Football: McAllister handed gift

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Leeds United . . . . .2

Oldham Athletic. . . .0

WITH football's attention distracted by romantic events elsewhere, Leeds nudged towards mid-table respectability after a soulless little affair which never remotely matched Monday's fine game here with Manchester United. The victory was also marred by a nasty injury to the substitute Carl Shutt who was carried off with a suspected punctured lung and taken to hospital.

Oldham failed to make a single serious attempt on the Leeds goal and played throughout with the haunted look of a side who had seen the spectre of relegation in the Elland Road mist.

Leeds, who in an afternoon of slog and plod always looked more convincing, duly took the lead following an obscure handball infringement in a crowded area which escaped the notice of everyone save that of the referee Roger Dilkes. Gary McAllister kept his nerve and scored his 10th goal of the season from the penalty spot.

Thereafter only the positioning and reflexes of the 20-year-old Paul Gerrard offered Oldham a lifeline. Twice he foiled Chris Whyte with his legs and then with another two instinctive dives denied Jon Newsome and Lee Chapman.

Gerrard could do little about Leeds' second goal 11 minutes from time, a goal made by McAllister and thrashed in from eight yards by Chapman who has had his critics during the champions' joyless reign this season. 'If I had done what some people wanted he would not have been on to score that goal,' Howard Wilkinson, the Leeds manager, said pointedly.

Belatedly, there was a glimpse of the old Oldham as the substitute Roger Palmer ran free. By then Leeds were out of sight and they may well be a whole division away come May.

Leeds United: J Lukic; S Sellars (C Shutt, 76 min) (S Hodge, 82 min), T Dorigo, D Batty, J Newsome, C Whyte, R Bowman, Rod Wallace, L Chapman, G McAllister, G Speed. Sub not used: M Day (gk). Manager: H Wilkinson.

Oldham Athletic: P Gerrard; C Fleming, G Halle, N Henry (R Palmer, 57 min), S Redmond, I Marshall, P Bernard, I Olney, A Ritchie (N Tolson, 70 min), M Milligan, M Brennan. Sub not used: I Gray (gk). Manager: J Royle.

Referee: R Dilkes (Mossley).

Goals: McAllister pen (1-0, 18 min); Chapman (2-0, 79 min).