Leeds manager Terry Venables can celebrate his 60th birthday on Monday with a smile after avoiding the threat of an FA Cup giantkilling by Scunthorpe after a 2-0 victory.
The majority of an 8,328 crowd - the best in Glanford Park's 15-year history and so producing record gate receipts of more than £90,000 - turned out with expectant hope of witnessing an in-form Leeds suffer further misery this season.
The competition remains Leeds' last realistic hope of silverware after disappointing exits from the Worthington and UEFA Cups, and with their Premiership form wretched prior to a much-needed revival over Christmas and New Year.
There was certainly the potential for an upset, despite Leeds having won four and drawn one of their five previous league matches to lift themselves clear of the drop zone and give themselves hope of a place in Europe again for next season.
At half-time, Scunthorpe boss Brian Laws must have looked at his players in the dressing room wondering why his side were a goal down as the fact there are 63 places between the sides had hardly been in evidence.
There were no sign of stage-fright from the Iron, and instead it was Leeds who looked nervous, particularly in the opening exchanges and with memories of the 2-1 shock at Cardiff a year ago still fresh in the minds for the majority of Whites stars.
Laws' side started well and after just 17 seconds Matt Sparrow saw a curler from the edge of the area blocked by goalkeeper Paul Robinson.
That had come courtesy of skipper Dominic Matteo finding himself out of position as the Scotland international was starting at left-back in place of the benched Ian Harte for his first match after three months on the sidelines following knee surgery.
What proved to be the home side's best chance of the opening half followed just four minutes later when Martin Carruthers took advantage of a Danny Mills' error to steal in front of the centre-back, only to fire an acutely-angled shot across the face of goal.
Leeds initially struggled to get out of their own half in the opening 10 minutes such was the Scunthorpe pressure, until Viduka should have steadied his side with a 12th-minute opener.
Harry Kewell whipped in a left-wing cross which found an unmarked, awaiting Viduka in the six-yard box, only for the Australian to flick his header narrowly wide of the left-hand post.
With Leeds appearing to find their feet, soon after a deflected Jason Wilcox cross found its way to Viduka for a 15-yard angled shot on the turn which keeper Tom Evans initially spilled, recovering to take it at the second attempt with Kewell following in.
Scunthorpe, though, were more than holding their own, but at a time with confidence rising they then let the initiative slip from their grasp as a Sparrow trip on Eirik Bakke led to Burntwood referee Alan Wiley unhesitatingly pointing to the spot.
Viduka then nonchalantly sent Evans the wrong way in the 32nd minute for his second goal in successive matches, and his seventh of the season, despite the best efforts of the Iron fans behind the goal in trying to put off the imposing striker.
Such had been the barracking Viduka received, he proceeded to blow kisses to those same supporters on his way back to the centre circle.
Scunthorpe refused to wilt, with Ian Kilford inches wide with a fine 25-yard free-kick, while Carruthers sliced wide when well placed after being fed by Wayne Graves.
The corner count of 9-0 in Scunthorpe's favour told its own story, but such had been the concerted effort of Laws' players, they primarily had blown themselves out.
Leeds effectively took charge after the break, albeit without really imposing their superiority on the match and despite a squad comparison with Leeds' costing more than £40million in relation to the £245,000 for Scunthorpe.
After Viduka, and in particular Kewell, had proved profligate early in the second half, Leeds sealed their place in Monday's fourth round draw in the 68th minute.
Viduka was the provider with a slide rule through ball for Bakke to loft a superb flick over the advancing Evans, finally easing nerves and the prospect a late rally from the home side.
Scunthorpe did continue to threaten, with Robinson producing the save of the game from a Carruthers flick soon after Bakke's breakthrough, and while Laws can be proud of his players, he will maybe reflect on what might have been.
Scunthorpe boss Brian Laws claimed he was 'a very proud man' after watching
his side lose 2-0 to Leeds in the FA Cup third round today.
Laws could have no complaints, but was left to reflect on one of those FA Cup
cases of what might have been as he said: 'The players did really well in the
first-half, but we needed to score.
'Leeds were totally under pressure and I was hoping it would take its toll on
them, but they have gone into the interval 1-0 up against the run of play.
'When you're playing Premier League sides you need to score first, but Leeds
got the goal that gave them a bit of breathing space and then came out for the
second-half with a lot more confidence.
'But I am a very proud man tonight. I don't think my players could have given
'The only thing you could criticise them on - if you can - is that when we
got into the final third we needed a bit more quality because we were causing
them all sorts of problems.
'That was the difference between the two sides because that final ball from
Leeds was superb and it hurt us at times.'
With Scunthorpe pushing hard for a Third Division play-off place, Laws added:
'Away from the league this game was just a bonus. The players worked really hard over Christmas to put us in a good position
in the table and to ensure this was a game to enjoy.
'I thought they did that at times, but now it's the old chestnut for us of
simply concentrating on the league.'
Leeds boss Terry Venables described his side's display as 'a good
professional performance', with the Whites now having won five and drawn one of
their last six matches.
It means Venables can comfortably celebrate his 60th birthday on Monday,
unconcerned as to who his side will be paired with in the fourth round.
He said: 'Whoever it is it will be a good draw and you have to take it.'
A bonus for Venables was the return from a three-month injury lay-off of
skipper Dominic Matteo, with Venables adding: 'It was a major plus to get
'He did well, giving us good drive down the left-hand side, especially in the
second half. That's also three clean sheets for us now, which is good. Everybody likes
that, and it's come as a result of us being more compact and more patient.
Hopefully we can keep going in the same direction.'
Upon learning of Everton's shock defeat at Shrewsbury, Venables was also
understandably relieved it had not been his side on the receiving end of such a
'There's always one upset and you just hope it's not you,' added Venables.
'You have to get it right on the day and although this was a tough game for us,
in the end we did all right.'