EFL Sky Bet Championship
Leeds United 1 (Wood 45) Derby County 0
Garry Monk's Leeds United recorded a huge 1-0 victory over Derby County, to move eight points clear of the seventh placed Rams thanks to Chris Wood’s header, in a dominant performance at Elland Road.
United had a great chance inside eight minutes, Pablo Hernandez put in a neat dinked cross to the back post looking for Kemar Roofe, but Richard Keogh made a really good clearance, heading the ball over the crossbar.
Leeds kept Derby pinned in their own half, having a number of corners without managing to get a breakthrough, Souleymane Doukara went close when he turned on the edge of the box and fired low, but his effort went just inches wide.
Liam Bridcutt then forced Scott Carson into action, he tried a fizzing drive from 25 yards and with the ball dipping, the former Leeds stopper just managed to palm the ball over the crossbar.
From the resulting corner, Kyle Bartley had a free header, bringing out the best of Carson, tipping over the bar, before Bartley had another header at the next corner, which Carson managed to keep hold of.
United’s dominance and territory in the Derby half continued with the Whites winning another corner. Bartley was free at the back post, but with the ball at his feet, five yards out, the defender could only put the brilliant opportunity wide.
Against the run of play, Tom Ince drove downfield and he forced Rob Green into action for the first time just before the half an hour mark, with the Leeds keeper making a good save to deny him.
Roofe was next to go close, he cut inside from the left before firing at goal, forcing Carson into a low save.
United took a deserved lead on the stroke of half time, Leeds finally made Derby pay from a set-piece when Wood headed home a Hernandez corner to lift the roof off Elland Road.
Derby had an opportunity to hit back straight away through Ince, he cut inside in the area and was only denied by a fine Green save, ensuring Leeds went into the interval deservedly in front after a fantastic first half display.
Half Time: Leeds United 1-0 Derby County
Steve McClaren made two changes for the visitors at the break, with Will Hughes and Matej Vydra replacing Julien De Sart and Abdoul Camara.
Derby almost had an equaliser five minutes into the second period, Darren Bent charged down a Green kick and the ball went into the back of the net, but the former England international saw the goal ruled out for handball.
United then went close to a second, Hernandez was at the back post about to pounce, but for a last ditch Derby clearance.
A Rams counter attack almost resulted in an equaliser, substitute Vydra on the counter attack progressed into the Leeds area and was only denied a shot on target by a brilliant block from Lewie Coyle.
Gaetano Berardi saw a corner ball fall to him on the edge of the box in the 66th minute, he struck at goal and fired just over.
Carson then kept Derby in the game when he denied Ronaldo Vieira’s 25 yard strike as United searched for a second goal.
Former Whites midfielder Bradley Johnson was shown his second yellow card in the 89th minute after hacking down Stuart Dallas, ensuring a miserable return to Elland Road.
In the dying minutes Vieira had a great chance to seal it, he played a neat one two with Wood, before firing on goal, but he couldn’t get the better of Carson.
United then saw out the dying seconds, to record a fifth straight win and clean sheet at Elland Road, as a huge roar rang out upon the full time whistle, with Leeds moving up to a season high of third in the Championship.
Full Time: Leeds United 1-0 Derby County
United: Green, Berardi, Bartley, Ayling, Coyle, Bridcutt, Hernandez (Mowatt 87), Vieira, Roofe (Dallas 79), Doukara, Wood. Subs not used: Silvestri, Antonsson, O’Kane, Phillips, Denton.
Derby: Carson, Bryson, Shackell, Keogh, Ince, Bent (Nugent 68), Baird, Johnson, De Sart (Hughes 46), Camara (Vydra 46), Hanson. Subs not used: Mitchell, Russell, Pearce, Weimann.
Booked: Bartley, Hernandez (Leeds), Baird, Ince, Johnson (Derby)
Sent Off: Johnson (Derby)
Referee: S. Duncan
Venue: Elland Road