LEEDS 2 (Becchio 44, 72), MIDDLESBROUGH 1 (Jutkiewicz 28)
United: Kenny, Byram, Tate, Lees, Peltier (Pearce 78), Green (White 46), Tonge, Norris, Thomas (Somma 69), Becchio, Diouf. Subs: Ashdown,, Varney, Brown, McCormack.
Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte (Parnaby 76), Hines, Friend, Woodgate, Leadbitter, Smallwood (Ledesma 76), McEachran, McDonald (Halliday 80), Emnes, Jutkiewicz. Subs: Thomson, Bailey, Leutwiler, Reach.
Referee: P Tierney
Attendance: 25,406 (3,000 Boro)
United manager Neil Warnock re-shuffled his starting line-up after the 5-1 reverse at the hands of Chelsea in the Capital One Cup in midweek. Back came Paddy Kenny, Alan Tate, and David Norris to the side.
Boro arrived in third place in the table and they started the clash lively enough, Marvin Emnes having an early strike on goal.
It was a tenative opening in difficult conditions after heavy overnight rain continued during the day, and United's first strike on goal came when Michael Tonge had a free-kick blocked.
Boro keeper Jason Steele had the first real save of the game to make after 20 minutes when he did well to scramble away a Sam Byram header after a good delivery from E-Hadji Diouf.
But Middlesbrough went in front before the half-hour when Lucas Jutkiewicz scored at the second attempt with a shot which appeared to take a deflection off Alan Tate before beating Paddy Kenny.
United responded almost immediately with Sam Byram going close. Moments later, Jerome Thomas latched on to a long ball forward from Kenny, but his shot flashed past Steele and across the face of goal.
United had the slight edge in terms of possession and dominance, but when Byram got in a cross it was cleared and the visitores were well organised with men behind the ball, and looked to break up play in the final third.
But United were back in it before the break when Boro failed to clear their lines after a good spell of pressure of Luciano Becchio hammered the ball home with a wonderful first time strike.
Warnock was forced into making a change at half-time, Aidy White replacing an ill Paul Green, prompting a re-shuffle which saw Byram moved into the midfield, and Lee Peltier to right back.
White was involved in United's first attack of the half, but Jutkiewicz had a good opportunity to restore Boro's lead when he broke clear before firing wide. Tom Lees also had to react quickly to stab clear a goalbound effort from Richard Smallwood.
Both sides carved out openings, Diouf came close in front of the Kop while Kenny had to spread himself well to deny Emnes.
With 21 minutes remaining, and the game still finely poised, Warnock introduced Davide Somma for his first appearance since May 2011 when he replaced Thomas.
That sparked a spell of Leeds pressure and when Diouf sent on a great cross, Steele had to react well to tip a Becchio header over the bar. There was no keeping out the resultant corner, though, Becchio getting up well and his header clipped Smallwood on the way into net as the South American put Leeds in front.
That was the cue for Boro to make changes and, with seven minutes left, White and Tonge both made vital clearances as the visitors pressed for a leveller. That left scope for Leeds to break, but Somma found himself crowded out when Diouf was well placed.
When Boro surged forward again, Emnes sent a shot just wide, but despite the visitors staging a late flurry, there was to be no way through as United made it five wins from six league outings.