Wimbledon's positive response

Wimbledon 2 Leeds United 0

"Stay positive'' was Joe Kinnear's message to his Wimbledon players before this match. Easier said than done, four days after losing a second semi-final in the space of just over a month. However, his players responded to earn a win which bolstered their flagging hopes of a Uefa Cup place next season.

Kinnear revealed afterwards that he and his players had had a three-hour meeting during training the previous day, in the wake of Sunday's FA Cup semi-final defeat by Chelsea.

"It was a case of putting my arm around the players and speaking about the idea of making the last six games of the season like six Cup finals.

"I tried to use a bit of Irish kidology, telling them that, even though we had lost two semi-finals, we had done well to get there. I said it just might be that we could get in the back door to Europe - after all, we had seven straight wins earlier in the season."

Last night's win lifted them to within one place of the sixth spot which Kinnear believes would guarantee them a European place. "We had to win tonight to keep the season alive. We have got the disappointment out of our system and we have got two vital games coming up against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday and Chelsea on Tuesday."

Kinnear had particular reason to be satisfied after his decision to pull off Vinnie Jones five minutes after half-time. The Wimbledon captain had already been booked for fouling Lee Bowyer, and seemed set for further trouble.

"Once I saw the red mist floating around, I made the decision," Kinnear said. Jones' replacement, Stewart Castledine, made sure of the points in the 72nd minute when he headed home Wimbledon's second from close range after a right wing cross by Neal Ardley.

Wimbledon were facing a Leeds defence which had kept nine clean sheets in their previous 12 Premiership games but they went ahead in the 18th minute when Dean Holdsworth, making the most of Efan Ekoku's absence with a broken wrist, dispossessed David Wetherall as the Leeds defender tried to shepherd the ball for a goal-kick, and scored from an acute angle.

Leeds should have had an equaliser after 51 minutes, but Lee Sharpe shot wastefully wide after Bowyer had put him clean through.

"It was a typical Wimbledon performance tonight," the Leeds manager, George Graham, said. "I told the players they were not going to lie down after their defeat in the semi-final. That's the type of spirit I've got to get back to Elland Road."

Wimbledon (4-4-2): Sullivan; Cunningham, Perry, McAllister, Kimble; Ardley, Fear, Jones (Castledine, 50), Leonhardsen; Gayle, Holdsworth. Substitutes not used: Heald (gk), Goodman, Reeves, Euell.

Leeds United (4-4-2): Martyn; Halle, Wetherall (Kelly, 73), Molenaar, Dorigo; Rush, Bowyer, Radebe, Sharpe (Laurent, 82); Wallace, Deane. Substitutes not used: Beeney (gk), Miller, Harte.

Referee: T Alcock (Surrey).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Recruitment Genius: Front End Developer / Web Designer

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leader in the e-cigarette ...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leader in the e-cigarette ...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future