Dave Allen, the Sheffield Wednesday chairman, has such a low opinion of Ken Bates, his Leeds counterpart, that he refused to sit in the directors' box at Elland Road yesterday, his bitterness a legacy of the latter's failed takeover bid at Hillsborough. It was probably a wise decision, given the emphatic manner in which Leeds were able to salute a year in charge by their white-bearded saviour.
Having eulogised Bates all week in recognition of the way he hauled Leeds from the brink of extinction 12 months ago, the club's manager, Kevin Blackwell, successfully organised an on-field celebration, second-half goals from Paul Butler and Richard Cresswell (two) strengthening Leeds' grip on third place in the Championship.
"It has been a momentous year and this was a fitting way to cap it," Blackwell said. "I would have taken a 1-0 off someone's backside for three points today but we looked a good, strong side." Leeds had done much to underline the credibility of their promotion ambitions with a fine performance against Wigan in last Tuesday's FA Cup third round replay, which they ultimately lost on penalties after finishing level at 3-3.
Yesterday, they needed patience to break down a resilient opponent. While Leeds are looking towards a quick return to the Premier League, Wednesday are more concerned with not going back to League One.
But Wednesday looked as if they might avoid defeat, and perhaps more. Their captain, Graham Coughlan, believed his header had put Wednesday in front after 62 minutes only for the ball to be bundled away. In the opinion of the referee, Dermot Gallagher, the ball had not crossed the line. Seven minutes later, it was Leeds who went ahead, the central defender Paul Butler succeeding at the second attempt when Jonathan Douglas hooked the ball back across goal.
Cresswell headed in a Kelly corner to double the home side's lead eight minutes from time and added a second in stoppage time, sliding in to convert a cross from substitute Simon Walton.Reuse content