Memory Match: Leeds United 1-0 Manchester City

A classic clash from the 1992/93 campaign.

MAN CITY 1.jpg

After a mid-season break, Leeds United return to league action on Wednesday when they welcome Premier League champions, Manchester City to Elland Road. Ben Scott goes back to the 1992/93 season, to take us through a memorable match against our upcoming opponents.

Peter Reid, the then-City player/manager, brought City over the Pennines for a War-of-the-Roses clash on Saturday 13 March, and returned without any points, nor a goal and never really looking like breaking defending champions Leeds’ resolve. This despite Leeds handing rare starts to David Kerslake at right-back, David Rocastle on the right of midfield and striker Frank Strandli.

Leaving LS11 beaten wasn’t a rare thing for visiting teams - only seven from Leeds’ last 78 league games at home had seen them defeated, an impressive record they had attained under manager Howard Wilkinson.

The 30,840 fans packed into Elland Road were optimistic they would see another good display from the hosts. Leeds hadn’t let a goal in at home in the last four league fixtures and despite Kerslake slotting in on the right, the other changes Wilkinson was forced into making meant the City attacking line couldn’t find a pathway to success.

Both teams lined up in what was the very familiar 4-4-2 sytem of that era, but it was Leeds’ four in midfield consisting of title winners David Batty and Gary Speed and England internationals Steve Hodge and David Rocastle that held the upper hand. The classy quartet gave a first line of cover for the defence and started the Leeds attacks for forwards Rod Wallace and Strandli.

The only goal of the game was aided by City’s Keith Curle, having a moment to forget as he assisted Leeds. The move started with the home side attacking on their left and as they swung in a dangerous cross via Hodge, Curle had a moment of madness as he misjudged the whole situation and jumped up in his penalty box.

His tame header sent the ball sideways for the unmarked Rocastle, positioned just outside the six-yard box. He unleashed a first-time, volleyed shot that swerved sweetly and travelled with great pace, leaving City ‘keeper Tony Coton well beaten. It was a goal well worthy of winning a match.

The late David “Rocky” Rocastle, a two-time title winner at Arsenal had joined Leeds for £2m in the pre-season and despite already playing three times in European games for Leeds, and winning the Charity Shield, he didn’t start in the league until Arsenal visited Leeds in the November.

Rocky was quickly joined by teammates Batty and Strandli as he celebrated his first goal for the Whites. For the rest of the half, Leeds just couldn’t quite find the clinical edge to muster a second goal, despite some good build-up play, with Wallace and Strandli keeping the City backs often looking rather nervous!

At the other end, John Lukic was often a bystander, with little needed from him. He would be needed once and that was in the second half when Mike Sheron latched onto a through ball and drove forward. After looking for options he finally decided he would dig a shot out, sending it low to the right of Lukic, who read the attacker’s idea well and tipped the ball away, then smothered it before any more danger could unfold, meaning the home side claimed the victory they had worked hard for.

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