LEEDS UNITED........1 DERBY COUNTY.......0
On a sweltering day at Elland Road, with temperatures in the 90s at pitch level, Kevin Blackwell’s
new-look Leeds side delighted their loyal fans with a hard-fought 1-0 win.
A superb Frazer Richardson goal after 72 minutes gave them victory, but a superb last-minute
save by Neil Sullivan ensured the three points.
There were seven debutants in the starting eleven, with 16-year-old Simon Walton lining up
in midfield alongside Jermaine Wright. Up front Michael Ricketts was playing with Julian Joachim.
Gary Kelly took an accidental blow to the face in the game’s first minute after tangling
with Bisgaard, but thankfully he was unscathed and carried on.
Walton got a chance to impress after five minutes, when a Ricketts knock down found him in
space on the edge of the area, but his left foot shot was hooked over.
Leeds looked much more comfortable on the ball in the opening 20 minutes, and their first on
target chance came after 16 minutes, when Danny Pugh headed a Wright cross downwards, but Derby’s keeper, Lee Camp,
was right where he had to be and made a block with his legs.
Three minutes later, and Leeds should have scored. Joachim sped away after taking on a Ricketts
flick and was one-on-one with Camp, but his shot went just wide after a touch from the keeper.
After half an hour the game slowed down understandably with the oppressive heat, but on 35
minutes a Pugh free-kick dipped alarmingly and Camp had to tip over. Ther Derby defence looked uncomfortable at times, by
contrast Leeds looked solid when Derby threatened and dealt with what few opportunities the visitors had.
However on 43 minutes, Johnson put a superb header past Sullivan from a corner, but it was
disallowed presumably for the ball crossing the dead ball line in flight.
Leeds continued well after the break, and on 57 minutes Simon Walton looked good for a goal
from a cross from the right, but he got underneath the header and failed to get it on target.
Six minutes later, and Leeds’ fans had their hands over their eyes when a Junior shot
rolled across the goal from the left, but Sullivam just got down to it and finger-tipped it wide.
Walton was replaced a minute later and got a huge ovation from the crowd, as did his replacement
Lucas Radebe ? a mere 19 years his senior!
But it was on 72 minutes when Elland Road erupted. Richardson received the ball on the right,
and as the defence backed off he cut in and curled a shot in with his left foot past the despairing dive of Camp to send the
crowd into ecstasy. It was fully deserved for both player and crowd.
The home side dominated the remainder of normal tim, with Pugh coming close with a shot that
curled away at the last minute past the right hand post.
But it was in stoppage time that Neil Sullivan saved the day with a marvellous save. Ian Taylor
headed on to the post, an effort which the Scottish custodian may have touched. The rebound was smashed goalwards by Junior,
but Sullivan was back up and parried it wide a split-second later, instantly earning himself hero status.
The whistle went a minute later, and the ground erupted with relief. It is ironic that with
all the new players coming into the squad over the summer, one of the old guard, Frazer Richardson, was the one who’s
efforts have given the fans just the start they were hoping for.