Leeds United 0 Derby County 1: Davies unmoved by Derby's revival

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The Independent Online

Billy Davies was pretty quick off the mark, reminding everyone who cared to listen that this was not just a routine victory. Derby County had gone to Elland Road and come away with a win for the first time in 32 years.

Back in 1974 snap general elections and Richard Nixon's resignation were dominant themes of the year but in the world of football Leeds against the Rams, the reigning League champions against the side set to succeed them, was about as big as it got at the time.

This win will not mean a repeat of such glories but better days are now in view for the visitors. They started the day in fourth spot, finished it in second, and are now three points behind the leaders, Birmingham City. Their remaining fixtures in December do not present too many obstacles, although New Year's Day sees them visit Davies' former side, Preston.

They had chances to build on the lead given them by Giles Barnes' header from Jon Stead's cross. They were unlucky when David Jones hit the bar in the 88th minute but then had to rely on Stephen Bywater's fine save 60 seconds later from Matt Heath's header.

Davies gave some insight into how he refuses to let his players get ahead of themselves, despite winning seven of their last eight games. He castigated Barnes for being sloppy in many parts of his play and he has the manner about him, having lost out in the play-offs with Preston in the last two years, of not wanting to suffer a similar fate.

His opposite number, Dennis Wise, has now seen his men lose six and win three of his nine games in charge and they are stuck in the relegation zone. Prior to the interval, the Yorkshire side played like a collection of strangers. However, some Wise words at half-time nearly had the desired effect, as Robbie Blake brushed the side-netting with a free-kick before Heath's near-miss.

Whether Wise can save Leeds is anyone's guess. He was, at least, attempting to sound positive. "We need 48 to 50 points for safety. I'm confident we will get them," he said.

Goal: Barnes (9) 0-1.

Leeds United (4-4-2): Stack; Foxe, Ehiogu, Heath, Crainey; Blake, Douglas, Derry, Lewis (Carole, 90); Kandol, Healy (I Moore, 67). Substitutes not used: Warner (gk), Richardson, Howson.

Derby County (3-5-2): Bywater; Edworthy, D Moore, Leacock; Barnes (M Johnson, 86), Jones, Oakley S Johnson (Bisgaard, 69), Boertien; Howard, Stead (Lupoli, 90). Substitutes not used: Grant (gk), Peschisolido.

Referee: S Tanner (Somerset).

Booked: Leeds Douglas, Foxe; Derby Howard, D Moore Leacock.

Man of the match: D Moore.

Attendance: 20,087.

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