Leeds United have history when it comes to a wining return at Southampton after international break
Leeds United ended a recent barren run at Southampton with May’s 2-0 success at St Mary’s.
Until last season, the two teams had not met in the league since the 2011-12 Championship campaign – in which a 3-1 win for the Saints made it three home triumphs against the Whites in a row.
But Leeds otherwise have a reasonably good record at the south coast side, and a landmark triumph was recorded at the club’s old ground, The Dell, back in 1993.
Leeds had gone 17 months without winning anywhere away from home – a run that was almost a club record.
The previous worst run had been ended with a victory at The Dell – and Leeds did it again on September 9, 1993.
The run was not befitting a team who had been crowned champions of England 19 months earlier as part of a season in which the Saints finished 16th in a 22-team Premier League.
Leeds had ended up 30 points better off than the Saints, who had been part of the country’s top flight since being promoted as Division Two runners-up in 1978.
The Whites went the other way five seasons later but finally ended their exile from the country’s top flight when being promoted as Division Two champions in 1990 – and Howard Wilkinson’s side were then crowned top dogs in just their second year back in the big time.
But the 1992-93 campaign had proved a disappointment for the defending champions, who ended up finishing just 17th and only two points clear of the drop zone.
Southampton, under boss Ian Branfoot, finished a point and a place below Leeds and their start to the 93-94 campaign began with three straight defeats and five losses out of six, the only exception being a 5-1 victory at home to Swindon Town.
United’s season also featured three straight defeats at the start of it, but on the back of an opening day 1-1 draw at Manchester City which was followed by a 1-0 triumph at home to West Ham.
The run of three straight losses was then followed by a 1-0 win at home to Oldham Athletic in the last game before the September international break, after which Leeds returned to finally bag an away win at The Dell.
It was a first win on their travels in the league since the 3-2 victory at Sheffield United of April 1992 which sealed the title.
United lined up with an XI of Mark Beeney, Gary Kelly, David Wetherall, Jon Newsome, Tony Dorigo, David Batty, Gordon Strachan, Gary McAllister, Brian Deane and Rod Wallace.
Chris Fairclough, Frank Strandli and John Lukic filled the bench. Southampton’s side featured the likes of Matt Le Tissier, Iain Dowie and Tim Flowers, but neither side was able to find any breakthrough in a goalless first half.
But two strikes in the second half ensured a victorious journey back to Yorkshire, and it was striker Deane who bagged the first of them five minutes after the break.
Leeds pushed on down the left and Deane’s near-post header flew past Flowers into the top right corner of the net to send the visiting fans behind the goal into raptures.
United then maintained their one-goal lead and made absolutely sure of bagging a long-awaited away win as Speed netted the second goal of the game with 90 minutes on the clock.
The strike came after sterling work from Strachan, who picked the pockets of the Saints defence on the right-hand side. After winning the ball on the byline, the midfielder cut back into the box and laid on a perfect pass for Gary Speed who coolly slotted home from the middle of the box.
While not quite scaling the heights of their superb title-winning season, Leeds were on their way back and finished the season in fifth place.
The Saints again narrowly avoided the drop in ending up 18th, staying up by a point under new boss Alan Ball despite class act Le Tissier’s 25-goal haul.
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Thank you Laura Collins