Rush repays faith

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The Independent Online
Leeds United 3

Bowyer 40, Rush 45, 69

Leicester City 0

Attendance: 29,486

Ian Rush, with only one goal in 22 appearances since joining Leeds at the start of the season, scored two more to justify his manager George Graham's faith in him. The former Liverpool legend had even offered to stand down and give someone else a chance in the attack.

The victory lifted Leeds above their opponents and gave Rush a timely boost for Tuesday night's delayed FA Cup tie against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, but Leicester had so little to offer that the Leeds goalkeeper Nigel Martyn did not have a menacing shot to save.

After three successive defeats and just three points out of 18, Leeds badly needed their first win in seven matches and they shrugged off the absence of six defenders and the Ghanaian striker Tony Yeboah to master a very ordinary Leicester side.

Leicester's fate was sealed in a five-minute spell just before the interval, when Lee Bowyer and Rush gave Leeds a flattering two-goal interval advantage.

Bowyer fired home from 10 yards after Tony Dorigo's cross was headed down by Brian Deane. Then Bowyer was involved again when his drive was blocked on the line by Scott Taylor and the ball rebounded kindly for Rush to head in from the poacher's position a yard out.

Leicester showed little sign of clawing their way back into the match and with 69 minutes gone Rush was celebrating his first double for Leeds.

Dorigo's cross from the left was miskicked by Deane towards Rush, whose strike from close to the penalty spot revived memories of his pomp at Liverpool.

The Dutchman Robert Molenaar had a sound debut in the Leeds defence just 48 hours after his pounds 1m transfer from FC Volendam. "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,'' Graham said.

Graham criticised the referee, Mike Reed, who booked six players - four from Leeds and two from Leicester. "The referee had a very poor game. It was played in a good spirit but he booked six players which I thought was very sad," he added.