Beckford points way to the future

Leeds United 2 Milton Keynes Dons 0

The ghosts of Leeds United past walked the broadcasting gantry at Elland Road. Eddie Gray and Norman Hunter were present, as ever, and Alan Smith finally came "home". Yet when Jermaine Beckford finished off Milton Keynes Dons, the focus switched from The Damned United and the doomed disunited of five years ago. The future was back on the agenda.

By taking his haul to 31 goals, the highest total in English football this season, Beckford (below) set the legends of the Don Revie era purring into their microphones. The 25-year-old Londoner also put the play-offs within reach, prompting Simon Grayson – a self-proclaimed Revie man though he acknowledged Brian Clough as "a great manager" – to use the film of David Peace's novel to challenge his players. "It shows the size of the club that there's a book and movie about us," said the manager. "I've told the players: 'This club has a great tradition and history. It may only be League One, but if you can get promoted, you can be a new group of heroes."

The Leeds team of '74, led by the man who became Grayson's manager when he was an apprentice, Billy Bremner, are cast more as villains than heroes in the cinematic treatment. Gray enjoyed it but stressed it was "a drama, not a documentary", while the genial Hunter did not recognise his portrayal as a "dark, brooding character who whacks Cloughie on the training pitch".

If any member of a side lying fifth in the third tier could be said to combine the aggression and skill, petulance and poise that characterised the champions Clough inherited, it is Beckford. His goals – a close-range volley and a shot taken early with minimal back-lift following a flowing move – evoked memories of Allan Clarke, and the one-time Chelsea trainee is as lethal as he is abrasive – just like "Sniffer".

For the Dons, like Leeds, automatic promotion is a remote prospect after one win in nine, although Roberto Di Matteo was defiant. "If we do [reach the play-offs], I'll be very confident," the manager said. "My team is a good one." For now the momentum is with Leeds. Being back in the national spotlight seems to have galvanised their followers, some wearing scarves declaring "The Damned Utd – And Proud Of It". Remarkably, Saturday's crowd of nearly 28,000 comfortably eclipsed the attendance for the last home fixture of Clough's brief reign.

Goals: Beckford (37) 1-0; Beckford (54) 2-0.

Leeds United (4-4-2): Ankergren; Douglas, Naylor, Sodje (Michalik, 60), Parker; Snodgrass (Dickinson, 90), Howson, Kilkenny (Hughes, 72), Delph; Becchio, Beckford. Substitutes not used: Lucas (gk), Robinson.

Milton Keynes Dons (4-4-2): Gueret; Cummings (Stirling, 66), O'Hanlon, Llera (Gerba, 82), Lewington; Puncheon, Regan (Johnson, 58), Navarro, Leven; Baldock, Wilbraham. Substitutes not used: Abbey (gk), Howell.

Referee: N Swarbrick (Lancashire).

Booked: Leeds United Howson, Kilkenny; MK Dons: Leven, Johnson, Puncheon, Navarro.

Man of the match: Beckford.

Attendance: 27,649.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
News
Ireland will not find out whether gay couples have won the right to marry until Saturday afternoon
news
News
Kim Jong-un's brother Kim Jong-chol
news
News
Manchester city skyline as seen from Oldham above the streets of terraced houses in North West England on 7 April 2015.
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?