Old boys back to haunt Leeds
Football: Leeds United 1 Coventry City 3
Friday 27 December 1996
Gordon Strachan and Gary McAllister, two of the driving forces behind Leeds' most recent championship success, gave George Graham a painful reminder that a team needs flair and determination as well as a tight defence.
Five matches without conceding a goal suggested that Graham's first law of football had been successfully implemented at Leeds, but Coventry - themselves much more solid at the back since Dion Dublin's effective conversion into a defender - were on a roll of their own.
This was Coventry's third successive victory, and the managerial new boy Strachan gave the old hand Graham a lesson into how to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Aided by a missed penalty by the Leeds full- back Gary Kelly, his side hung on doggedly with 10 men after another Leeds old boy, Noel Whelan, was sent off.
Yet it had all begun so brightly for Leeds. Dublin made a rare error when his clearance cannoned off Ian Rush into the path of Brian Deane, who struck an angled drive into the top left-hand corner after only nine minutes. Rush, Lee Bowyer and Carlton Palmer all wasted subsequent chances, but the lead looked comfortable enough. Then the glue in the Leeds defence came unstuck.
Darren Huckerby, Strachan's pounds 1m signing from Newcastle, provided the solvent. With his pace, bustle and mobility, he was already looking like Coventry's best player before he picked the ball up on the touchline and ran across the face of the box. All three Leeds defenders backed off, and he placed an angled drive low into the far corner of the net.
Then Dublin, who scored twice from set pieces against Leicester on Saturday, came forward for a John Salako corner and popped up between David Wetherall and Paul Beesley to give Coventry the lead. Two minutes later Palmer brought down Huckerby after first having given the ball away to him. McAllister knows all about scoring penalties on this ground.
It was the end of what Graham later described as "a crazy 10 minutes that swung the game. We committed suicide at the back with some bad individual mistakes."
But a red mist that descended on Coventry in the second half could have let them back in. Whelan, already booked for a tackle on Mark Jackson, was sent off for bringing Bowyer down from behind - something Richard Shaw also did to Deane a minute later to concede a penalty. But Kelly, who has only scored one professional goal, missed and - despite the arrival of Tony Yeboah - Leeds' life-line had gone.
Leeds United (3-5-2): Martyn; Palmer, Wetherall (Yeboah, 71), Beesley (Dorigo, h-t); Kelly, Jackson, Bowyer, Radebe, Halle; Deane, Rush. Substitutes not used: Harte, Ford, Beeney (gk).
Coventry City (3-5-2): Ogrizovic; Shaw, Daish, Dublin; Salako, Williams, Richardson, McAllister, Telfer; Whelan, Huckerby (Jess, 89). Substitutes not used: Burrows, Boland, Genaux, Finlan (gk).
Referee: M Bodenhan (East Looe, Cornwall).
Latest in Sport
Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how Twitter reacted
All Blacks Aaron Cruden misses New Zealand flight after drinking session, has brilliant excuse
Manchester City vs Chelsea match report: Frank Lampard shows no joy after denying Chelsea victory
Leicester City 5 Manchester United 3 player ratings: Leonard Ulloa? Radamel Falcao? Jamie Vardy? Angel Di Maria? Who was the star man?
Leicester City vs Manchester United match report: Jamie Vardy runs lopsided United ragged in amazing comeback
- 1 All Blacks Aaron Cruden misses New Zealand flight after drinking session, has brilliant excuse
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': TV reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 Alicia Keys leaks nude photo 'to create a kinder and more peaceful world'
- 5 Clothes store Joy angers mental health campaigners with Twitter exchange on bipolar disorders
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...
£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...
£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...