Date: Saturday, 10th February 1990.

Venue: Elland Road, Leeds.

Competition: Second Division.

Score: Leeds United 4 Hull City 3

Scorers: Leeds United: Hendrie, Jones, Varadi, Strachan. Hull City: Payton (2) Doyle.

Attendance: 29.977.


Leeds United: Day; Kamara, Beglin (O’Donnell); Jones, Fairclough, Haddock; Strachan, Batty, Chapman (Hilaire), Varadi, Hendrie.

Hull City: (Per Programme) Hesford; Buckley, Jacobs; Jobson, Terry, De Mange; Roberts, Payton, Bamber, Askew, Doyle.

Referee: Mr D. Axcell (Southend).


Howard Wilkinson was renowned for his no-nonsense approach to management, but it was his very own "Odd Couple" who played key roles in lifting his Leeds United side from the doldrums. The midfield combination of Gordon Strachan and Vinnie Jones were by no means solely responsible for United winning promotion to the top division in 1990, but there were occasions when the duo took centre stage themselves.

Strachan ranked as one of the most influential signings made by Wilkinson, the wee Scot skippered Leeds to promotion and the top flight title, while Jones' importance during that successful second division campaign could not be under-played. The former Wimbledon skipper had long been a natural headline-maker, but the critics dubbed his move to Leeds as a "marriage made in hell" and branded the former hod-carrier the perfect role model for the 30,000 United fans. Needless to say both players wasted little time in silencing their critics. Free from the shackles of Manchester United, Strachan's career had re-invigorated at Elland Road while Jones, out of the southern spotlight and adored by the Leeds faithful, showed another dimension to his game and proved an invaluable member of Wilkinson's squad.

As the season entered its final turn, the promotion race was becoming a survival of the fittest, and when Hull City threatened to upset the form book at Elland Road it was the influence of Strachan and Jones that secured Leeds a vital victory to keep Wilko's side three points clear of second-placed Sheffield United in pole position. Jones had bagged a wonderful first-half goal against the Tigers when he smashed home a thirty-yard volley, but that stunning effort only served to give Leeds a 2-1 advantage against a side languishing in the bottom six.

John Hendrie had opened the scoring for United before Andy Payton grabbed a cheeky equaliser and try as Leeds might they couldn't shake off their dogged opponents. Payton levelled for a second time early in the second half from the penalty spot and with twelve minutes remaining Steve Doyle matched Jones' earlier effort with a spectacular shot from distance. Hull were 3-2 up and on the verge of a shock win, but Strachan and Jones turned up the heat. Eight minutes from time, the Scot set up Imre Varadi to level at 3-3 and it was United's turn to assume control. Jones almost grabbed the winner two minutes from time when Iain Hesford pulled off a superb save after the midfielder's turn and swivel, but he wasn't to be denied.


The YEP's United correspondent, Don Warters, observed: "Jones quickly swallowed his disappointment and with the game deep in stoppage time he went round the match official and cleverly beat Ken De Mange before slotting an astute pass for Strachan to supply the killer touch." Elland Road erupted and, with Jones hareing after him, an emotionally-drained Strachan lay on his back in front of the exultant Kop. Leeds had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and manager Wilkinson was in no doubt who deserved the plaudits. He said: "No matter what might happen Vinnie doesn't give in and that's something money can't buy. Strachan is the same. He too doesn't give in. They make an odd couple really but they are an ideal pair."

Interestingly, while Leeds were beating Hull and Sheffield United were disposing of Plymouth, seventh-placed Newcastle could only draw at Portsmouth. The result left the Toon a full 15 points behind league leaders Leeds with 14 games still to play – but Newcastle still went into the final day of the season knowing that if results went for them they would clinch automatic promotion to the top division.



Match Action:













                                              The Leeds goals came from John Hendrie, Vinnie Jones, Imre Varadi



  and Gordon Strachan                            Andy Payton (2) and Steve Doyle scored for Hull City                                         



Chris Kamara was at right-back for Leeds                 Chris O’Donnell and Vince Hilaire given rare substitute appearances



Ex-Leeds player Ken De Mange and future Leeds player Richard Jobson played for Hull