Saturday 6 October 1969
Leeds 3 (Bremner 16, Gray 49, Giles 82)
Man Utd 1 (Best 44)
In the last 8 days Leeds have finally shown their true dominant championship self. Like a sleeping giant in a fairy tale, Leeds have woken up and have started clubbing those that stand in their way. They traveled to, and beat Everton last week and this week they did the same to their Manchester rivals. At home. Where they haven’t won at all this season. It seems unthinkable but its true.
Bremner started the game kicking Best, only to change his mind and kick the ball into the net to open up the scoring for Leeds. After that Leeds started to play and their midfield interlinked well like the London Underground on a very good day. They had a few chances though Stepney and miskicking got in the way. The United of Manchester seemed out of sorts again. A week ago they were heading for top spot. They had undefeated Sunderland to face, but surely at Old Trafford they would overcome the pretenders. At 5 pm they knew they possibly might be the pretenders as they lost for the first time this season. Leeds away for their next encounter might not have been the confidence building fixture they yearned for but nonetheless, even a draw would be a good result.
And when Best scored from a sublime direct free kick just before half time it seemed that maybe United might steal a draw. Whatever Leeds did to him he didn’t shirk his responsibility during the game. He kept running, swerving and dribbling. He looked frustrated at the referee at times, but he didn’t shirk his role throughout the game.
Leeds came back in the second half and stepped up a gear. They treated the whole second half as the home stretch. They played the game with such an intensity that United almost disappeared from view. It didn’t take long for Leeds to take advantage. Four minutes in Gray scored and United knew the game was up. Yet they were kept in the game through the performance of Stepney. He conducted a number of acrobatic and spectacular saves. It took till the last 10 minutes of the game for a clever and astute Giles to confuse and blindside the Manchester defence and guarantee the first home win for Leeds. Did I mention the first home of the season for Leeds before? Well there you go.
With that loss United have taken a couple of steps back from challenging Sunderland at the top. They’ve joined the group chasing Sunderland. They need to gather themselves and get on the winning escalator quickly again or they will be swamped by their high expectations.
Leeds: Sprake, Reaney, Cooper, Bremner, Charlton, Hunter, Madeley, Lorimer, Jones, Giles, Gray (O’Grady).
Manchester United: Stepney, Fitzpatrick, Dunne, Burns, Ure, Sadler, Morgan, Givens, Charlton, Gowling, Best.