Graham's seniors, who seem to find the knack almost beyond them, would doubtless have been rubbing their eyes in disbelief at the ease with which the recently crowned Northern Intermediate League champions worked themselves into scoring positions. The only trouble was that they did not take any of their chances until Lee Matthews touched in Stephen McPhail's low cross in the 81st minute.
"I've heard George say he hasn't got any players coming through," said Peter Nicholas, the Palace coach, "but it looked to me over the two games as if he's got some really exciting ones there."
Once Paul Robinson had flung himself sideways to tip over Andrew Martin's sixth-minute header, Leeds always looked likely to add to their single- goal advantage. They were almost given a helping hand, or rather head, by Richard Kennedy but Gareth Ormshaw bettered Robinson's save to spare his team-mates blushes.
With Jonathan Woodgate exceptional at the back for Leeds, Palace could never mount a sustained attack. Their task, already tricky, became virtually impossible when David Stevens, their busy midfielder, was sent off for elbowing Alan Maybury seven minutes after receiving a yellow card. Hard though the 10 men tried, they eventually succumbed when Matthews atoned for an earlier header he had spurned with the decisive goal.
Crystal Palace (4-4-2): Ormshaw; Hibburt, Mullins, Woozley, Folan; Carlisle (Harris, 55), Kennedy, Stevens, Graham; Martin, Morrison (Sears, 71). Substitute not used: Kendall.
Leeds United (4-1-2-3): Robinson; Maybury, Lynch, Woodgate, Kewell; Dixon; Knarvik, McPhail; Ball, Jones (Wright, 66), Matthews. Substitutes not used: Quinn, Evans.
Referee: G Barber (Woking).Reuse content