The brains provided by Brolin

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Leeds United 2 West Ham United 0

Elland Road's love-hate relationship with Eric Cantona is cooling. Tomas Brolin is no imperious Marshal of France rather a pale and chubby Swede but he does share with the Frenchman a sense of space, accurate delivery and a sniper's skills.

He cost Leeds pounds 4.5m and there must have been a few doubters when they first saw his struggling through the Christmas freeze.

Here, on a beautifully flat surface and no more than a stiff breeze he engineered a handsome victory against the odds that confirmed the Leeds revival: one defeat in their last seven matches played over 20 days.

West Ham, after Lee Chapman's red card, should have hunted down Leeds. They had more than an hour with an extra man yet were still unable to pin Brolin. Once the indefatigable Gary McAllister had sensed that Brolin would almost always be free he and his apprentice Mark Ford duly delivered for Brolin to steer the quick Rod Wallace into gaps made available by West Ham's advances.

Brolin scored both the goals making his return four in eight Premiership matches. No wonder Howard Wilkinson, when he forgot his anger over Chapman, was purring. "Never doubted their guts," he said of his team, "just their intelligence." Brainy Brolin is the answer.

As for the sending-off, for elbowing, it seemed accidental. Chapman, on loan from Ipswich, said he was stretching for the ball seeking leverage. "I've never known Lee, in training or on the pitch, purposely seek to hurt another player. He's very upset," Wilkinson said.

Harry Redknapp said: "Marc Rieper wouldn't go down. In fact, he's too honest for a centre-half." Leeds, on TV evidence, would almost certainly appeal. As to their dismal performance, the West Ham manager had this to say. "When the ball dropped into the right place we weren't good enough to put it into the net. I've got to get another front man. I've got the money and I've got to do something with it."

Goals: Brolin (24) 1-0; Brolin (63) 2-0.

Leeds United (4-4-2): Beeney; Kelly, Palmer, Wetherall, Dorigo (Couzens, 84); Brolin (Harte, 75), McAllister, Ford, Speed; Wallace (Gray, 75), Chapman.

West Ham (3-5-2): Miklosko; Rieper, Potts, Dicks; Moncur, Rowland (Slater, h-t), Bishop, Williamson, Hughes; Dowie, Cottee. Substitutes not used: Whyte, Shilton (gk).

Referee: P Danson (Leicester).

Sending-off: Leeds: Chapman.

Bookings: West Ham: Rowland, Williamson.

Man of the match: Brolin.

Attendance: 30,658.