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 Saturday, 21 December, 2002, 16:55 GMT
Fernandes rescues Saints
Leeds' Harry Kewell (standing) breaks away from Fabrice Fernandez of Southampton
Harry Kewell opened the scoring for Leeds
Leeds 1-1 Southampton

A bizarre free-kick by Fabrice Fernandes ensured that Leeds' winless run at Elland Road continued as Southampton earned a deserved draw.

Fernandes' looping 40-yarder in the 89th minute deceived Paul Robinson and crept into the net to cancel out Harry Kewell's 74th-minute opener for Leeds.

Although Leeds ended their five-match losing streak at home, they are without a win at Elland Road since 14 September and the pressure remains on Terry Venables.

Saints were left thankful for a point as their solid first-half display looked likely to yield nothing until Fernandes' late intervention.

Venables' only change from the team which thrashed Bolton 3-0 on Monday saw the introduction of Alan Smith for suspended midfielder Eirik Bakke.

I am a bit disappointed we got ourselves into a winning position and we never took contol

Eddie Gray
Leeds assistant manager

Although unbeaten in their last four Premiership games, Southampton's previous four trips to Elland Road had yielded four defeats with no goals scored.

But in the first half, their bad run in West Yorkshire seemed in little danger of continuing, with goalkeeper Antti Niemi rarely troubled in a scrappy half.

Saints had very much the better of the few chances against their lacklustre opponents.

Although Leeds began well, with Robbie Fowler's early left-foot drive flying wide of the goal, the visitors should have taken the lead on 14 minutes.

An unchallenged Brett Ormerod headed over from inside the six-yard box after Matt Oakley's fine cross.

Aside from a deflected Ian Harte free-kick, Leeds offered little to suggest they would repeat their Bolton goal bonanza.

Saints were left cursing their luck when, after a flowing move, Paul Telfer crossed beautifully for Ormerod, who blasted the ball against the Leeds crossbar.

Robinson had to save with his legs from James Beattie and Ormerod headed wide as Southampton finished the half strongly.

I've a good group with good confidence not arrogance

Gordon Strachan
Southampton boss

But the visitors were to be made to pay for failing to capitalise on their domination.

Venables brought Mark Viduka on for the ineffectual Robbie Fowler shortly after half-time, and the Australian brought an urgency which Leeds had previously lacked.

Soon after the substitution, Kewell forced a brilliant save from Niemi and Viduka also tested the Saints stopper.

Leeds came even closer on 62 minutes when Matt Oakley deflected a Kewell shot on to the post but there was no escape for Saints 12 minutes later.

Jonathan Woodgate headed a Harte corner on to the post, but the rebounded fell to Kewell who thundered the ball home.

Robinson had already saved a Beattie shot and Southampton continued to create half-chances.

Yet no-one would have predicted their bizarre late equaliser, which heaped more misery on the Elland Road faithful.

Leeds: Robinson, Mills, Woodgate, Lucic, Harte, Kelly, Okon, Wilcox, Smith, Fowler (Viduka 53), Kewell.
Subs Not Used: Martyn, Seth Johnson, Duberry, Milner.

Southampton: Niemi, Telfer, Lundekvam, Michael Svensson, Bridge, Fernandes, Delap, Oakley, Marsden (Anders Svensson 83), Beattie, Ormerod (Tessem 62).
Subs Not Used: Jones, Williams, Davies.

Booked: Marsden.

Attendance: 36,687

Referee: C Foy (Merseyside).

 BBC Five Live's Peter Slater
"Leeds were awful in the first half"
 Leeds assistant manager Eddie Gray
"It's not been too bad a week for us"
 Southampton boss Gordon Strachan
"The performance got better as the game went on"
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