'Go on Gary Speed, get one yourself son' - Sheffield United visit evokes memories of pivotal Leeds United victory at Elland Road

LEEDS United have plenty of fond memories when it comes to taking on Sheffield United at Elland Road stadium.

Saturday, 3rd April 2021, 5:45 am

Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites will look to create another in Saturday's Yorkshire derby in which a win would make Premier League survival almost certain, if it isn’t already.

And Leeds' fans knew promotion was extremely likely given victory against the Blades back in the Elland Road Yorkshire derby of April 1990.

After a 4-0 romp, promotion was indeed in the bag, but not without some late nerves.

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ON OUR WAY: Gordon Strachan, left, fires Leeds United in front against Sheffield United as Chris Kamara, behind him, and Vinnie Jones, right, look on, back in April 1990 at Elland Road. Picture by YPN.

Leeds were out in front in the Division Two title race but Dave Bassett’s Blades were their nearest pursuers and creeping fast up the rails.

Victory at Elland Road would really intensify the Division Two title race and even the automatic promotion picture with two teams going up.

Yet Whites boss Howard Wilkinson had a plan to pressurise Blades keeper Simon Tracey and Leeds responded by producing a 4-0 victory in front of a crowd of 32,727 for Elland Road’s biggest gate of the season.

The Blades initially survived an almighty goalmouth scramble after Tracey had dropped the ball under pressure from a Vinnie Jones cross and both Bobby Davison and Lee Chapman then saw efforts desperately blocked.

But the Blades were unable to survive similar chaos soon after once Gary Speed’s header had sent Gordon Strachan clear in the 17th minute.

Strachan broke into the area but was thwarted as Tracey dived at his feet only for the ball to break to Chris Kamara.

Kamara’s low shot was then blocked on the line by Paul Stancliffe but the rebound fell to Strachan who could not miss from barely a yard out with Tracey out of the picture.

Strachan’s 16th goal of the season had Leeds 1-0 up at the break and the Whites then bagged three goals in the final 16 minutes to finally put the Blades to bed.

The first came after great work from Speed who was released by Jones down the left flank.

Speed then raced away from Colin Hill towards the byline before sending in a low cross that flew under Tracey and was converted at the far post by a sliding Lee Chapman for his 11th goal of the campaign.

Wilkinson’s plan to press Tracey then led to United’s third as the Blades keeper was pressurised by Davison looking to clear a goal kick from his hands.

The Blades keeper’s clearance was blocked and the ball squirmed across the box leaving Davison and Tracey in a race to win the ball.

Davison got there first and was then hauled down by the Blades keeper which meant a penalty which Strachan coolly converted into the left hand corner.

And Leeds then made it 4-0 from a clinical counter attack of which Bielsa would have been proud.

From a Blades attack, Leeds broke away and Kamara beautifully released Speed with a pass from the outside of his boot.

The winger raced away in on goal and what followed was one of the most iconic pieces of Leeds United commentary as Speed made his way towards goal.

“Go on Gary Speed, get one yourself son.”

Speed did just that as the winger unleashed a shot when Stansfield looked to close him down and his effort flew past Tracey who got a hand to the ball but was ultimately unable to prevent the strike from nestling into the far right corner of the net.

The full time whistle sparked a pitch invasion though Leeds then followed the victory with a 2-2 draw at Brighton and 2-1 defeat at home to Barnsley whereas the Blades won their next two against Port Vale and Bournemouth.

Wilkinson’s men then responded with a 2-1 win at home to Leicester City and then 1-0 success at Bournemouth over the final weekend of the season to ensure that they went up in the ultimate style as champions.

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Thank you Laura Collins