative 25-yard shot almost took his tally to two.

Leeds improved in the second half, though not sufficiently. Hans Segers made one impressive save, from Wetherall, but that was in the last minute. A lot of the crowd had already beaten a hasty retreat.

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