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24 September 2016

A Chris Wood goal gives Leeds the win as Town's injury problems mount

A first-half header from former Town loanee Chris Wood separated the teams at Elland Road.

The New Zealand international was the stand out player in the game and had already hit the post before he buried a header in Town’s net 10 minutes before the break.

Wood was denied twice by Bart Bialkowski and Hadi Sacko wasted a great chance for the home side while Grant Ward’s deflected effort was the closest Town came to getting something from the game.

Mick McCarthy named an unchanged side from the team that drew with Aston Villa last weekend, though Teddy Bishop and Luke Varney missed the trip through injury.

Jonas Knudsen stood firm as Sacko looked for an early breakthrough for Leeds, the Denmark international blocking the shot. Town responded with a clever free-kick that saw Freddie Sears find space inside the home box but his cross was cleared.

Wood had the Leeds fans on their feet on 10 minutes when he showed a great touch down the left and then an even better strike with his right foot that exploded past Bialkowski but cannoned back off the inside of the far post to safety.

Wood was back in his own box moments later to clear from Ward’s cross, then Town’s summer signing from Tottenham was inches wide with a deflected volley that completely wrong-footed Rob Green in the Leeds goal.

Christophe Berra headed over from the resultant corner, Knudsen doing well to stop the danger as Sacko tried to release Wood at the other end. 

Berra took the ball off Wood’s head as he looked certain to get on the end of a cross, Kyle Bartley unable to direct his header from a corner towards goal.
Blues were forced into a change midway through the half with the injured Brett Pitman replaced by Leon Best. 

Jonathan Douglas couldn’t connect against his former club as he looked to get on the end of Ward’s cross before the deadlock was broken on 35 minutes, Stuart Dallas and Charlie Taylor linking up well down the left and Wood made no mistake with his header.

Wood was proving a real handful to the Town defence and span away from Berra on the edge of the box but fired well over, Blues’ Scotland international then bravely throwing himself in front of Wood’s shot from point blank range for what could have been a second goal on the stroke of half-time. 

Knudsen did well to prevent the pacy Sacko getting in on goal, Bialkowski getting down well to hold to Pablo Hernandez’s dangerous cross, Town’s keeper doing even better to keep out Wood in a one on one. 

Blues suffered another injury blow when Adam Webster was forced off before the hour with what looked like a hamstring injury, Josh Emmanuel his replacement. 

Leeds had a gilt edged chance to make it two when Wood’s shot was kept by Bialkowski but right into Sacko’s path but the goal open, he blasted wide.

Bialkowski then prevented Kalvin Phillips’ free-kick finding the top corner, Luke Chambers - playing in the middle of the backline after Webster’s departure - staying strong to clear from Wood as the former Leicester striker weaved his way into the box.

Town’s injury problems were made worse when Ward became the third Blue to limp off, Kevin Bru joining the fray for the closing stages. The midfielder immediately booked for a foul. 

Knudsen had a shot blocked after Emmanuel’s cross had fallen to him, then Berra was booked for apparent diving on the edge of the box - a decision that clearly infuriated the Town defender.  

Cole Skuse did well to rescue Town as Alex Mowatt burst in on goal, then Blues were handed a free-kick on the edge of the Leeds box when Tom Lawrence went down but Freddie Sears sent his free-kick well over.

Green was quickly off his line to deny Douglas in added on time but Blues couldn’t find an equaliser as Leeds made it a fourth successive win.

Leeds: Green, Ayling, Jansson, Bartley, Taylor, Phillips, O'Kane, Hernandez (Mowatt 82), Dallas (Grimes 85), Sacko (Roofe 77), Wood. Subs not used: Silvestri, Coyle, Cooper, Antonsson.

Town: Bialkowski, Chambers, Webster (Emmanuel 56), Berra, Knudsen, Skuse, Douglas, Lawrence, Ward (Bru 72), Sears, Pitman (Best 24). Subs not used: Gerken, Kenlock, Dozzell, Grant. Booked: Bru, Berra.
Att: 22,554

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