Leeds United - on this day: Whites destroy Charlton Athletic as Mark Viduka starts survival push with hat-trick

It's 18 years ago today since Leeds United demolished Charlton Athletic at The Valley.
Leeds United celebrate at Charlton Athletic in 2003. Pic: GettyLeeds United celebrate at Charlton Athletic in 2003. Pic: Getty
Leeds United celebrate at Charlton Athletic in 2003. Pic: Getty

The day...

April 5, 2003

The event...

Leeds United defeat Charlton Athletic 6-1 at The Valley in the Premiership to boost survival hopes - with Mark Viduka scoring a hat-trick

What happened?

Peter Reid was installed as interim manager – challenged with the task of keeping Leeds up after a dismal season amid off-field problems – and the 6-1 success at Charlton proved the foundation both for keeping the Whites in the division and for the former Sunderland manager getting the job on a permanent basis.

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Leeds approached the Charlton clash on the back of a 3-1 loss at Liverpool for whom Michael Owen, Danny Murphy and Steven Gerrard all netted.

But this was a United team full of stars and three of them were on the scoresheet at The Valley.

Leeds lined up with Paul Robinson in goal, playing behind a star-studded team of Danny Mills, Lucas Radebe, Dominic Matteo, Michael Duberry, Ian Harte, Gary Kelly, Erik Bakke, Alan Smith, Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka.

United's bench featured a young James Milner, alongside Nigel Martyn, Jason Wilcock, Nick Barmby and Seth Johnson.

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Reid was charged of getting the best of out a bunch that had lost four league games in a row heading to The Valley – home fixtures against Newcastle United and Middlesbrough plus away matches at Manchester United and Liverpool.

In between, United had been dumped out of the FA Cup through a 1-0 loss at Sheffield United. But Leeds ran riot at Charlton.

The game kicked off 17 minutes late due to crowd congestion yet United were quick out of the blocks with Smith and Viduka setting up Kewell for a 12th-minute opener.

Harte then doubled the lead from the penalty spot 22 minutes later after Smith was fouled by Richard Rufus before Viduka put Leeds 3-0 up when drilling home three minutes before the break.

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Charlton then gave themselves hope on the stroke of half-time when Jason Euell converted a penalty for Radebe’s foul on Scott Parker.

The Addicks came out firing on all cylinders after the break but Robinson produced a fine save to deny Parker and that stop proved crucial with Viduka bagging his second and United’s fourth eight minutes after the break.

Viduka had his hat-trick after he converted the game’s third penalty, awarded for Luke Young’s challenge on Smith.

A fantastic solo goal from Kewell then provided the icing on the cake with 14 minutes left. Leeds went on to draw at Tottenham and beat Fulham and famously Arsenal away to guarantee their Premier Division survival before a final day win at home to Aston Vila.

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United finished 15th – five points above the dropzone and two points behind Charlton who ended up in 12th.

Charlton: Kiely, Young, Rufus, Fish, Konchesky (El Khalej 67), Kishishev (Svensson 45), Parker, Euell, Jensen, Johansson, Lisbie (Powell 45).

Subs not used: Rachubka, Robinson. Booked: Kiely, Svensson.

Goals: Euell 45 pen.

Leeds: Robinson, Mills, Radebe, Duberry, Harte, Kelly, Matteo, Bakke (Milner 86), Kewell (Wilcox 80), Smith (Simon Johnson 78), Viduka.

Subs not used: Martyn, Barmby. Booked: Matteo.

Goals: Kewell 12, Harte 34 pen, Viduka 42, 53, 56 pen, Kewell 76.

Att: 26,274

Referee: E Wolstenholme (Lancashire).