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Takeover prompts revolution in form for Leeds United at Elland Road
11:20am Monday 26th November 2012 in Sport
THE feelgood factor returned to Elland Road as new Dubai-based owners GFH Capital saw Leeds United topple Championship leaders Crystal Palace 2-1,.
Cash from the new proprietors helped the Whites bring in loan men Jerome Thomas and Alan Tate on the eve of the game and both played key roles as Palace’s 14-game unbeaten run was ended.
Thomas hugged the left touchline and his pace gave Leeds an extra attacking dimension while the dominant Tate marshalled the backline superbly.
Slick Leeds dominated the early stages but Palace responded through the mesmerising runs of Wilfried Zaha and it needed a superb double save by Paddy Kenny to keep the visitors at bay.
Leeds were playing much better than recent weeks and got their noses in front on 51 minutes.
Luciano Becchio cashed in on a defensive error to thump Leeds ahead from close range, Paul Green doubling the lead after seizing on a weak clearing header with a deflected volley with 15 minutes remaining.
Alan Ramage’s late header ensured some tense final minutes but Leeds held on for their first win in seven Championship games.
It will be interesting to see how the Eagles deal with the inevitable January swoop for Zaha while Leeds could also find themselves fending off bids for Zaha’s marker Sam Byram.
Reputedly being watched by Everton, the York teenager stuck to his task and by the end of the game had significantly nullified the threat of Palace’s star man while still having time to make some attacking runs of his own.
United set the standard in this game and will need to replicate it for the visit of Leicester tomorrow.
Leeds: Kenny, Byram, Lees, Tate, Peltier, Green, Norris, Tonge, Thomas (Poleon 74 - Brown 90), Diouf (McCormack 81), Becchio. Subs (not used): Ashdown, White, Gray, Hall.
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward (Wilbraham 90), Ramage, Delaney, Parr, Bolasie (Easter 67), Dikgacoi, Zaha, Garvan (Mortiz 65), Murray. Subs (not used): Moxey, O’Keefe, Gabbidon, Price.
Referee: David Coote.