Date:Monday April 3 2006
HULL CITY: Myhill, Thelwell, Cort, Delaney, Rogers,Green (Paynter 84), Andrews, Welsh, Ellison (Elliott 71),Fagan, Parkin.
Subs Not Used: Duke, Duffy, Wiseman.
LEEDS UTD Sullivan, Kelly, Butler, Gregan, Crainey, Douglas,Derry, Miller (Graham 77), Lewis (Healy 77), Hulse,Blake (Richardson 80).
Subs Not Used: Bennett, Kilgallon.
Leeds started brightly and almost took the lead on three minutes. But Hull 'keeper Boaz Myhill made a magnificent save, clawing away an Eddie Lewis free-kick from the foot of his right-hand post. And even though the game had just started, that seemed to be the turning point, because that was the closest Leeds came all game.
This faltering form is playing right into the hands of those chasing a play-off spot, and we can forget Sheffield United now ... they are away and over the hill as far as catching them for that automatic promotion spot. OK, Kevin Blackwell is still hanging onto miracles and disasters, and keeps bleeting on about it. But let's face reality. After this defeat at Hull, we are looking at the likes of Preston and Wolves - NOT Sheffield United.
Blackwell's men did more than put the heat on second-place, they actually had the position in their own hands. But getting there was just the start - staying there is even harder.
But this was a performance that will give Leeds supporters sleepless nights for weeks to come after Jon Parkin's thumping header earned the Tigers three points which almost guarantees their survival in the Championship.
Peter Taylor's team showed more defensive organisation and greater potency in the final third of the field all afternoon but ultimately had Parkin to thank for earning them this victory.
Fondly nicknamed 'The Beast' by City supporters, the former Macclesfield forward terrorised Leeds' fragile defence all game and it came as no surprise when he put the gloss on a terrific individual performance with the winning goal 14 minutes before the final whistle.
By contrast to the rest of the contest, Leeds, who are now without a win in five league games, started brightly then died a death.
Hull soon recovered from their lackadaisical start and thought they had taken the lead four minutes later when Leeds failed to clear their lines and Parkin rammed home the loose ball with a powerful left-foot volley from an acute angle.
However, referee Eddie Alderton's assistant adjudged the striker to have been in an offside position and awarded a free-kick to Blackwell's men.
More dodgy Leeds defending then allowed Kevin Ellison to let rip with a dipping low drive which Neil Sullivan clung onto at the first attempt - albeit via Paul Butler's helpful deflection.
Leeds showed a modicum of improvement as the game wore on but, in similar vein to recent matches, found goalscoring chances hard to come by in a second half which was handicapped by a hailstorm shortly after the restart.
Sullivan could do nothing about Hull's winner which arrived on the back of a sustained spell of pressure on United's flimsy rearguard.
Green was afforded far too much space on the right flank and steered the ball towards Parkin, who sent Leeds back to West Yorkshire - and back to the drawing-board - with a fierce header past Sullivan after 76 minutes.
So where do we go from here? Not only have we thrown away that big promotion chance, but currently we are the side with the worst form of the chasing pack.
Worrying times indeed!
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|12. Sheff Wed||39||13||14||12||-4||53|
|13. Leeds Utd||39||14||10||15||-4||52|
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