Competition: Second Division.
Referee: Mr P.N.
Leeds United found much to encourage them when, with a team shorn of a huge chunk of experience by the absence of three established players, they fought a rousing battle with promotion-chasing Leicester City at Elland Road in May 1983. Manager Eddie Gray had to leave out skipper Paul Hart because of injury and dropped midfielder Kevin Hird and winger Arthur Graham. Against one of the Second Division’s strongest sides it was a brave decision by the United boss but the players he brought in, Tony Brown, Tommy Wright and Neil Aspin, did a fine job in a 2-2 draw. All three earned the praise of their manager afterwards. “They all played very well against a side so obviously in form but I felt the overall display of the team was very creditable too,” Gray said.
The inclusion of the twenty-four-year-old Brown so soon after having left minor league football with Thackley was a surprise but he settled in very well. Seventeen-year-old Wright, who had made a big impression on his debut a couple of weeks earlier when he scored, again underlined his potential with a tireless display and eighteen-year-old Aspin, back for his first full outing in seven weeks re-affirmed his promise.
United’s team had an average age
of twenty-two, even though they had thirty-five-year-old skipper David Harvey,
in their ranks, yet they managed to knock
After Gary Lineker had drawn a
good save out of David Harvey in the second minute and Martin Dickinson had had
to make a crucial last ditch tackle to rob Alan Smith, United snatched the lead
after twenty-five minutes. Andy Ritchie made it possible with a tricky piece of
work in the centre-circle and this led to Aidan Butterworth racing away and
when his through ball was taken up by Tommy Wright his shot across goal was
deflected into the net off
Alan Smith missed an open goal for Leicester, who were hampered by the twenty-fourth minute withdrawal of Gary Lineker through injury, and it was not until the seventieth minute that the visitors managed to draw level. Smith turned the ball in from close range following a low cross from Tom English, but a couple of minutes later this entertaining tussle saw United retake the lead with a well-struck penalty from Frank Gray after Andy Ritchie had been fouled by Paul Ramsey.
Alternate Report from YEP (Courtesy Mark Ledgard)
Eddie Gray dipped deeper into Leeds United’s
Youth pool, and turned out a side for the future, which gave promotion-minded
The goal was part of what looked like turning into an
afternoon of misery for
Paul Ramsey and Gwyn Thomas were booked as the momentum was built up by Leicester, but though Leeds were moving out of defence with refreshing fluency you had the feeling the determination of Leicester would pay off. Yet it was not until the seventieth minute they had real cause for hope. Then Alan Smith was quick to take advantage of a cross from Tom English, after a throw-in on the right, and he beat an hesitant David Harvey at the near post. It set off a three goal in six minutes spell. John Donnelly, producing a perfectly weighted thirty yard pass, put Andy Ritchie into a scoring position in the seventy-second minute, but the striker was brought down by Paul Ramsey and Frank Gray calmly side-footed the resulting penalty home. Four minutes later Ian Wilson’s corner was headed on by Tom English and Larry May moved in unchecked, twelve yards out, to score with a strong header. Just after David Harvey pulled off a masterly close-in save to deny Larry May a winner.
Match Action: (Courtesy Mark Ledgard)
Tony Brown filled in for Paul Hart John O’Neill conceded an own goal and Frank Gray scored a penalty for Leeds
Alan Smith and Larry May scored for
Neil Aspin and Tommy Wright both played well
Andy Ritchie was tripped by Paul Ramsey for the penalty