Tottenham Hotspur clash evokes memories of notable Leeds United new year triumph in London

LEEDS United will be looking to land a historic win in London today.

Saturday, 2nd January 2021, 5:45 am

The club’s poor recent record in the capital has been well documented with United’s last win in London coming back in December 2017 via a 3-1 triumph at QPR.

Thirteen clashes in the Big Smoke since have failed to yield a victory with this season’s two visits so far both ending in heavy enough defeats at Crystal Palace and Chelsea.

Yet Leeds also have history when it comes to enjoying capital gains over new year with a 3-1 triumph at West Ham United back on January 1, 1992 providing a huge boost en route to the Whites becoming champions of England.

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HAMMERS BLOW: Lee Chapman slides in an effort during Leeds United's 3-1 victory at West Ham United of New Year's Day 1992. Photo by Varleys.

Leeds had no such woes in terms of winning in London and the 91-92 campaign had already featured a 1-0 triumph at Chelsea but Howard Wilkinson’s Whites approached their New Year clash at Upton Park following four consecutive draws.

A 1-1 draw at home to Tottenham Hotspur had been followed by a 0-0 stalemate at Nottingham Forest, a 3-3 draw at home to Southampton and then a 1-1 tie at home to the old enemy Manchester United.

Leeds, though, were unbeaten in 15 games having suffered just one reverse all season via a 1-0 defeat Crystal Palace on October 1.

Wilkinson’s Whites had only been promoted to the country’s top tier in May 1990 as Division Two champions and Leeds had finished fourth in their first season back in the big time.

United would go three places better and win the thing to become champions of England just one season later.

West Ham, meanwhile, were even newer acquisitions to the country’s top flight having been promoted as Division Two runners up the previous season under boss Billy Bonds with Harry Redknapp as his assistant.

The Hammers would go straight back down and approached their New Year’s Day hosting of Leeds on a rotten run of seven defeats in nine in league and cup.

In a real sign of the times, the Hammers had ended 1991 with a 3-0 defeat at Notts County - in the league that is.

Looking to start their new year with a bang against clear title challengers, West Ham’s line up against the Whites featured the likes of Julian Dicks, Tony Gale and Frank McAvennie with last season’s top scorer Trevor Morley on the bench.

Yet Wilkinson’s Whites were simply too good and Leeds went ahead in just the 11th minute as Lee Chapman bagged his sixth goal of the season.

Gary McAllister was afforded space on the right flank and whipped in an inviting cross and the Hammers paid the price for leaving Chapman unmarked as the striker stooped down to send a header into the bottom right corner.

The Hammers drew back on level terms 13 minutes later as Dicks converted a penalty but Chapman and McAllister then combined once more to put Leeds back in front at the break.

This time Chapman turned provider in laying on a prodded high pass that McAllister took in his stride before moving into the Hammers box and blasting the ball past Ludek Miklosko into the top right.

The Hammers then kept themselves within one goal of their visitors but Leeds and Chapman changed that and made the points absolutely safe with five minutes left.

Rod Wallace was played in down the right and sent in a fine cross for the United striker who had burst into the box.

From six yards out, Chapman was never going to miss and Leeds were not going to miss this opportunity to ultimately become champions of England for the third time in their history.

Brilliant memories as an in-form Leeds now go in search of their first triumph in London in three years, looking for a first victory at Tottenham since the 2-1 success of February 2001.

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Thank you Laura Collins