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banner Tuesday, 31 October, 2000, 23:20 GMT
Tranmere 3-2 Leeds (aet)
Parkinson: Fires home his last-gap winner
Super sub Andy Parkinson fired Tranmere into the fourth round of the Worthington Cup to sink David O'Leary's injury-ravaged Leeds United.

Rovers boss John Aldridge has apparently offered his resignation twice already this season only to have it rejected by the Tranmere board, a decision which was fully vindicated and justified at Prenton Park on Tuesday night.

Tranmere had won one of their last seven First Division games going into this match and appeared to be down and out at the break as Darren Huckerby stepped out of the Elland Road shadows to fire home a first-half brace.

But Aldridge bravely gambled, throwing Parkinson on early in the second half, with the tricky right winger pulling one back with his first touch and then netting a dramatic winner just 25 seconds from the end of extra time.


On the back of an exhausting Yorkshire derby at Bradford, and with key matches against Liverpool in the Premiership and AC Milan in the Champions League looming, extra time was the last thing Leeds manager David O'Leary needed.

The Irishman will undoubtedly be devastated by the way his side capitulated in the second half to allow Rovers back into the game.

The game appeared to be dead and buried at the break thanks to the two goals from Huckerby, given his chance by O'Leary who had decided to rest eight-goal leading scorer Alan Smith.

The 4.5m signing from Coventry early last season, who has strugled to find his form in recent months, did not disappoint on this occasion as he took his career goals tally at Leeds to six.

Huckerby's brace came in the space of 10 minutes - the 25th and 34th - as he first drilled an eight-yard drive underneath goalkeeper Joe Murphy before rifling home a scintillating 15-yarder.


But Aldridge's Birkenhead battlers ensured O'Leary's side spent the majority of that second 45 minutes encamped inside their own half.

The turning point was the 50th-minute arrival of Parkinson for Stuart Barlow, and within seconds came the reward as the right winger left keeper Paul Robinson rooted to the spot with an 18-yard drive for his first goal of the season.

The pressure and the chances which followed were relentless as the Leeds defence were often at sixes and sevens, and but for the magnificent Jonathan Woodgate then Tranmere could have had a hatful.

The equalising breakthrough eventually came in the 76th minute and even though shrouded in good fortune it was thoroughly deserved.

Parkinson swung over a corner which was met at the near post by a Wayne Allison flick and although Robinson was beaten, Gary Kelly was on hand to clear off the line.

But to the sheer delight of the Tranmere fans the ball hit Steve Yates, standing on the six-yard line, on the legs and rolled over the line.

Extra-time unsurprisingly lacked the edge of the second half but there was still time for one last moment of drama, with Parkinson the hero as Robinson was again left rooted as the winner took a double deflection on its way into the net.

Tranmere: Murphy, Yates, Roberts, Challinor, Hill, Hamilton, Flynn, Hinds, Koumas, S. Taylor, Barlow. Subs: Achterberg, Parkinson, Gill, Allison, Hazell.

Leeds: Robinson, Kelly, Harte, Woodgate, Matteo, Hay, Burns, Jones, Bakke, Viduka, Huckerby. Subs: Radebe, Smith, Milosevic, Evans, Hackworth.

Referee: R Styles

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