Leeds United 2 Birmingham 0

Last updated : 01 January 2003 By Footymad Previewer

Eager to avenge a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham in August, Leeds seized a sixth minute lead after surviving a strong penalty claim.

Ian Harte, recalled at left back in place of Teddy Lucic, who was suffering with a tight hamstring, challenged Paul Devlin who stumbled inside the penalty box.

Referee Phil Dowd waved play on and two minutes later Leeds showed their power in the air to open the scoring.

Gary Kelly sent a high cross from the right to the far corner of the six-yard box where Viduka beat Jeff Kenna in the air. The Australian striker nodded the ball inside to Norwegian Eirik Bakke who had the simple task of heading his first Premiership goal of the season.

Injury-hit but full of spirit, Birmingham responded by going close several times. Damien Johnson was denied by Paul Robinson's fingertip save and later by Kelly's goal-line clearance.

Leeds also somehow survived as the ball pinged around the goalmouth with no Birmingham player able to get a decisive touch.

Viduka showed some neat touches for a big man and should have had a 39th minute penalty when Jonathan Hutchinson barged him to the ground as he tried to force home Alan Smith's downward header.

Birmingham had another penalty claim rejected early in the second half when Danny Mills made what looked a fair tackle on Clinton Morrison.

Nico Vaesen saved well from the hard working Viduka, who was eventually rewarded in the 67th minute, heading his sixth goal of the season at point blank range, with Kelly the provider.

Teenage sensation James Milner replaced Bakke with 17 minutes left as Leeds coasted home.