Perseverance has its reward for poacher Rush

Leeds United 3 Leicester City 0
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The Independent Online
They were hardly contenders for goal of the month, but nobody at Leeds was worried about that. If Ian Rush's two strikes at Elland Road on Saturday are an indication that the former Liverpool striker is recovering his touch, Leeds can look forward with optimism as they attempt to pull clear of the Premiership relegation zone.

Until this match Leeds were the League's lowest scorers, while Rush had scored only once in his previous 22 games. Both his strikes here were in the classic style of a goal poacher and left George Graham, the Leeds manager, admiring his captain's perseverance.

Graham said: "I am absolutely delighted with our performance and I am particularly pleased for Ian Rush. He has worked hard with little reward since I came here. He could have had a hat-trick and probably deserved one."

Without Tony Yeboah and six defenders, Leeds gave a debut to the Dutchman, Robert Molenaar, just 48 hours after his pounds 1m transfer from FC Volendam. He had a sound game, though Leeds dominated to such an extent that their goalkeeper, Nigel Martyn, did not have one decent shot to save.

After three successive defeats and having taken only three points out of 18, it was just the sort of performance that Graham needed.

Leicester's fate was sealed in a five-minute spell just before half-time, when Lee Bowyer shot home from 10 yards and Rush headed in from close range after Bowyer's shot had been blocked on the line. Rush added the third after 69 minutes after Brian Deane had miskicked from Tony Dorigo's cross.

Leicester were poor and look likely to have a lengthy battle against relegation. Their manager, Martin O'Neill, said: "Somewhere along the line we will have to strengthen the side, either from here or abroad, because we don't have enough players for the long Premiership programme.

"It is a long, hard season and we need to perform at a high tempo to get anything out of games. We never got going against Leeds, but we are far from finished."

Goals: Bowyer (40) 1-0; Rush (45) 2-0; Rush (69) 3-0.

Leeds United (3-5-2): Martyn; Beesley, Wetherall, Molenaar; Kelly, Jackson, Wallace, Bowyer, Dorigo; Rush, Deane. Substitutes not used: Sharpe, Gray, Harte, Ford, Beeney (gk).

Leicester City (5-4-1): Keller; Grayson, Prior, Hill (Campbell, 67), Marshall, Lewis (Lawrence, 67); Taylor, Parker, Izzet (Robins, 76), Heskey; Claridge. Substitutes not used: Watts, Poole (gk).

Referee: M Reed (Birmingham).

Bookings: Leeds Beesley, Wallace, Wetherall, Molenaar; Leicester Hill.

Man of the match: Rush.

Attendance: 29,486.

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