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Saturday, October 30, 1999 Published at 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK


Harte breaks Hammers

Woodgate of Leeds finds no way past West Ham's Kitson and Wanchope

Leeds 1-0 West Ham

Leeds moved two points clear at the top of the Premiership table as Ian Harte's excellent second half goal gave them victory over another of the early season form teams, West Ham.


The BBC's Stuart Hall: "The final whistle was relief for Leeds"
Harte broke the deadlock after 57 minutes of a dull game that up to that stage had seemed destined to remain goalless.

But while this was a far from vintage performance from Leeds' highly-rated youngsters, manager David O'Leary will be delighted that his team did enough to win and consolidate their position at the head of the table.

For the Hammers, though, it was a sorry end to a disappointing week in which they had also lost at Liverpool.

Harry Redknapp's men, who started the season so promisingly, have now lost five league games on their travels.

Kewell the class act

The first real chance in a scrappy match fell to Harry Kewell after 19 minutes.

Gary Kelly whipped a teasing cross from the right and the Australian star, who found himself completely unmarked in the area, ballooned his header over the bar.

Kewell then unleashed a crashing 25-yard drive that Hammers keeper Shaka Hislop did well to turn away with an athletic one-handed save.

Indeed, Kewell was the one player on show in the first half who looked capable of bringing the crowd to their feet and his curling, first-time lob again brought the best out of Hislop.

Frustration mounts

Leeds continued to dominate possession after half-time, without ever looking like making the breakthrough.

But just when they were beginning to become frustrated, the elusive goal arrived.

With virtually had every West Ham player behind the ball, Lee Bowyer picked out Harte on the far edge of the area with a right wing cross.

The Republic of Ireland international controlled the ball and then sent a rasping right-foot drive between two defenders and past the flailing of Hislop for his third goal of the season.

With Leeds roused by the goal, substitute Darren Huckerby nearly added a second in the 70th minute.

The ex-Coventry striker linked with Bridges, only to see his right-foot shot flash within an inch of the far post.

Just when the points looked to have been secured, the Hammers suddenly burst into life and Leeds had to survive a torrid final 10 minutes.

Home keeper Nigel Martyn, who had had nothing to do for 81 minutes, produced a critical save low to his left to beat away a Frank Lampard free-kick from 22 yards.

The pressure on the Leeds goal continued in the closing stages - but they hung on to finally secure the victory and take their unbeaten run to 12 games.

Teams:

Leeds: Martyn, Kelly, Radebe, Woodgate, Harte, Bowyer, Batty, McPhail, Kewell, Smith, Bridges. Subs: Hopkin, Huckerby, Mills, Bakke, Robinson.

West Ham: Hislop, Margas, Ferdinand, Ruddock, Lomas, Foe, Lampard, Moncur, Keller, Wanchope, Kitson. Subs: Potts, Carrick, Cole, Newton, Forrest.

Referee: G Poll (Tring)



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