Graham outfoxed

Leicester City 1 Heskey 60 Leeds United 0 Attendance: 20,359
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The Independent Online
George Graham is still searching for that elusive first victory to provide the foundation stone for a Leeds renaissance that seems in danger of turning into a mirage, for the present season at least.

True, the visitors had been deprived of their three recognised strikers by injury, and it was plain to see from the early skirmishes that neither Lee Sharpe nor Rod Wallace were shaping up to the demands of providing the missing cutting-edge. What service they were supplied with from their confused midfield was more doleful than hopeful.

Not that Leicester were much better for most of the 90 minutes, although Emile Heskey and Ian Marshall did avoid emulating their Leeds counterparts' poor performance. If Marshall's sixth-minute header had landed in Nigel Martyn's net instead of bobbling off his crossbar, it might have breathed some early life into what was to become a game to expunge from the memory. And had young Ian Harte's header from Gary Kelly's cross at the start of the second half found the net instead of Kasey Keller's crossbar you might have had a game.

As it was, the 20,000-plus spectators had to settle for Heskey's 59th- minute goal, created by a rare and, therefore, all the more commendable piece of initiative by Neil Lennon. The little red-headed midfielder caught Andy Couzens dozing in possession 25 yards from the Leeds goal, robbed him and spurted beyond two tackles to get in his shot. Martyn stretched to keep it out but his parry sent the ball to Heskey, who scored with a simple tap-in. Their tails up, Leicester seemed to be celebrating a second two minutes later before Marshall was justly ruled offside.

There were faint stirrings, but no more than that, as Leeds struggled to get back into the game, although the replacement of Couzens by the South African defender Lucas Radebe seven minutes from time demonstrated that Graham's Highbury habits are still extant.

Leicester deserved the three points but they, too, will have their problems before the season is out. But the Filbert Street manager Martin O'Neill does not have the pounds 20m said to be burning a hole in Graham's pocket. Many more performances like this and we can expect to see the colour of that money very soon.

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