An Elland Road game against Fulham in December 2003 is one I’ll never forget. It was the day I scored my first Premier League goal for Leeds and as you know I didn’t score that many, so this was definitely a day to remember.
We were having a bad time of it to be honest and had taken some real beatings. Peter Reid had gone the month before and Eddie Gray had come in as caretaker. We all knew Eddie from his time with David O’Leary and he’s a true Leeds legend, but he’d only been in the job a couple of weeks and was still trying to get his points across. We had some quality players and we had been really struggling. Every game was really tough and we’d gone from a confident team to one who was scrapping for points. We’d won at Charlton a couple of weeks earlier when a teenage James Milner scored, and that was a vital result to keep us in touch with the teams above the relegation zone.
We’d also picked up a point against Chelsea the week before at home, but Fulham were a very good side around this time as well and we knew the importance of getting another result. Fulham were establishing themselves in the Premier League and their team included the likes of Edwin van der Sar, Steed Malbranque, Louis Saha, Sylvain Legwinski and Sean Davis. They were a good attractive team and it was an important game for us at the time.
Michael Duberry and Mark Viduka scored either side of half-time to put us 2-0 up, but we were very fragile, and Saha pulled one back quickly before getting an equaliser four minutes from time.
After being 2-0 up a point would have been disappointing, but I remember the way the Leeds fans reacted to that equaliser and the roof came off as they rallied us.
Now, as you will have gathered, I’m not your normal last-minute winner type of guy, but when Zak Knight slipped, I managed to get away from him and leapt like a gazelle (yes, really – watch it on YouTube!) to get the ball in the back of the net. The euphoria was unbelievable.
It was our second win three games after a dreadful start, but all of a sudden, going into Christmas, we suddenly had something to build on. Sadly, that wasn’t to last, and it wasn’t until February that we won at home again, but that’s another story for another day.