Bakke relieves fixture fears for Leeds

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The Independent Football

Two goals in a season would count as prolific marksmanship for David Batty. The man deputising for him in the Leeds midfield, Eirik Bakke, scored twice in the space of seven minutes yesterday to ensure that the Premiership leaders, rather than Port Vale, will visit Manchester City in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Two goals in a season would count as prolific marksmanship for David Batty. The man deputising for him in the Leeds midfield, Eirik Bakke, scored twice in the space of seven minutes yesterday to ensure that the Premiership leaders, rather than Port Vale, will visit Manchester City in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

With an hour gone and Vale holding out comfortably, David O'Leary may have started to fear a replay in Christmas week to add to Leeds' hectic programme. It was then that the 22-year-old Bakke, a £1.75m summer signing from the Norwegian club, Sogndal, struck his first goal in English football. His second killed the tie.

Leeds, having taken their run to 20 games with 17 wins and only two defeats, now move on to Leicester in the Worthington Cup on Wednesday. It will be their fourth game in as many competitions in 11 days, and while O'Leary's team continue to demonstrate their resilience, it seems some of the fans are finding their schedule a strain.

The crowd of 11,912 was less than half the previous lowest at Elland Road this season, for a Worthington Cup game, and 27,000 down on Leeds' average in the League. Mindful of the demands on their fans' pockets as the festive season looms, the Yorkshire club wanted to cut prices from £20 to £12, only for Vale to insist on the full rate.

The First Division side showed a more legitimate intransigence on the pitch. Packing midfield, they frustrated Leeds and occasionally threatened on the break through Tony Rougier. In the ninth minute, the Trinidadian pounced on Lucas Radebe's back-header and rounded Nigel Martyn, but his cross to Richard Eyre in front of an unguarded goal was blocked by Jonathan Woodgate.

Before half-time, Rougier slipped Woodgate and unleashed a shot which Martyn did well to smother. Otherwise it was a story of laboured Leeds pressure. Harry Kewell, shackled by Neil Brisco for most of the afternoon, found Paul Musselwhite in fine form when he did hit the target, while Ian Harte struck a post and Bakke headed another chance narrowly wide.

The Norwegian finally broke through in the 61st minute. Harte's cross produced a header by his uncle, Gary Kelly, which Musselwhite kept out one-handed. Bakke slotted in the loose ball from a tight angle.

Another excellent delivery by Harte, a corner to the near post, soon saw Bakke stab his second with the outside of his right foot. Vale began to commit players in support of Rougier, but that left them exposed and they were indebted to Musselwhite for a succession of agile saves.

Afterwards, O'Leary reiterated his complaint about having to play a third-round game in December, and only three days after taking on Spartak Moscow. The Vale manager, Brian Horton, acknowledged that "Leeds' quality wore us down", and smiled wistfully on learning that a trip to his old stamping ground of Maine Road awaited the winners.

Goals: Bakke (61) 1-0; Bakke (67) 2-0.

Leeds United (4-4-2): Martyn; Kelly, Woodgate, Radebe, Harte; Bowyer (Bridges, 75), Bakke, McPhail, Kewell; Smith (Jones, 72), Huckerby. Substitutes not used: Mills, Duberry, Robinson (gk).

Port Vale (3-6-1): Musselwhite; Burns, Gardner, Snijders; Foyle, Brisco, Minton, Eyre, Widdrington, Tankard (Naylor, 67); Rougier. Substitutes not used: Butler, Corden, Bogie, Pilkington (gk).

Referee: S Dunn (Bristol).

Bookings: Leeds: Smith. Port Vale: Snijders, Eyre, Widdrington, Brisco.

Man of the match: Musselwhite.

Attendance: 11,912.

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