Leeds United progressed into the third round of the Carling Cup after a comfortable 1-0 victory
over Swindon Town. Michael Ricketts scored his first goal of the season to send United through.
Kevin Blackwell decided on four changes from the side that drew with Crewe at the weekend.
In came Matthew Kilgallon, Matthew Spring, Jamie McMaster and Ricketts for Stephen Crainey, Jermaine Wright, Frazer Richardson
and Brian Deane respectively.
Spring became the first player to make his United debut against Swindon Town since David Batty,
a player he would love to emulate at Elland Road.
Leeds arrived at a bitterly cold Elland Road hoping for a much easier ride than they had at
this stage of the competition last year, but Swindon started brightly and Paul Butler had to be alert to cut out a dangerous
run from the lively Sam Parkin.
After only a couple of minutes Ricketts nearly fashioned an opening for Spring, when he broke
down the right and his cross was just too close to Evans, which allowed him to save at the debutant's feet.
With nearly ten minutes on the clock, though, Leeds got the early breakthrough
they so desperately wanted.
Gary Kelly won a tackle in his own half, carried the ball forward and curled a beautiful ball
over the Swindon defence in to the path of Michael Ricketts, and the burly striker forced the ball through Evans' legs.
Swindon almost hit straight back though when Parkin was put clear of the Leeds defence, Kelly
making a half tackle but seeing the ball break to Brian Howard on the edge of the box, whose shot was just deflected over
There was another scare for Leeds from a quick free-kick down the right and the ball fell to
Sean O'Hanlon in the area, but he put his effort just wide of Neil Sullivan's right-hand post.
A scrappy period was brought to life by Julian Joachim when, on 20 minutes, he skipped past
three challenges and hit a fine left foot shot that Evans had to be at full stretch just to keep out. Ricketts was also looking
much more assured now he had scored his first goal for the club.
Swindon then had a lucky escape when Kelly swung a great cross in from the right and O'Hanlon
headed against his own post, but unfortunately for Leeds the rebound came just too quickly for Ricketts to direct his shot
A great Leeds move nearly brought the second goal and McMaster had team-mate Ricketts to thank
for denying him his first goal for the club.
Butler swung the ball out to Danny Pugh who surprised everyone by pulling the ball back when
a shot was on but it was straight into McMaster's path who side-footed the ball towards goal. The keeper was beaten but it
hit Ricketts' heels.
In the last minute of the half, a patient Leeds move engineered a decent position for Danny
Pugh, who won a corner but then saw his delivery evade everyone.
In the first action of the second half Brian Howard went on a mazy dribble and his run looked
threatening but he could only shoot straight at Sullivan.
Leeds finally awoke from their half-time break when Kilgallon went charging forward from inside
his own half and released Ricketts, who flashed a cross in front of goal which had to be put out for a corner.
The home side had a real let off ten minutes into the second half when Parkin found himself
with a clear shot at goal, but his delay allowed Leeds to put him under pressure and he shot wide.
Midway through the second half, Leeds fans were awarded their first glimpse of Danny Cadamarteri
in a white shirt when he was thrown into the fray.
Into the last quarter of an hour of the match and Leeds were just beginning to panic a little
which is always the danger with only a one goal advantage. Swindon were growing in confidence and a powerful shot by O'Hanlon
needed Sullivan to be at full stretch.
Leeds were just in need of somebody to put their foot on the ball, so Blackwell replaced the
goalscorer Ricketts with terrace hero Brian Deane.
Deane's influence had a revitalising effect on the rest of the side and they managed to get
back in control of the game. He also went close with a cross-shot, while Cadamarteri looked lively and Spring had a steady
game in the middle of the park.
But Gary Kelly had one of his most influential games for a long time, which included an assist
for the goal. Gregan showed flashes of class but once again proved in the second half that he needs match practice.
The game looked to be safely in the bag for Leeds but Howard gave them a scare when he curled
an effort just wide in the last minute, and they even survived Swindon keeper Evans' late attempt to emulate Paul Robinson's
heroics of last season's tie, but his header went sailing over the bar.