FA Cup Upsets and Cupsets #2 – Manchester United v Leeds 2010
One of the most publicised stories of recent years has been the demise and path towards what I am sure will be their eventual re-emergence of Leeds United.
This is what makes this FA Cup story resonate with me, growing up I had always known Leeds as a huge side, with a fierce rivalry with seemingly every club in the top flight.
Watching a side run aground in the way that Leeds did is not easy, there was so much frustration and pain as the club went into freefall, for there to be a play off false dawn followed by relegation, points deductions and an extended stay in the countries third tier.
Leeds almost failed to make it as far as the third round of the FA Cup last year being held to a draw away from home against Kettering Town who took the resulting replay at Elland Road to extra time.
The draw for the next round was perfect for fans of the Yorkshire club, with an away draw against arch rivals and then Premier League champions a perfect day out with even if hopes were not high for a positive result in the media.
With forty two places between the sides at kick off Leeds were up against history as Manchester United had never been knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round under the tutelage of Alex Ferguson or defeated by lower league opposition.
Despite the doom and gloom the stats below paint, Leeds came into the game top of the table and unbeaten in fifteen games.
Taking advantage of FA Cup attendance rules over 9,000 Leeds fans made the trip to Old Trafford, they saw Manchester United dominate early possession but Leeds were holding their own. After 19 minutes they stunned the crowd as Jermaine Beckford scored from a Johnny Howson forward ball with a classy composed finish.
Jermaine Beckford had been on the radar of a host of Championship and Premier League clubs for a couple of years after tearing League One apart with some deadly finishing and this finish put him brought him into the focus of a host of new clubs by suggesting he could cut it at the top level.
Beckford ended up at Everton and Leeds made it to League One at the end of the season but it was a long 70 minutes or so for the Leeds faithful as they managed to close out the game in a confident and assured performance.
Manchester United dominated possession but did not threaten until the final thirty minutes of the match and a combination of great defending and poor finishing meant that Leeds pulled off the shock of the 2009/2010 FA Cup.