LUFC Memory Match: Leeds 4-0 Sheffield United 1990
Leeds United 4-0 Sheffield United 16th April 1990
In this weeks memory match against our next opponents I go back to the promotion winning season of 1989/90 when both sides were locked in a season long battle at the top of the table.
I actually contemplated the Leeds win at Elland Road two seasons earlier when they usually useless John Pearson scored a hat trick in a 5-0 win but as far as importance counted then the game in April 1990 just had to be the one.
The two sides had already met at Bramall Lane on Boxing Day and the fans witnessed a close fought out encounter with the points being shared in a 2-2 draw.
That game will probably be best remembered for Mel 'Zico` Sterland scoring an unstoppable 40-yard free kick to open the scoring for Leeds.
Back to the game in 1990 and on a nice spring afternoon on Easter Monday a season high attendance of nearly 33,000 crammed into Elland Road.
Leeds went into the game on the back of picking up just two points in their previous four games and had seen a ten point gap at the top of the table whittled down to just three points in the space of three weeks.
Sheffield United also had a game in hand so might have been happy if they could have left Elland Road with a point.
Elland Road had become a fortress during the season with Leeds unbeaten at home, winning fourteen and drawing six of their games played.
Leeds started well and Vinnie Jones caused havoc in the middle when Simon Tracey in the Sheffield goal fumbled his cross shot, firstly Bobby Davison and then Lee Chapman saw shots blocked by Tracey.
Leeds eventually took the lead on seventeen minutes when a flick on by Gary Speed put Gordon Strachan through on goal. Tracey came racing off his line to block Strachan as the Leeds captain tried to go round the keeper. His block fell to the in rushing Chris Kamara who saw his effort blocked on the line by Paul Stancliffe; his efforts were in vain as Strachan was on hand to tap in the rebound.
It wasn`t until the final sixteen minutes of the second half that Leeds doubled their lead. A young Gary Speed raced down the left hand side and cut the ball back for Chapman who had the easiest of finishes inside the six-yard box.
Leeds had obviously worked on something to get under the skin of Tracey in the Sheffield United goal. In the reverse game at Bramall Lane Carl Shutt had gone to block any attempted clearances by the keeper and at Elland Road it was no different with Bobby Davison getting under his skin.
Tracey finally lost the plot when after Davison ran across the front of Tracey as he attempted to clear the ball the keeper hauled the Leeds striker to the ground to concede the softest of penalties.
Gordon Strachan coolly beat Tracey from the spot to score his second of the afternoon and make it 3-0.
Leeds rounded off a perfect afternoon when they hit Sheffield United on the break.
Chris Kamara put in a strong tackle to come away with the ball on the edge of the Leeds box and his ball down the left channel set Speed on his way.
Speed left the defence for dead before drilling a low left footed shot across Tracey to make it 4-0.
The final whistle saw scenes of delight as Leeds fans invaded the pitch as they thought promotion was all but assured.
Being Leeds United though things are never done easily and they threw away leads in their next two games and ended up picking up just a point after being held 2-2 at Brighton and losing their first home game of the season when relegation threatened Barnsley scored two late goals in a 2-1 victory.
Those results meant Sheffield United were now just a point behind Leeds at the top with a game in hand and Newcastle had closed the gap in third place and were now just two points adrift.
Sheffield United could only manage a point from their game in hand in a 0-0 draw at Blackburn and Leeds managed to get their acts together for the final two games.
In two nerve gangling games, Leeds managed to beat Leicester at home 2-1 thanks to a late winner from Strachan and then on the final day of the season a solitary headed goal by Lee Chapman was enough to beat Bournemouth on a sun baked Bank Holiday weekend on the south coast.
Leeds eventually won the title on goal difference from Sheffield United with both sides finishing on 85 points, with Newcastle back in third, five points adrift.
Day, Sterland, Beglin, Fairclough, McClelland, Kamara, Jones, Strachan, Speed, Chapman, Davison (Shutt 83)
Tracey, Hill, Barnes, Booker, Stancliffe, Webster, Gannon (Woods 62), Whitehurst (Agana 52), Deane, Bryson, Morris
Referee: Alan Gunn
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