Sheffield Wednesday 1 Leeds United 0

Eagles breaks Wednesday's duck
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The Independent Football

If Leeds enjoyed overwhelming territorial dominance, they seldom showed the guile to break down Paul Sturrock's spirited team. It was Wednesday, indeed, who came closer in the second half, Chris Brunt hitting Neil Sullivan's bar from long range with nine minutes remaining.

Perhaps as well for the Leeds manager, Kevin Blackwell, the holidaying Ken Bates missed the meeting of the club he tried to buy and the one he did acquire. Michael Vaughan was also absent, though his fellow Wednesdayites greeted the final whistle like the throng in Trafalgar Square.

They should not have been surprised. Leeds picked up just one point out of 12 in such local encounters last season.

Amazingly, Leeds appeared taken aback by the intensity of Wednesday's opening burst, which produced a ninth-minute winner. Shaun Derry fouled John Hills on the left, from where Eagles' 30-yard free-kick curled into the far corner with neither friend nor foe applying a touch.

Wednesday frequently created panic as Leeds adjusted to the tempo. Glenn Whelan fired inches wide in the 14th minute, while the recalled Sullivan had to put his ample frame in the way of Lee Peacock's point-blank thrust following Eagles' cross on the half-hour.

After the break, Leeds were clearly intent on playing their way up the pitch and began to look more accomplished. But they were bereft of penetration. David Healy, England's nemesis in Northern Ireland, scuffed their best opportunity across the face of the goal.

Even as the pressure mounted, Wednesday remained dangerous on the counter-attack. When David Graham's head met a 70th-minute cross by Eagles, only a prodigious leap by Sullivan denied them a second goal. When the woodwork also came to Leeds' rescue, Sturrock's men could claim the moral victory as well as the three points.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Lucas; Simek, Coughlan, Wood, Hills; Eagles, Whelan, O'Brien, Brunt (Rocastle, 83); Graham (Bullen, 73), Peacock. Substitutes not used: McGovern, Ross, Corr.

Leeds United (4-4-2): Sullivan; Kelly, Butler, Gregan, Crainey; Douglas, Einarsson (Richardson, 63), Derry, Lewis; Healy (Blake, 67), Cresswell (Hulse, 71). Substitutes not used: Bennett (gk), Kilgallon.

Referee: P Taylor (Hertfordshire).

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