Leeds United heading back to scene of south coast epic which left Harry Redknapp stunned
LEEDS United will visit a side with a not-too-dissimilar trajectory to their own on Tuesday evening.
Back in 2010, the Whites and Southampton were both in League One having initially become accustomed to Championship meetings following both sides’ relegation from the Premier League.
Goals were almost always on the agenda with the two sides having not shared a goalless stalemate since the top flight fixture at Elland Road of March 1997.
But, eight years later, seven goals were plundered as Liam Miller bagged an 86th-minute winner to give Kevin Blackwell’s Whites a scarcely believable 4-3 victory having been 3-0 down against Harry Redknapp’s Saints.
Leeds were in their second season down in the Championship following relegation in May 2004 and the Saints followed them down the following year after finishing bottom, despite the arrival of Redknapp in December 2004 – just two weeks after leaving Portsmouth.
The two clubs first renewed acquaintances in the second tier at Elland Road in October 2005, first-half strikes from Rob Hulse and Robbie Blake giving the Whites a 2-1 victory despite Theo Walcott’s reply for the Saints.
One month later, Walcott again featured in the Saints starting line-up for the reverse fixture at St Mary’s alongside a certain Dennis Wise, who would prove United’s next manager the following autumn after Blackwell was sacked.
But back in November 2005 Leeds were on their way to the play-offs and ended a run of four league games without a victory through a stunning success at St Mary’s.
It turned out to be one of Redknapp’s last games in charge, the experienced manager leaving his post the following month.
The Saints lined up against Leeds having suffered just two league defeats so far that season – at Leeds and Luton – yet having recorded 10 draws and just five wins.
But Redknapp’s side looked destined for another victory against Leeds after racing into a 3-0 lead by the break.
Little Latvian Marian Pahars fired the hosts into a 27th-minute lead with a close-range header from a corner after Michael Svensson had headed the delivery back across the box.
Walcott then set up Southampton’s second goal eight minutes later as he raced past Matthew Kilgallon down the right flank and supplied a cut-back for Nigel Quashie to fire past Neill Sullivan from just inside the box.
Quashie then put the hosts 3-0 up just before the break, netting from the penalty spot after Matt Oakley’s header had been blocked by Dan Harding’s arm.
The spot kick was blasted into the top right corner and the game looked over with still over half of the contest remaining.
Leeds pulled back what looked like being a consolation in the 71st minute when captain Paul Butler sent a header from a corner into the same area of the net that Quashie’s penalty had been dispatched into – but six minutes later David Healy’s low ball into the box was spun into the net by Robbie Blake.
Leeds were suddenly within two goals of victory with 13 minutes left.
Incredibly, the Whites then drew level with just six minutes remaining when Higginbotham handled in the area and Healy slammed home his spot kick into the left hand corner
to send the way end wild behind the goal.
Yet, amazingly, there was even more to celebrate as Leeds bagged a winner just two minutes later.
Southampton were at sixes and sevens as the Whites bombed forward seeking a winner – and it duly arrived when Rob Hulse sent in a low cross that found Miller totally unmarked in the middle of the box.
The Manchester United loanee then unleashed a low first-time drive that caught keeper Antii Niemi off guard and whistled into the net to seal a truly sensational victory for the Whites on the south coast.
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Thank you Laura Collins