Tue, Dec 02, 2008 - Page 20 News List

The FA CUP: Former European giants Leeds humbled by Histon

AFP , LONDON

Histon’s Matthew Langston, center, celebrates his goal against Leeds United during their English FA Cup second round match at the Glass World Stadium in Impington, England, on Sunday.

PHOTO: AP

Just when Leeds United fans thought their team had endured every possible indignity, they suffered a new low as a humble postman helped non-league Histon hand the fallen English giants a shock 1-0 defeat in the FA Cup second round.

Former English champions Leeds were playing in the Champions League only seven years ago, but now they languish in League One — England’s third tier — and were unable to avoid an embarrassing exit from the Cup on Sunday.

Leeds had never lost to a non-league team but that record was destroyed by Matthew Langston, who headed home to send the Conference club, who play in a tiny Cambridgeshire village, through to a third round clash with Swansea City.

The rain-lashed Glass World Stadium was a far-cry from the European and top-flight stadiums that Leeds competed in under Don Revie and more recently David O’Leary.

They looked nervous from the start and paid the price for poor finishing against a team 42 places below them in the English soccer set-up. They perished when Langston, who works as a postman during the week, headed in Gareth Gwillim’s cross in the 39th minute.

Leeds were denied a face-saving equalizer when Lubomir Michalik twice failed to convert good chances. He hit the post with a fierce drive, then saw a shot headed off the line by Jack Midson.

It was a defeat that conjured memories of Leeds’ famous FA Cup exit at Colchester United in the 1970s, but at least Revie’s team were still a force in England then.

Now they are a shadow of that great side and Histon manager Steve Fallon piled on the misery for Leeds boss Gary McAllister by insisting his team were worthy winners.

“We deserved that victory. This will do this club the world of good,” he said. “It was a magnificent rearguard action in the second half. We had a bit of luck when we needed it, but we were magnificent.”

While Histon celebrate their moment in the spotlight, Leeds — three times English champions and four times FA Cup finalists — trudged back to Elland Road looking further than ever from recapturing their former glories.

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