Neighbours twist the knife into Venables

 

Sheffield Utd ... 2 Leeds Utd ... 1 Two goals in the last minute dramatically turned the tide against an increasingly troubled Terry Venables and his declining Leeds team who were sent to another defeat, this one as bitter as any because it was delivered by lower-stationed Yorkshire rivals.

Phil Jagielka and Peter Ndlovu were the men to strike just in time to ensure joy for Sheffield United and more misery for the humbled Premiership side.

The First Division team's renaissance this season under Neil Warnock meant this was a demanding challenge for Leeds, not least because the Premiership side have had little to smile about in recent weeks.

Leeds were bracing themselves for an opening of blood and thunder from their hosts but it failed to materialise when it became clear that United had made the elementary mistake of offering Leeds too much respect.

Without having to extend themselves Leeds looked the more threatening. Danny Mills tested the handling skills of Paddy Kenny, while Nick Barmby and Lee Bowyer combined well only for the latter's cross to fall behind Mark Viduka.

The opener came through the sort of good fortune Leeds have been missing this season. Jason Wilcox and Harry Kewell combined well on the left flank before Wilcox delivered a teasing cross towards the far post. There seemed little danger, with no Leeds player within reach of the ball, but the United centre-back Steve Yates endured a moment of madness and stabbed the ball past a dumbfounded Kenny in trying to clear his lines.

A rousing team-talk was required from Warnock at the interval and the start of the second half suggested he had delivered one. Michael Tonge blasted a free-kick inches wide of Paul Robinson's goal before weaving through midfield to create an opening for Wayne Allison, but with a clutch of Leeds defenders closing in, he could only direct his shot straight into Robinson's grateful arms. When Michael Brown squandered another fine opening to equalise with 20 minutes remaining, the home challenge appeared to have fizzled out.

Then came the two late strikes which leaves Venables under severe pressure.

SHEFFIELD UNITED (4-4-2): Kenny; Jagielka, Murphy, Page, Yates; Montgomery (Ndlovu, 57), McCall, Brown, Tonge; Asaba (Peschisolido, 63), Allison.

LEEDS UNITED (4-4-2): Robinson; Mills, Woodgate (Duberry, 63), Lucic, Harte; Barmby, Bowyer, Bakke, Wilcox; Kewell, Viduka.

Referee: J Winter.