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).

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam