The first day of the Dennis Wise era at Leeds United went to script, as goals from Ian Moore and Robbie Blake arrested a run of five defeats in which the once-mighty Leeds had conceded 18 goals and slumped to second-bottom of the Championship.
Wise had come out to a muted but still positive reaction, giving an understated thumbs-up to a disappointingly small crowd here. Most Leeds fans seem to be slowly coming round to the idea of the former Chelsea player being in charge. Unlike in Tuesday's 3-1 Carling Cup defeat to the same opponents, there were no anti-Chelsea chants. Fans will feel that little bit happier that their future rests with a man who cemented his reputation with one of their most bitter rivals.
Yet defensive problems were still evident. A weak defensive header from Paul Butler fell for Luke Guttridge to shoot over in the third minute and Gary Kelly was twice caught out of position early on. One of Wise's first moves as manager was to rid the out-of-form Butler of his captaincy in favour of Kevin Nicholls, but there were clear signs of a deeper defensive malaise.
Leeds did have their share of the early play, Ian Moore impressing on the right. Twice he made strong runs into the Southend box but could not find David Healy with a final ball. Eddie Lewis split the Southend defence with a 45-yard pass and, fittingly, it was Moore who added to his goal on Tuesday, tucking the ball past Daryl Flahavan for his first League goal for Leeds.
Leeds briefly threatened to take control after half-time, when Richard Cresswell found space in the box to shoot wide of the right-hand post. But the hosts were almost undone by more defensive lapses around the hour, when Peter Clarke had two free headers from set-pieces. First he headed over from a Steve Hammell corner, then forced a fine save from the debutant goalkeeper, Graeme Stack, from a free-kick on the left.
On 75 minutes, Freddy Eastwood forced another good save from Stack with a low drive that the on-loan Reading goalkeeper palmed around the post. But Leeds had the final say. A sweetly struck 25-yard free-kick from Blake, brought on by Wise as a late substitute, curled into the bottom left-hand corner.Reuse content