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The BBC's Dave Woods
"Leeds have done the job"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 3 May, 2000, 20:36 GMT 21:36 UK
Leeds edge towards Europe

Michael Duberry celebrates his first-half goal
Leeds 3-1 Watford

Leeds cruised to a comfortable win over relegated Watford to greatly improve their chances of a Champions League place next season.

Leicester's simultaneous 2-0 victory over Liverpool at Anfield boosts the Elland Road outfit to third in the Premiership.
Match facts
20 mins: Leeds go ahead with Bridges' strike
25 mins: Foley pulls one back for Watford
45 mins: Duberry makes it 2-1
52 mins: Huckerby conjures Leeds' third

The home side went ahead through a Michael Bridges strike after 20 minutes, but Watford fought back in style to equalise through Dominic Foley.

Michael Duberry struck a vital second on the stroke of half-time to restore Leeds' advantage, then Darren Huckerby conjured a superb solo effort to wrap the match up after the interval.

Watford continue to play like a team fighting relegation rather than already consigned to the drop and they made most of the early running.

But it was the home side that produced the first tangible chance when Huckerby broke down the right and crossed for Bridges, who sent the ball over the crossbar.

He made no such mistake with his next opportunity when Stephen McPhail's cross found its way to Bridges and the striker hit a swinging piledriver from top left edge of the area that ended in the back of the net.
Darren Huckerby
Individual magic: Darren Huckerby's goal

Leeds enjoyed the advantage for exactly five minutes before a bit of Watford adventure brought the two sides back to level terms.

David Perpetuini's looping cross from the left found Heidar Helguson at the far side of the area, where the Icelander nodded the ball down for Foley to volley past the keeper from eight yards.

A mutinous silence fell over Elland Road as the game dissolved into a series of end-to-end skirmishes.

Watford came closest to breaking the deadlock on 34 mins when Foley was only denied his second by yet more heroics from Nigel Martyn in the Leeds goal.

A hard tackle by Micah Hyde and an overreaction from Bridges earned them both bookings two minutes later.

Watford starved

It looked as if Watford were going to make it to the interval on well-deserved parity.

But a McPhail free-kick from the left of the area seconds from half-time found Duberry at the far post and the big centre-half sent a rocket into the roof of the net.

Leeds bossed the game from the restart, and Harry Kewell's cross from deep on the left nearly found Bridges at the near post, but the keeper knocked it clear.

The home side did not have to wait long for their third, however, as Huckerby produced a spellbinding piece of individual brilliance to turn Robert Page inside-out and stroke the ball past Chris Day.

Leeds began to dominate in terms of both possession and territory and it was a telling statistics that Watford had to wait until after the hour for their first shot on goal, a tame strike by Helguson.

Watford lacked nothing for dogged determination as they stretched themselves to keep out the relentless barrage from Harry Kewell, Bridges, McPhail and latterly Jonathan Woodgate.

Watford produced one last good strike from Foley, but it was saved again by Martyn as Leeds finished comfortable winners.


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

Watford: Day, Cox, Page, Ward, Robinson, Foley, Hyde, Palmer, Perpetuini, Helguson, Smith.
Subs: Mooney, Wooter, Gibbs, Bonnot, Chamberlain.

Referee: P Alcock (Halstead)

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See also:

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Links to other FA Carling Premiership stories are at the foot of the page.