Leeds Utd 0 Cardiff City 1: Leeds washed away by Flood

Elland Road a sea of depression as Bluebirds cruise serenely onwards
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The Independent Football

A youngster by the name of Willo Flood certainly left his mark on rain-soaked Elland Road yesterday. The 21-year-old Irish midfielder came on as a second-half substitute for the high-flying Bluebirds and squeezed home a superbly engineered winner seven minutes from time.

So, while the Cardiff manager, Dave Jones, and his revamped squad find themselves among the early season pace-setters, with 10 points, a languid Leeds are struggling at the wrong end of the table with just one win from four games.

The day was not short on irony either as Jones left the post-match press conference with a slightly bizarre throw-away line. Leeds' former chairman, Peter Ridsdale, is now vice-chairman of Cardiff. And Jones said: "It's been a great day. I enjoyed the win and I even enjoyed our vice-chairman being thrown out of the boardroom."

It appeared as though Jones was referring to the fact that Ridsdale had caused some consternation with his celebration of his side's winning goal. But whatever may or may not have transpired in the Elland Road boardroom after this game, all that really mattered was that Cardiff, by far the better team, could be a surprise promotion package while Leeds supporters were subjected to another bad day at the office.

By way of rounding off the day and the bizarre post-match comments, Leeds' chairman, Ken Bates, insisted an hour and a half after the final whistle: "It's a pack of lies - but I'm sure he needs the attention."

The crowd of 18,246 was their lowest since leaving the top flight two seasons ago and that in itself speaks volumes for the ongoing misery which is Leeds United. While Flood made sure that it never rains but it pours for the Leeds faithful and his winning goal was quite exquisite as he raced 60 yards for his part in a flowing breakaway.

The youngster, who was signed from Manchester City for £200,000 in the summer, broke up a Leeds attack in his own half, played a one-two with Michael Chopra and raced on to accept the return and tap home from close range.

Jones said: "It was a great goal with power and pace. I was late in signing Willo in the summer but I've been looking at him for a long time. I think we have some good hungry young players here now and that is balanced by some quality experience.

"There is some great spirit at the club now and we are moving forward. It hasn't been a bad start with three wins and a draw."

The Leeds manager, Kevin Blackwell, refused to be downbeat in the face of such a dismal start to the season and he said: "I am disappointed with our results but not with the performances. In fact, I believe that if Lady Luck had been kinder to us, we would have been top of the League. Cardiff have 10 points and I may be biased but I thought we were the better side."

To add to Leeds' misery, the former England midfielder Steve Stone limped out of the action midway through the first-half. And that spells more agony for the unlucky Stone, who missed most of last season with a broken leg. This time he looks like being ruled out for another two months with a groin injury.

Cardiff caused Leeds all sorts of problems in the first half with Chopra waging a one-man war on the home side's ragged rearguard. Goalkeeper Tony Warner kept Leeds in the hunt, but even he ran out of luck when the high-speed Flood struck with the killer blow in the 83rd minute.

The only thing that really marred the day for Cardiff was the dismissal of their centre-back Darren Purse in the dying seconds after he appeared to grab David Healy by the throat. However, Cardiff deserved their win and Jones certainly appears to have assembled a bright looking squad during the summer when he brought in 12 players for less than £1 million.