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Leeds Utd 0 Crystal Pal 1

LEEDS UTD: Sullivan, Kelly, Butler, Kilgallon,Crainey (Beckford 77), Miller, Douglas (Bakke 85), Derry,Lewis, Healy (Blake 62), Hulse.

Subs Not Used: Bennett, Moore.

CRYSTAL PAL: Kiraly, Boyce, Ward, Fitz Hall, Leigertwood,Riihilahti, Watson, Hughes, McAnuff (Reich 90), Johnson, Morrison (Soares 74).

Subs Not Used: Popovic, Freedman, Speroni.

The chance was there ... but this defeat certainly knocked the stuffing out of the Leeds fans who felt automatic promotion was (almost) in the bag.

Suddenly that penalty life-saver at Coventry City on Saturday was made all the more important because of this slip-up on home territory against a side we should beat if we want to stand our ground in the Premiership.

Jobi McAnuff scored two minutes from half-time to inflict only the second defeat in 16 games but how the Blades must have been clapping their hands.

Hot-property Andrew Johnson was the provider as he calmly laid the ball off to McAnuff 12 yards out and the midfielder beat goalkeeper Neil Sullivan with a low shot to take all points.

Although Leeds poured forward in the second half they only created one clear cut chance when Rob Hulse's point-blank header was parried by Palace keeper Gabor Kiraly.

Palace came close three times in the first half, with Johnson (twice) and Fitz Hall failing to take advantage from opportunities.

Midway through the half Leeds came close to taking the lead when Eddie Lewis' corner was cleared only as far as Kelly, who sent in a fierce shot from outside the area which was tipped wide with Kiraly beaten.

The second half started at the same frantic pace as the first with Lewis putting a free-kick narrowly wide as Leeds harried the Palace defence into making mistakes.

The visitors, however, were showing more quality and composure with Leeds' urgency often displaying itself as panic and they were let down by the final ball.

But the home side were almost level when Rob Hulse's point-blank header from Lewis' free-kick was somehow pushed away by Kiraly in the 68th minute.

Jermaine Beckford came on to make his debut and with four minutes the former Wealdstone player appeared to be poised to level the scores when he was unmarked six yards out - but the offside flag was raised as he slipped the ball wide.

Leeds continued to attack without seriously threatening the Palace goal and the result left the Leeds fans stunned on the final whistle.

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The Journalist

Writer:  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday March 23 2006

Time: 11:31AM


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