Positive Palmer

Leeds United 1 Palmer 90 Aston Villa 0 Attendance: 32,955
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The Independent Online
RON ATKINSON used to say of Carlton Palmer that when he was in sight of goal the players used to shout "pass" at him. Some pass, then, to keep Leeds on course for Europe and harshly deny Aston Villa the deserved point which would have edged them nearer Premiership safety. The former England midfielder strode into the penalty area in the first minute of injury time to launch a shot into the back of the net from 15 yards.

The result was a complete trick on Villa, although when you are in their position these things tend to happen. Leeds had not had an effort on target before Palmer's timely intervention, while Villa had good claims for a penalty and John Lukic - along with the peerless Gary McAllister - was the home side's most influential player. The goalkeeper was a picture of Yorkshire reliability in contrast to his excitable opposite number.

Mark Bosnich was sent off two minutes from time for a second yellow card in what was almost the first moment of note in the visitors' penalty area.

To pick up a caution on the stroke of half-time for timewasting at a goal kick was careless. But to collect another for a two-handed shove on the omnipresent Palmer was stupid.

The midfielder had galloped through on to a Gary Kelly pass but swept Shaun Teale's legs from under him as the defender shepherded the ball away. Bosnich took exception, however, raising his hands against the opponent and after Palmer did likewise - for which he was booked - Bosnich had his fate sealed by referee David Elleray.

Villa immediately brought on Nigel Spink, but the balance had been tilted and the first thing Bosnich's replacement had to do was waft away a dangerous McAllister cross.

The fact that Lukic had made good saves from Gary Charles, a Paul McGrath header and Dwight Yorke was long forgotten. Although manager Brian Little conceded that Tony Dorigo's challenge from behind on Dean Saunders might, on other occasions, have merited a penalty and red card, he said: "I felt the referee was influenced by the crowd."

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