Date: Tuesday, 8th October 1985.
League Cup, Second Round, Second Leg.
0 Leeds United 3.
Nil. Leeds United: Linighan, Snodin (2).
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Walsall: Cherry; Jones, Mower; Naughton, Hart, Hawker; Childs, Cross, OíKelly,
Elliott, Daley (Jones).
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Leeds United: Day; Irwin, Phelan; I.
Snodin, Linighan, Dickinson
(McCluskey); Ritchie, Sheridan, Baird, Lorimer, Hamson.
Referee: Mr N. J.
Ashley (Nantwich, Cheshire).
Despite this comprehensive victory the axe fell on Eddie
Gray four days later, severing his managerial reign and a twenty-two-year
association with the club. The board voted 6-2 in favour of his dismissal
because fourteenth place in Division Two was not good enough for a club of Unitedís stature. Although they did not know it at the time
his players, who condemned Grayís sacking, gave their
Manager the best possible send off. There was no hint of the behind-the-scenes
activity as United went about their business in Walsall
with purpose and panache.
Unsettled striker Andy Ritchie was a surprise recall to
first team duty when Leeds United
faced up to Walsall in the Milk Cup Second Round, Second
Leg away game in October 1985. It was midfield man Ian Snodin,
who was being touted as a future England
player, that took the honours by scoring twice as
United triumphed 3-0 to qualify for a home Third Round tie against Aston Villa.
There was also an eye-catching performance from young full-back Terry Phelan,
who had only made his debut a month earlier.
Having been held by Third Division Walsall to a shock
goalless draw in the home leg of the Second Round tie, United, then in the
lower half of the Second Division, were tipped as potential victims of a
giant-killing act. Confidence had not been helped by the fact that they went
into the second leg on the back of a 3-1 away defeat by local rivals Huddersfield Town.
But they got off to an encouraging start when central defender Andy Linighan fired home from close range after goalkeeper Steve
Cherry failed to gather John Sheridanís centre after just ten minutes.
With skipper Peter Lorimer
spraying the ball around and the willing legs of Ian Snodin
and John Sheridan giving good support to the old maestro, United looked a solis
and efficient unit. Andy Linighan and his central
defensive partner Martin Dickinson coped comfortably enough with most of the
high balls Walsall pumped over, and with Gary Hamson and John Sheridan tackling hard in midfield and
Ritchie and Ian Baird battling effectively up front, Walsall
found it difficult to make much of an impact on the game. It was Sheridanís
efforts in midfield that enabled Ian Snodin to get
forward more and after a mistake by Peter Hart, he raced away with a fine run
to fire in a superb angled twenty-two yard shot in the fortieth minute to put
United 2-0 up and emphasise Unitedís control.
As the second half got underway Mervyn Day, who had been
signed from Aston Villa as a replacement for David Harvey, had to make a good
save from Gary Childs but United quickly regained their composure and there
were no more anxious moments for the keeper after half-time and United were
cruising long before the end.. Andy Ritchie had a goal ruled out for offside
after a great run by Ian Baird, who later had a volley turned over the bar. The
seal was set on Unitedís victory after eighty-one
minutes when Ian Snodinís quickness got him the
better of both Paul Jones and Gary Childs as he squeezed in his second goal and
Unitedís third nine minutes from the end to underline
The team returned to Leeds in a happy
mood, but the atmosphere altered dramatically as Eddie Grayís
sacking was a few days after the Cup win. It ended a three and a half year
period in the Elland Road
hot seat and a twenty-two year association with the club he had joined as a
player straight from school in Glasgow.
Some of the younger players wept openly on hearing of the decision and despite
the teamís view that Gray should stay the board stood by their decision, but
one of them, Brian Woodward, resigned in disgust.
Alternate Reports (Courtesy Mark Ledgard)
First: Walsallís dreams of another money-spinning
Milk Cup run vanished with more of a surrender than a defeat at Fellows
Park in this game. Second Division
Leeds United cruised into the Third Round with an ease that must have amazed
them after the first leg goalless draw. Whereas the Saddlers played with
passion and skill at Elland
Road, they were outclassed and outfought in front
of their own stunned fans and lost 3-0. Walsall gave away two first half goals
through sloppy work in defence and that kind of generosity would have lifted
Rochdale let alone a side of Leedsí undoubted quality. Manager Alan Buckley did
not mince words. ďI have been at this club about thirteen years and know that
the fans donít mind seeing the team beaten, if the players have competed,Ē he
said. ďBut apart from the opening ten minutes, we did not play with any
competitiveness, fire or enthusiasm. All three goals were bad goals.Ē
Goalkeeper Steve Cherry spilled a simple cross from John Sheridan in the tenth
minute leaving Andy Linighan an empty net to shoot
into for the vital first goal. That seemed to unnerve the whole team, and
hard-working skipper Peter Hart gave the ball away to Ian Snodin,
who added the second four minutes from half time. Although Walsall
began to move forwards with greater poise at the start of the second half,
there were few genuine shots on target and the damage had been done. It was a
total anti-climax, so different to the kind of red-blooded performance people
have come to expect from the Saddlers when a bit of Cup glory is available. Leedsí
third goal nine minutes from the end hardly mattered, but came because two
players hesitated with a chance to clear and the impressive Ian Snodin scored again. The Saddlers were lacking in direction
from midfield, in stark contrast to their opponents for whom
thirty-eight-year-old Peter Lorimer showed
enthusiasm, drive and grit.
And secondly: Two goals by Ian Snodin
and one from Andy Linighan gave Leeds United an
emphatic victory over renowned Milk Cup giant-killers Walsall at Fellows Park
in this game. From the moment Andy Linighan crashed a
tenth minute shot into the roof of the net after goalkeeper Steve Cherry had
dropped a John Sheridan cross, Leeds were in full control to lift the gloom
surrounding a patchy start to the season. They added a killer second goal
through Ian Snodin four minutes before half time and
the same player squeezed home the third nine minutes from time following Peter Lorimerís deep free-kick. Lorimer
was the steadying influence in midfield and United were so much on top that
goalkeeper Mervyn Day had only a couple of anxious moments, both coming during
Walsallís spirited start to the second half. Steve Cherry partly made up for
his earlier error by keeping out efforts from Peter Lorimer
and Ian Snodin, while Snodin
and Andy Ritchie were inches off target from the edge of the box. But Ian Snodin got his sights right in no uncertain terms when he
cracked home the second with a fierce right foot shot from twenty-five yards
after a series of slips in the home defence. Mervyn Day then had to dive at
Willie Naughtonís feet as the rain lashed down in the
second half and Richard OíKelly and substitute David
Kelly failed to trouble him from good chances. But Leeds
turned on the attacking style almost at will, Andy Ritchie having an effort
disallowed for offside and Ian Baird seeing a shot defected just off target.
Ian Snodinís second goal and his sideís third came as
United finished in total command with hopes high that they could at last
progress beyond the second hurdle of one of the countryís domestic Cup
competitions for the first time in six years. Peter Lorimer
and Ian Baird were booked for reckless tackles along with Walsallís
Steve Daley and Ken Mower.
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Match Action: (Courtesy Mark Ledgard)
Walsallís Steve Elliott puts
effort into a challenge
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Andy Linighan and Ian
Snodin (2) scored the Leeds goals††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
Andy Ritchie got a surprise recall
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John Sheridanís shot led to Unitedís
first goal††††††† Martin Dickinson coped
with ease†††††††††††††††† Ian Baird
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Mervyn Day saved well from Gary Childs††††††††††††††††††††††††† Peter Hart and Gary
Childs were beaten by Ian Snodinís pace
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Steve Cherry was at fault with Unitedís first††††††††††
Gary Hamson tackled hard in midfield