Promotion campaign keeps moving...
UNITED 4 (Howson 51, Becchio 58, Gradel 73, 87), FOREST 1 (McCleary 65)
United: Schmeichel, Lichaj, O'Brien, Bromby, McCartney, Johnson (Kilkenny 87), Howson, Snodgrass, Bannan (Livermore 76), Gradel, Becchio (Somma 90). Subs: Higgs, Naylor, Watt, McCormack.
Forest: Camp, Lynch, Morgan, Chambers, Gunter, Cohen , Anderson (McCleary 30), Majewski, McGugan, Boyd (Tyson 54), Tudgay (Earnshaw 80). Subs: Adebola, Darlow, Bennett, McGoldrick.
Referee: M Halsey
Booked: , Bromby (Leeds), Tudgay, Boyd, Morgan, McCleary (Forest)
Sent-off: Cohen (Leeds)
Extended highlights (from Sunday) plus reaction on LUTV...
United manager Simon Grayson named an unchanged team as his side embarked on the final eight games of the season with a clash with promotion chasing rivals Nottingham Forest.It was an important game for both sides, and it was United who had first sight of goal when Max Gradel curled a free-kick just wide of the mark inside the opening three minutes.
Forest also had an early free-kick from an identical position which was blocked by the wall and when United broke quickly, Lee Camp had to come off his line to collect a Gradel cross.
Barry Bannan also tested camp with a decent strike after creating himself an opening on the edge of the box. It was a lively opening, and Radoslaw Majewski had a shot deflected wide by Bradley Johnson.
And Forest had a good chance in the 22nd when Marcus Tudgay lifted the ball over the bar from just a few yards out after meeting a Lewis McGugan cross at the far post.
Robert Snodgrass responded by creating an opening for Leeds, and both sides were looking to exploit any opportunity.
But it was Forest who should have taken the lead on 35 minutes when a goalbound shot was blocked on the line. As Leeds attemped to clear their lines quickly, George McCartney was the victim of a lunging challenge from Chris Cohen and referee Mark Halsey wasted no time in pulling out his red card.
The ensuing melee and consultation period ensured there were three extra minutes added to the first half, and Kasper Schmeichel was called upon to make two saves during that extra period.
United started the second half on the front foot and Camp had to collect an early cross from Snodgrass when Luciano Becchio was closing in on the Forest keeper.
And it was United who went in front on 51 minutes. Eric Lichaj was the provider, latching on to a great ball from Snodgrass, and his cross was converted by Jonny Howson at the near post.
It was 2-0 in the 58th minute as well when Becchio headed home from close range. Leigh Bromby stabbed a corner back at the far post and Becchio reacted quickly to convert.
Leeds were well on top now, and Snodgrass curled a shot onto the bar when United threatened again. Next up, Gradel fired wide of the mark after a good break and ball from Howson.
But Forest were back in it in the 65th minute when Gareth McCleary scored with a stunning strike from just inside of the box to reduce the arrears.
The visitors also looked to apply some pressure and United had some defending to do, but it was game over on 73 minutes when a free-kick was swung in from deep, Forest failed to clear, and Gradel was able to capitalise by hooking the ball home.
With 14 minutes to go, Grayson handed Jake Livermore his debut in place of the lively Bannan as Leeds looked to ease towards victory.
With eight minutes to go, the visitors did have a half-chance when Nathan Tyson fired wide of the mark, but it was 4-1 on 87 minutes when Gradel scored his second of the afternoon. Livermore showed great skill to work an opening and Camp could only parry his shot as far as Gradel who converted.
And that proved the last action of the game as United took a giant step towards securing a place in the Play-Offs.