Mon, Aug 27, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Leeds win clash of fallen giants thanks to 89th minute goal

AFP , NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND

Leeds have a long way to go before their battered reputation is fully restored, but they have reasons to be cheerful at last after Jermaine Beckford's late goal gave them a win over fellow fallen giants Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

A crowd of 25,237 flocked to Forest's City Ground to see the two former European Cup finalists meet in League One, English football's third tier, and a thrilling 2-1 victory for Leeds revived memories of the glory days when they competed for the game's top honors.

Leeds remain bottom of the table on minus six points but three successive wins suggest manager Dennis Wise's aim of reaching the play-offs is not as far fetched as it seemed just two weeks ago.

Forest have yet to win this season and manager Colin Calderwood knows he will come under pressure after a result that left his team well off the early promotion pace.

The Forest boss is convinced there were enough signs that his team are set to turn the corner soon.

"There's positives we can take from the game and console ourselves with," he said.

"That doesn't hide the fact we've taken nothing from it, but we don't have to hang our heads in shame about the way we played," he said. "I think we've shown the fans there is something to be encouraged about more than our points total would suggest."

The game's atmosphere and passion would not have looked out of place in the Premier League, as befitting clubs that graced the top-flight for many years.

Their descent has been quick and brutal. Just six years after reaching the Champions League semi-finals, Leeds are playing outside the top two tiers of the English game for the first time in their history.

Forest have been on a downwards spiral since being relegated from the Premier League in 1999. The club's European Cup triumphs under legendary manager Brian Clough in 1979 and 1980 must seem a like a vivid dream rather than reality as they find themselves playing the likes of Yeovil and Doncaster nowadays.

For a while during the close-season it looked as though Leeds may not even be allowed into the league after a row over the way chairman Ken Bates took the club out of administration.

Leeds, three times English champions and European Cup runners-up in 1975, eventually got the go-ahead to start the season, but not before being hit with a 15-point penalty for financial mismanagement.

That perceived injustice seems to have provided the perfect motivation for Wise's side and they have made a 100 percent winning start.

Tresor Kandol put Leeds in front in the 17th minute.

Kris Commons equalized for Forest five minutes into the second half but it was Beckford who had the last word with an 89th minute winner.

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