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John Murray reports
"Leeds' first win in six weeks leaves Wednesday in a parlous position"
 real 28k

Owls' interim manager Peter Shreeves
"I have to put on the optimistic hat"
 real 28k

Sunday, 30 April, 2000, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
Owls stuffed by rejuvenated Leeds

Hopkin (left) secured Sheffield Wednesday's fate
Sheffield Wednesday 0-3 Leeds

Sheffield Wednesday slipped ever closer to Nationwide League football next year after crashing to a home defeat against Leeds.

It took just 40 seconds for David Hopkin to fire the visitors ahead, with an inspired goal apiece for Michael Bridges and Harry Kewell after the interval to finish the cull.
Match facts
1 min: Hopkin strikes Leeds' first
25 mins: Bakke booked for late tackle
53 mins: Bridges makes it 2-0
68 mins: Kewell chips in a third

The result brings to an end Leeds' eight match run without a win and makes the Owls' protracted struggle for Premiership survival all but mathematically over.

Leeds started in the best possible way with a goal less than a minute into the match.

A poor clearance header by Des Walker found its way to Bridges, who somehow managed to poke the ball out sideways to Hopkin while on his knees and surrounded by three Wednesday defenders.

The under-utilised Scottish midfielder had only the keeper to beat and sidefooted home for his first league goal of the season.

The Owls almost equalised five minutes later when Alan Quinn then Wim Jonk tested Nigel Martyn in the visitors' goal.

Wednesday threatened again after quarter-of-an-hour when Gilles de Bilde bisected Marcus Radebe and Michael Duberry to close on the Leeds goal.
Harry Kewell
Kewell (right) scored the goal of the match

Duberry turned and chased back, putting in a textbook tackle as the Belgian international attempted his shot. A penalty appeal was turned down.

The match settled down into an inconclusive, slightly scrappy contest, with Eirik Bakke earning the only booking of the game for a late tackle.

Kewell came within inches of making it 2-0 on the half-hour when he skinned Walker in a 30-yard dash to get in an angled shot that slid just past the right post.

The first half petered out with little action of note and the second half looked to be heading into a morass of frustrating midfield doodling when Bridges produced a piece of individual magic that reignited the match.

Kewell's sublime goal

Seizing hold of a loose ball in the Wednesday area, he curved it sweetly round the diving keeper to double Leeds' advantage on 53 minutes.

And if that had the visitors' fans gasping, Kewell's sublimely casual goal 15 minutes later left Bridge's effort for dead.

The Australian star's pace had created any number of problems for the Owls defence and their close marking may have been the deciding factor when he chose not to run it from the top of the area.

Instead, he chipped the ball over the advancing defenders and found the infinitesimally small gap between Kevin Pressman's outstretched finger tips and the underside of the bar - 3-0.

Pressman produced an outstanding reflex save a minute from time off a shot by Danny Mills to prevent a four-goal rout, but the result was still enough to almost certainly consign Sheffield Wednesday to the drop.

Teams

Sheff Wed: Pressman, Nolan, Atherton, Walker, Hinchcliffe, Alexandersson, Jonk, Horne, Quinn, Booth, De Bilde.
Subs: Sonner, Sibon, Briscoe, Haslam, Srnicek.

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

Referee: R Harris (Oxford)

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