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 Wednesday, 1 January, 2003, 16:52 GMT
Leeds sink Birmingham
Bakke heads Leeds into the lead
Eirik Bakke (right) put Leeds in front
Leeds 2-0 Birmingham

Eirik Bakke and Mark Viduka scored as Leeds gained their third successive Premiership win at the expense of Birmingham City.

Steve Bruce's injury-ravaged side were left cursing their finishing as they enjoyed the better of the first half, but trailed to Bakke's early header.

Leeds were never on top form, but once Viduka made it 2-0 with his 66th-minute header, Terry Venables' side took control of the game.

Key moments
6 mins: Eirik Bakke puts Leeds in front
23 mins: Paul Robinson saves from Clinton Morrison
66 mins: Mark Viduka doubles Leeds' advantage

Venables made one change to the team which beat Chelsea at the weekend, with Ian Harte replacing the injured Teddy Lucic, while Bruce had to make a host of changes to his side.

The Blues were aiming to end a run of three games without a win, but their hopes took a knock early on as Leeds took the lead after six minutes.

Viduka headed Gary Kelly's cross back across the six-yard box and Bakke rose to head past Nico Vaesen.

You cannot be unhappy with 13 out of 15 points, but I just hope we can keep it going

Leeds United manager Terry Venables

Leeds, whose recent form at Elland Road has been patchy at best, began well, giving Birmingham few chances.

But the visitors fashioned a decent chance on 12 minutes, when Damien Johnson's curling effort forced Paul Robinson to tip over.

Birmingham were thankful for Viduka's wasteful finishing shortly afterwards as the Australian headed wide with the goal at his mercy.

And the Blues should have equalised on 23 minutes when Clinton Morrison shot from six yards after being put through by Paul Devlin, but Robinson blocked his effort.

Bruce would have been happy with the way his side worked to come back into the game, although chances for both sides were at a premium.

Damien Johnson had the best opportunity on the stroke of half-time, but he was denied by Robinson.

The second half began in scrappy style, although Vaesen saved well from Harry Kewell's shot after 49 minutes.

I think the whole ground knew we should have had a penalty in those first few minutes

Birmimgham manager Steve Bruce

Vaesen was in action again 10 minutes later, saving with his feet from a Bakke drive, but Leeds did not have to wait long to make another breakthrough.

The nerves of the home fans were settled as Viduka headed home Gary Kelly's cross on 66 minutes.

Birmingham threw everything forward in the closing stages as they tried to come back, but the second goal settled Leeds, and they defended their lead comfortably.



Leeds: Robinson, Kelly, Woodgate, Mills, Harte, Smith, Bakke (Milner 73), Okon, Wilcox, Viduka, Kewell.
Subs Not Used: Martyn, Seth Johnson, Duberry, Fowler.

Booked: Smith.

Birmingham: Vaesen, Kenna, Michael Johnson (Horsfield 63), Hutchinson, Grainger (Powell 70), Devlin, Cisse, Savage, Damien Johnson, Kirovski, Morrison.
Subs Not Used: Bennett, Hughes, Woodhouse.

Booked: Savage, Grainger.

Attendance: 40,034.

Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).

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 ON THIS STORY
 BBC Five Live's Charlie Lambert
"Leeds struggled to establish control"
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