Football: Souness' patience is tested

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Southampton 0 Leeds United 2

Graeme Souness has given the impression recently that he is a changed man. The Southampton manager, hardly known as the shy and retiring sort in his playing days, had appeared to mellow following his return to English football this season and his Southampton side had responded with some flowing football.

The highlight was last month's 6-3 humiliation of Manchester United, but Southampton have slipped sharply since then and on Saturday at The Dell there were signs that Souness has lost none of his fire.

After his side had conceded three points as the result of some sloppy defending, Souness marched unannounced into the press room to deliver a 40-second verdict before leaving almost as quickly as he had arrived, only to return in a calmer frame of mind minutes later. This result had followed a 7-1 thrashing at Everton the previous week.

"It was a ragged game, and we had no fluency," Souness said. "It was a game that was always going to be decided by a mistake, and we were the ones to make it."

The moment which so angered Souness came eight minutes from time, when Brian Deane crossed from the left. Chris Woods stayed on his line and when the ball bobbled into the air, the Southampton defence failed to appreciate the danger and Gary Kelly shot into the top corner of the net.

As Southampton pushed forward in search of an equaliser, Lee Sharpe secured the points with a well-struck shot after 89 minutes. The match left Kelly celebrating his first goal and George Graham his first away win as Leeds manager.

To add to Southampton's problems, Matt Le Tissier limped off with a thigh injury which could keep him out for up to six weeks. His replacement was the Senegalese striker Aly Dia, who has been signed for a month after being recommended to Souness by Milan's George Weah. However, the 30-year- old striker failed to impress and was himself substituted.

Goals: Kelly (82) 0-1; Sharpe (89) 0-2.

Southampton (4-4-1-1): Woods; Van Gobbel, Lundekvam, Dodd, Potter; Dryden, Oakley (Slater, 72), Berkovitch, Magilton; Le Tissier (Dia, 32; Monkou, 85); Ostenstad. Substitutes not used: Maddison, Beasant (gk).

Leeds United (4-4-2): Martyn; Kelly, Palmer, Beesley, Radebe; Rush, Ford, Bowyer, Sharpe; Jackson, Deane. Substitutes not used: Wetherall, Kewell, Harte, Couzens, Beeney (gk).

Bookings: Southampton Van Gobbel; Leeds Ford, Beesley.

Referee: K W Burge (Tonypandy).

Man of the match: Martyn.

Attendance: 15,241.