Leeds United 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1

Last updated : 10 January 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Keane shot down his old club and at the end of the season his 56th minute goal could have dire consequences for Leeds' under-achievers.

Keane was sold for £7m in the summer of 2002 against the wishes of newly appointed manager Terry Venables and he has since made a habit of haunting them.

The Irishman scored in both Spurs' games against Leeds last season, helping them to gather four points in the process and, although he missed Tottenham's victory over Leeds in August, he duly maintained his 100 per cent scoring record against them since his departure, with the only goal of a lacklustre contest at Elland Road.

There are plenty of 'experts' predicting Leeds will dig themselves out of relegation danger, but there was little on show to back their argument.

Nor were Tottenham much better, though at least they created enough chances to enable Leeds keeper Paul Robinson to shine.

Leeds did have the excuse of being without the combative David Batty and Alan Smith, but they should have done much more attacking on home territory against a Tottenham side which, until the midweek win against Birmingham, was languishing in the bottom three.

Spurs' second successive win will give them the boost they need to launch a successful climb away from relegation danger, but their victory had to measured against the poor standard of the opposition.

Leeds were without the suspended Smith and with Michael Bridges still not fully match fit, Nick Barmby made his first start in 10 months, and while he did impress in flashes, considering his long absence from the first team, he understandably tired and was substituted on 66 minutes.

Eirik Bakke returned in place of the injured Batty, and Salomon Olembe made his first start under Gray's management, before leaving for the African Cup of Nations.

James Milner dropped to the bench and Jermaine Pennant passed a fitness test an hour before the game.

Spurs again lacked the suspended Michael Brown, but Mauricio Taricco and Anthony Gardner returned in place of Johnnie Jackson and Gus Poyet, while Fredi Kanoute turned out before his controversial trip to the African Cup of Nations with Mali.

The Londoners arrived at Elland Road boosted by a 4-1 midweek victory over Birmingham, which carried them out of the bottom three, but with only one win at Elland Road in the Premiership, back in 1996.

Gray had urged Leeds to shed the fear factor and show more flair in an endeavour to end a run of five games without a win. Yet after a bright opening, in which Pennant showed some neat touches, they went off the boil and there were few highlights in a disappointing first half.

With rumours growing that wealthy businessman Philip Green, a Spurs fan himself, and former deputy chairman Allan Leighton were part of a consortium hoping to buy the club, Leeds needed to show their credentials for Premiership survival, but Spurs were just as eager to climb the table and the tension expressed itself in a catalogue of mistakes by both sides.

Keane gave Leeds a swift reminder of the threat he can pose with a powerful second minute shot which stung Robinson's hands, but when Pennant delivered an early cross from the right, Gary Doherty's vital clearance was made at full stretch.

Robinson had to move smartly to his right to clutch Doherty's well directed header at the other end, but Pennant caused the Tottenham defence problems and after the winger had been hacked down by Simon Davies, he was again tripped by Taricco, who was promptly booked.

Davies fashioned Spurs' best effort of the first half with a viciously swerving shot from the left which fizzed just over the bar in the 34th minute.

Spurs had a let-off when Olembe and Ian Harte found a way through on the left and in attempting to clear Harte's cross, Ledley King almost put through his own goal, the ball flashing just outside the near post.

Robinson also needed to be alert when Keane played the ball back to Darren Anderton and Robinson saved at the second attempt.

Leeds suffered a blow when Mark Viduka, who had been doubtful for the match, failed to appear for the second half, Bridges leaving their bench.

Keane was looking sharp and Robinson dived to his left to palm away the Irishman's 49th minute shot.

Keane was eventually rewarded with the opening goal on 56 minutes.

Chasing a long free-kick from Taricco, Keane held off Michael Duberry's challenge before coolly slotting the ball past Robinson.

It was the scenario Gray had dreaded, Keane returning to score against his old club, but for much of the game, Leeds lacked the drive and guile to lift their supporters.

Gray tried to pull the game out of the fire by making a double substitution in the 66th minute, sending on Milner and Lamine Sakho in place of the tiring Barmby and Olembe.

Leeds should have equalised when Pennant's corner dropped invitingly at the feet of Bridges in the goalmouth, but the striker completely miscued, just as he had done from a similar chance at Newcastle on Wednesday night.

Kanoute thought he had snatched Spurs' second goal, but after being played through by Stephane Dalmat, he saw his powerful shot saved.

Spurs finished strongly and Leeds amazingly allowed Taricco to run through unchallenged before forcing the busy Robinson into yet another save.

Poyet replaced Anderton two minutes from the end and although Leeds gained two late corners, Spurs deservedly took the points to leave Leeds in dire trouble.

Leeds have now taken just two points from a possible 15 since their home victory over Fulham and with no money for team strengthening the future for them looks bleak indeed.

Keane's goal was his second in as many games and he showed enough tricks to suggest he can again finish the season as Tottenham's top scorer.