Yeboah's hat-trick buries Ipswich

Leeds United 4 Ipswich Town 0
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The Independent Online
Another match, another mauling. Ipswich must be yearning for an end to it all. Leeds inflicted as much damage as amused them last night and might, with a more ruthless streak, have had Manchester United's Premiership record in their sights by half-time.

The midfield majesty of Gary McAllister and the goalscoring panache of Tony Yeboah condemned Ipswich to an inevitable fate and maintained Leeds' pursuit of a possible place in next season's Uefa Cup.

Yeboah's first hat-trick in English football gives him 10 goals in 10 games and the distinction of becoming Leeds' top scorer. Ipswich's statistics from their last six matches tell another tale: six defeats, no goals scored and 22 conceded.

Ipswich were confronting a familiar plight after four minutes. McAllister broke up an attack deep in his own territory, carried the ball forward and played the incisive pass to Yeboah. The Ghanaian drew Craig Forrest out, danced around him and completed a splendid opening goal.

First Division-bound Ipswich attempted to play their way to the consolation of a rare goal and Lee Chapman's lunging header could not quite apply the finish a fluent, 16th-minute move deserved.

Chapman was in position to strike again 10 minutes later, his low shot from Claus Thomsen's knock-down at least exercising John Lukic. Thomsen then presented a more serious threat to the Leeds goalkeeper, galloping on to Simon Milton's service and shrugging off the attentions of John Pemberton but Lukic saved.

Leeds reasserted themselves with another swift, simple, destructive attack after 31 minutes. Gary Kelly and Rod Wallace combined to create the opportunity and Gary Speed scored his first goal in five months.

Four minutes on and Leeds had a third. Brian Deane dispossessed the hapless Chris Swailes and Yeboah took the ball on to score with supreme assurance. He demonstrated the same composure to complete his hat-trick just before half-time, pulling down Tony Dorigo's centre and placing his shot in the bottom corner.

Neil Thompson's long-range free-kick warmed up Lukic again and Leeds had another period in cruise mode before Yeboah raised the tempo in the 61st minute. He launched himself at Dorigo's deep cross, his header coming back off the bar.

Dorigo elected to go it alone next time up, flashing a shot just wide. Deane was also just wide with a tumbling header. Milton's fierce drive for Ipswich was on target, but Lukic fielded comfortably.

Leeds United (4-4-2): Lukic; Kelly (Couzens, h/t), Wetherall, Pemberton, Dorigo; Wallace, C Palmer, Speed, McAllister; Yeboah, Deane. Substitutes not used: Whelan, Beeney (gk).

Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Forrest; Yallop, Linighan, Swailes, Thompson; Milton, Williams, Thomsen, Slater; Mathie (Genchev, 77), Chapman. Substitutes not used: S Palmer, Baker (gk).

Referee: Mr G Willard (Worthing).

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