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The BBC's Steve Wilson reports
"The win means Leeds stay on the tails of Man Utd"
 real 28k

Eirik Bakke
"It was great to get my first league goals at home"
 real 28k

Sunday, 19 March, 2000, 17:38 GMT
Leeds stay in the hunt
Leeds continued their unstoppable form at Elland Road
Leeds 4-1 Wimbledon

Leeds closed the gap on Manchester United at the top of the Premiership to four points, with a convincing victory over Wimbledon.

Three times this month the reigning Premier League champions have posed questions about Leeds' title credentials, and three times the Yorkshire club have emphatically responded.

Leeds had run riot against Czech League leaders Slavia Prague in Thursday's quarter-final first-leg tie, although it then appeared as if the tiredness feared by the players had finally set in.

Harry Kewell is denied by Neil Sullivan
After five clean sheets in their previous six matches, which included keeping the might of Roma at bay in two matches, Leeds were caught napping after just 115 seconds.

Wimbledon's goal was simply crafted and powerfully executed as Marcus Gayle whipped in a delivery from the left wing for Jason Euell to fire beyond the grasp of Nigel Martyn for his fifth goal of the season.

The goal shook Leeds and they looked completely out of sorts in the next few minutes. But once they awoke, they never looked back.

Although Neil Sullivan produced three great saves in the space of 10 minutes to keep Wimbledon in the game, it looked only a matter of time before Leeds made the breakthrough.

Floodgates open

A clean through Michael Bridges was first kept at bay, prior to Harry Kewell twice being denied.

The Australian international then conjured up an acrobatic overhead volley after Alfie Haaland had sliced Ian Harte's free-kick, but again Sullivan showed his agility with the stop.

There was little he could do for Leeds' opener in the 23rd minute, however, as Bakke finally scored his first Premiership goal of the season - his other four having all come in the FA Cup.

It then took just five minutes for Leeds to grab the go-ahead goal courtesy of striker target Carl Cort's moment of madness in his own area, with the 22-year-old eventually subbed at the break.

Cort inexplicably decided to handle a corner from David Hopkin. Referee Alan Wiley waved away all the protests and up stepped left-back Harte to send Sullivan the wrong way from the spot for his eighth of the season.

Six minutes from the break came the move of the game and the goal which sealed United's fifth successive victory, leaving the Dons continuing to sweat over their top flight future.

Hopkin found McPhail wide on the left, with the Irishman's low ball to the near post delightfully steered past a despairing Sullivan by Bakke's first time right-foot shot.

Tenacious Dons

Egil Olsen's side could easily have caved in after the break and been beaten by a cricket score, but the Dons still showed traces of their old tenacious selves despite the changes both on and off the field over the seasons.

They at least defended more resolutely at times in the second half and this allowed them to create chances, with Andreas Lund narrowly firing wide, while Martyn was forced to make point-blank saves from Euell and Marcus Gayle.

But Leeds were not to be denied a fourth and after Kewell had struck the post in the 80th minute, he deservedly dealt the final blow three minutes later.

Alan Smith, on for Bridges moments later, sent United's star striker away and clear, and after leaving Chris Willmott on the seat of his shorts, he then fired inside Sullivan for his 13th of the campaign.


Leeds: Martyn, Kelly, Haaland, Radebe, Harte, Bakke, Hopkin, McPhail, Wilcox, Kewell, Bridges.
Subs: Huckerby, Robinson, Smith, Jones, Duberry.

Wimbledon: Sullivan, Cunningham, Ardley, Willmott, Kimble, Euell, Earle, Cort, Gayle, Andersen, Lund.
Subs: Blackwell, Heald, Hughes, Badir, Andresen.

Referee: A Wiley (Burntwood)

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