Why Leeds can end 31 years of hurt this weekend

Leeds United

It is 16 matches and 31 years since Leeds beat Cardiff in any competition and this weekend provides another opportunity for Leeds to end the curse.

February 11th, 1984 and Leeds have just beaten Cardiff 1-0 at Ninian Park through a George McCluskey goal in front of 9,405 fans. It was a regulation victory, but Leeds were at the beginning of a slump that would see them finish 10th that season - their second in the old Division Two following 1982's relegation - and endure another six seasons before escaping the second tier.

Little did they know it would be their last victory over Cardiff City to date.

After the two contests in 1984-85, in which Leeds drew one and lost one, there would be no meetings between the two until January 2002 and the infamous third round FA Cup tie at Ninian Park, which then third-tier Cardiff won 2-1 against Premier League leaders Leeds. The two clubs had gone in separate directions in the intervening years, but the FA Cup clash was the first of many heated encounters in the new Millennium in which the resurgent Welsh club have overwhelmingly had the upper hand.

Leeds' overall record against Cardiff is played 51, won 14, drawn 13, lost 24; a depressingly one-sided record against a club that Leeds couldn't claim to have any great rivalry with. However, recent years have seen animosity grow between the two clubs, mainly triggered by the unsavoury scenes witnessed at the 2002 FA Cup clash, but also by Leeds' wretched record in the fixture.

The two clubs locked horns in the league for the first time in 21 years in the 2004-05 season, when two draws were registered. But since the two clubs have been reacquainted, Leeds have failed to record a win, or in truth, even come close to winning, and their record since the last win in 1984 is played 16, won 0, drawn 8, lost 8.

This run included a spell spanning the 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2010-11 seasons (Leeds were in League One in between) when Cardiff won all six consecutive fixtures between the two.

Now Leeds approach an Elland Road fixture with genuine hopes of putting an end to a record that has persisted through its irritation value. With a good home record in 2015 and with Cardiff level on points with them and ahead only on goal difference in the Sky Bet Championship table, now feels like the time to lay the Cardiff hoodoo to rest.

Whether Neil Redfearn uses the record against Cardiff for additional motivation for Saturday's fixture is open to question, but in an end-of-season meeting carrying little other significance, Redfearn would be advised to add some spice where he can.

Certainly, the Elland Road faithful would welcome a long overdue victory over the Welshmen and much like they laid a similar ghost to rest against Derby this season - the Rams had won nine consecutive games against Leeds before a draw at the end of last season and two Leeds wins this - the Leeds fans will feel now is the time.

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