Scunthorpe 0 Leeds United 2

Last updated : 04 January 2003 By Iron-Bru @ Glanford Park

The visit of Leeds United has captured the footballing public of North Lincolnshire, and this was shown today in Glanford Park being packed to the rafters around an hour before kick-off.

As the ground announcer encouraged the crowd to participate in mexican waves the players and staff of Leeds United could be forgiven for wondering what they were letting themselves in for, similar thoughts would be running through the minds of the Iron players when they saw the teamsheet!

Boss Terry Venables, just shy of his 60th Birthday, named a full strength side including established internationals such as Mark Viduka, Harry Kewell, Jonathan Woodgate, Alan Smith and Eirik Bakke.

As if that wasn't enough, his subs bench included the likes of Robbie Fowler. Well, we had Andy Parton....

Anyone who watched the opening 45 minutes without any prior knowledge of the two sides however wouldn't be able to tell you which side was three divisions above the over - with United putting in a tremdous performance to truly test the visiting defence.

Within the first minute the ball has fizzed in front of the Leeds goal, with Martin Carruthers lacking the pace to catch up with it.

From there the Iron went on to force nine corners before the break, in contrast to none from the Yorkshire side, but as ever only one statistic counts - the converted penalty in the 33rd minute.

Eirik Bakke was tripped from behind by Matt Sparrow, and although Bakke made the most of his `fall` there was enough contact for the referee to point to the spot. Australian international forward stepped up, and his spot kick sailed into the left hand corner to beat Evans comprehensively.

It could have been so different as Scunthorpe were the early pace makers and Matty Sparrow could have opened the scoring early doors when his shot was blocked by Bakke. Leeds replied immediately with Harry Kewell driving over.

Leeds missed a golden opportunity after 12 minutes, Harry Kewell crossed from the left to find the head of Mark Viduka who directed the ball well wide from six yards.

The Yorkshire side began to show a little more attacking enthusiasm and after Cliff Byrne broke up a move from Kewell, Tommy Evans was called into action for the first time in the 20th minute to save from Viduka.

After Leeds took the lead through Viduka's penalty conversion Paul Robinson was forced to backtrack to tip a cross-cum-shot from Lee Featherstone over the bar.

One surprise after the reversal was that left-back Andy Dawson returned, he was doubtful before the match with an ankle injury and aggravated this shortly before the break. Lee Ridley stripped off and warmed up ready to replace him, but wasn't called on.

The first clear chance of the second half was a free-kick attempt from Andy Dawson, which curled wide of Robinson's left hand post.

Kewell volleyed high over the bar after latching onto a clearance from Robinson, and should have done better with another header whcih he directed off target.

That signaled the way for Leeds and they grabbed a second in the 68th minute, when Viduka played the ball in for Bakke to put the tie beyond doubt - although United were down to ten men as Nathan Stanton was off the pitch receiving treatment for a bloodied nose.

Scunthorpe rallied briefly, and as the game drew to a conclusion Robinson had to show his international class to turn away a brilliant header from Carruthers.

The visiting defence was impregnable though, and despite lots of hard work from the midfield United weren't able to create any further clear-cut chances.

Although the result was slightly disappointing considering the first half performance, the Iron's players, fans and officials can hold their heads up high after giving Leeds one hell of a fight.

After the final whistle fans were treated to the sight of a pitch invasion - police horses, dogs and a squad of police fully decked in riot gear. All they did was watch the two sets of players off the pitch....

Pictures copyright Luke Thornhill & Press Association Images.