Football: Strachan inspires

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The Independent Online
Leeds United. . . . .5

Blackburn Rovers. . .2

THE followers of Leeds United need no reminding that this has been a grim season for their club.

All the sweeter then was the emphatic and attractive manner in which their injury and confidence-hit side killed off the lingering fear of relegation.

In spite of the absence through injury of David Batty, Gary McAllister and Tony Dorigo and the inclusion of some youngsters the Leeds performance was a timely reminder of last year's achievements.

Gordon Strachan, now 36, was at his inspirational best, scoring three goals and setting up the other two. But just as exciting was the performance of 18-year-old Jamie Forrester who was making only his second full appearance.

If Strachan's first two goals came from the penalty spot after some clumsy Blackburn defending, Leeds's next two goals were anything but prosaic. Five minutes into the second half a delightful one-two movement ended with Strachan striking Forrester's back-heel low beyond Mimms from 15 yards to complete his hat-trick. Nor was that the end of Strachan's contribution and 20 minutes later his 50-yard cross field pass found Rod Wallace who raced clear to bury Leeds's fourth.

Although Blackburn pulled goals back through Kevin Gallacher and Mark Atkins, Lee Chapman completed the rout tapping in Forrester's blocked shot.

Leeds United: J Lukic; D Kerslake, D Kerr, M Tinkler, C Fairclough, C Whyte, G Strachan, Rod Wallace, L Chapman, J Forrester (J Newsome, 89), G Speed. Subs not used: S Hodge, M Day (gk). Manager: H Wilkinson.

Blackburn Rovers: B Mimms; D May, G Le Saux, T Sherwood, C Hendry, K Moran, S Ripley, P Andersson (M Atkins, 65 min), K Gallacher, M Newell, J Wilcox. Subs not used: T Dobson, F Talia (gk). Manager: K Dalglish.

Referee: D Elleray (Harrow).

Goals: Strachan pen (1-0, 8 min); Strachan pen (2-0, 26 min); Strachan (3-0, 50 min); Rod Wallace (4-0, 67 min); Gallacher (4-1, 72 min); Atkins (4-2, 85 min); Chapman (5-2, 90 min).