EFL Sky Bet Championship
Leeds United 2 (Wood 63, 85 pen) Brighton & Hove Albion 0
Chris Wood’s second half brace secured Leeds United a massive victory at Elland Road, as the Whites took a step closer to securing a Play-Off place, at a minimum.
With promotion rivals Newcastle United, Huddersfield Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham all dropping points ahead of the game, even more was at stake in the 5:30pm kick-off and it was a cagey start to the match from both sides, who were happy to keep possession and pass the ball around.
The first chance came in the 23rd minute, Leeds won a corner in front of the Kop and Pablo Hernandez’s delivery was met by Kyle Bartley, but he couldn’t direct his effort on target.
Hernandez then won Leeds a free-kick on the left edge of the box, but he could only fire his effort against the wall.
The Spanish midfielder continued to be a threat to Brighton and he made good progress down field, before putting a great ball into the box, forcing Uwe Henemeier to head over his own cross bar, with Chris Wood waiting to pounce.
From the resulting corner, the ball fell to Wood, but he couldn’t make the desired connection with the ball, to put an effort on target.
Brighton’s first chance came in the 32nd minute, Beram Kayal put a low ball into the box and Liam Cooper almost put the ball into the back of his own net, but for a super save from Rob Green.
Leeds then countered from the resulting corner and Wood went down in the Brighton area, giving the Whites a huge shout for a penalty, but the referee waved it away.
Just before the break, Gaetano Berardi tried his luck from range, but his effort hit Wood in the box, who was unable to control as the two sides went in level at the break.
Half Time: Leeds United 0-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
After the break Jiri Skalak shot from distance at the Leeds goal and his low effort forced Green into another good save.
Leeds had a great opportunity on the hour mark, Berardi put a cross into the Brighton box, which the Seagulls failed to clear, it landed at the feet of Wood, but he was denied by Stockdale.
However three minutes later, Wood was not to be denied, Taylor got to the byline, before putting in a great cross and the New Zealand striker’s superb looping header found the back of the net to erupt Elland Road.
On the break Brighton had the chance to hit back, Anthony Knockaert broke down field and had a good opportunity to cross, but instead fired a weak effort at Green.
Murray then went through on goal for the visitors, but he couldn’t find Brighton a leveller, firing wide of the right post.
The Brighton striker then found space in the Leeds area, he chested down well, before striking on goal, but once he was denied by Green, again in great form for the Whites.
Substitute Souleymane Doukara then won Leeds a penalty with six minutes of regular time remaining, he dribbled into the Brighton area, before being brought down by Fikayo Timori. Wood stepped up and smashed the ball straight down the middle, to secure Leeds all three points to move eight points clear of seventh placed Fulham and eight points behind the Seagulls in second spot.
Full Time: Leeds United 2-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
Leeds: Green, Berardi, Bartley, Cooper, Taylor, Bridcutt, Vieira, Sacko (Dallas 81), Pedraza (Doukara 75), Hernandez (O'Kane 89), Wood. Subs not used: Silvestri, Roofe, Jansson, Barrow.
Brighton: Stockdale, Hunemeier, Dunk, Stephens, Kayal (Norwood 83), Skalak (March 70), Baldock (Akpom 74), Knockaert, Murray, Rosenior, Tomori. Subs not used: Maenpaa, Hemed, Sidwell, White.
Booked: Rosenior, Murray (Brighton)
Referee: L. Mason
Venue: Elland Road