Date:Sunday December 20 2009
Leeds guaranteed top spot at Christmas with a hard fought 1-0 win over inform Southampton at a freezing cold Elland Road.
The win almost moved Leeds onto 50 points before Christmas and they are now four points clear at the top again after Charlton failed to win.
Leeds had a great chance early on when Beckford was played through but his scuffed shot went well wide.
In a first half when neither keeper had to make a save the best chances fell to Leeds just before half time. Firstly, a superb ball into the middle was met by the head of Becchio who headed over when he should have scored.
Beckford had another chance on the stroke of half time but his shot went wide.
Leeds started the second half on the front foot and Howson`s shot in the first minute of the second half looked destined for the top spot before a fantastic save by Bialkowski in the Southampton goal.
Leeds went close again within a minute when an excellent ball into the middle by Kilkenny agonisingly missed the onrushing strikers.
Patrick Kisnorbo and Ricky Lambert came to blows on the hour with both players receiving a yellow card.
Howson went close again for Leeds but his effort just went wide of the post.
Boss Simon Grayson decided to make changes with just under twenty minutes remaining, bringing on Max Gradel and Bradley Johnson for Jon Howson and Jermaine Beckford. Beckford looked shocked when his number was held up despite another poor performance; he slowly walked off the pitch before dismissing Grayson`s handshake and storming straight off the pitch.
Grayson`s decision was quickly justified when Max Gradel who is about 4`11" won something that Beckford hadn`t wanted to win all afternoon, a header.
In a very tight battle it was always going to take something special to win the game and that came just inside the final fifteen minutes when a poor clearance by former Leeds defender Dan Harding fell to Andy Hughes he played in Snodgrass who turned inside onto his right foot and his curling effort nestled in the top corner.
This brought Southampton out of their shell who had surprisingly looked happy to play for a point most of the afternoon.
Ricky Lambert went close in injury time when his shot beat Ankergren and went just wide of the far post.
Southampton had one final chance to claim a point when Harding`s shot went just wide of the post which was followed immediately by the full time whistle.
A great three points for Leeds who now go into the Christmas period with a clear advantage at the top.
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Date:Sunday December 20 2009
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