Yorke casts Leeds adrift

Aston Villa 2 Yorke 58, Johnson 65 Leeds United 0 Attendance: 39,051
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The Independent Online
No one is more aware of the reconstruction work required to restore Leeds than the man in charge but the size of the task must daunt even George Graham when he has to watch his charges flounder when they encounter sides with ample portions of skill and class. That was the case here and Villa's superiority was far greater than the scoreline can begin to tell.

It says something for what has already been achieved by the New Leeds regime that Villa were held at bay for almost an hour, an hour in which Mark Bosnich in the Villa goal had to make only one save worthy of the name. At the other end Dwight Yorke had rattled Nigel Martyn's crossbar from 25 yards and, with almost every touch, he and Sasa Curcic were demonstrating the makings of a double act which, on its day, will test the mightiest of defences.

The Serb was the well-spring of virtually every threat Martyn had to face and it was apt that when the Leeds' citadel did fall it was the climax of another inspired Curcic foray that swept the length of the field. Alan Wright started it with a ball to the Serb, who hurdled Mark Ford's rash tackle on the touchline, to carry the ball to the edge of the enemy's box before finding the ever-willing Tommy Johnson. He picked out Yorke clear on his right and the low shot beat Martyn's dive.

Eight minutes later Yorke returned the compliment when he dropped a perfect near-post cross on Johnson's right foot and the second goal was sidefooted into Martyn's net.

The exposure of Leeds' frailties was complete, although Martyn had to perform heroics to keep out another Curcic shot and had a deserved piece of luck when the Serb took a rebound on the volley only to balloon his shot high over the bar.

Villa had taken their foot off the accelerator and for the rest of the game Leeds found the time and space that had been denied them and rendered such venerable warriors as Ian Rush and Mark Hateley impotent for most of the game.

The three-man attack of Rush, Hateley and an increasingly forlorn Lee Sharpe had left them outnumbered in midfield where Curcic strutted his stuff, aided by the sterling yeomanry and tackling prowess of Andy Townsend and Ian Taylor.