Mark Jackson's very differing roles in aiding Leeds United's FA Cup bids twenty-five years apart

Mark Jackson has been playing a vital role in Leeds United's preparations for Sunday's FA Cup clash at West Ham this week.

By Lee Sobot
Saturday, 8th January 2022, 7:32 pm

An array of Whites youngsters look certain to be involved at the London Stadium and the club's young stars were again put through their paces by Whites under-23s boss Jackson this week.

For Jackson, Wednesday night's Premier League Cup clash at home to Sunderland therefore presented indirect FA Cup involvement.

Yet 25 years ago, Jackson was on the pitch himself in Leeds United FA Cup action, helping the Whites to a 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace, after which George Graham’s Whites progressed from the replay via a 1-0 victory at Elland Road.

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DIFFERING ROLES: Current Leeds United under-23s boss Mark Jackson was part of the Whites side, above, that progressed past Crystal Palace in the FA Cup third round back in January 1997. Picture by Dan Oxtoby.

London is once again calling as Leeds prepare to take on West Ham United in the FA Cup third round tomorrow.

United’s recent record in the third round of the competition has not exactly been great.

Up until recently, the Whites also had a terrible record in the capital until breaking the much-discussed ‘London curse’.

But 25 years ago this weekend Leeds enjoyed some FA Cup capital gains as Nigel Martyn’s late penalty save and the efforts of present day under-23s boss Jackson helped sealed a 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace,

The third round tie was played on Tuesday January 14, 1997 and Leeds approached the contest having ended a run of six games without a win via a 3-0 victory at home to Leicester City.

Four days later, Leeds lined up against the Eagles with an XI of Martyn and Jackson plus Gary Kelly, Lucas Rabebe, David Wetherall, Tony Dorigo, Paul Beesley, Lee Bowyer, Rod Wallace, Ian Rush and Brian Deane

Mark Beeney, Ian Harte and Lee Sharpe made up the bench, Sharpe being brought on for Dorigo in the 12th minute.

Leeds drew first blood via a clinical finish from Deane, who cashed in on future Whites midfielder David Hopkin’s failure to clear a free-kick.

The delivery instead made its way to Deane inside the box and the striker took one touch to control the ball before unleashing a stinging half-volley which flew past Palace keeper Chris Day and into the back of the net.

But the hosts drew level after netting the first of two penalties awarded in the game by referee Roger Dilkes.

From a cross from the left, United’s Beesley was adjudged to have handled the ball as he challenged Palace striker Bruce Dyer, who himself appeared to have committed the offence.

United were left furious but Dyer stepped up and slotted home a cool spot kick into the bottom right corner, sending Martyn the wrong way.

Leeds, though, went back ahead, and once again Deane was heavily involved.

From a rapid attack, Wallace played in Deane down the right-hand side of the Palace area and the striker sent in a cutback cross into the box which

Leif Andersen diverted into his own net.

The Palace player had seemingly been attempting to send the cross behind for a corner but miscued his connection and produced what would have been a superb finish into the top right corner had it been into the right net.

Leeds were heading into round four, but Palace equalised for a second time after Carl Veart headed home a Neil Shipperley cross.

Shipperley had been heavily involved in the middle of the park for Palace’s first goal and this time caused chaos down the right flank, cutting back before sending in a floated cross which Veart headed into the top right corner.

To United’s dismay, Palace were then handed a golden opportunity to bag a winner as man in the middle Dilkes awarded the Eagles their second spot kick of the game.

This time Radebe was judged to have fouled Dyer as he looked to latch on to a through ball, both players going in the favour of Palace.

Dyer stepped up looking to double his tally and again went for the right hand side of the net but this time Martyn went the correct way and kept out his spot kick though parrying the ball back into the middle of the box.

It meant Dyer had a glorious chance to net on the rebound, but the striker blasted his attempt wide of the opposite corner of the goal, meaning Palace and Leeds were heading for a replay.

The Whites and Eagles tried again 11 days later and Wallace bagged the only goal of the game to seal a 1-0 victory to send Leeds into round four as part of a run that took them to that season’s last 16.

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Thank you Laura Collins