Blackburn Rovers 1 Leeds United 2: Pontus Jansson produces magic at death to pile pressure on Championship top two
LEEDS United moved eight points clear of the teams outside of the Championship play-offs as an 89th-minute header from new cult hero Pontus Jansson sealed a dramatic 2-1 victory at Blackburn Rovers.
After a goalless and fairly dull first half, Stuart Dallas fired Leeds into a 74th-minute lead with a superb angled finish from just inside the penalty box.
Blackburn then levelled just nine minutes later when Elliott Bennett's long shot beat Rob Green but United had the last laugh when Jansson rocketed home a late header to spark wild scenes in front of over 6,000 travelling Whites fans in the Blackburn away end.
At a half-empty Ewood Park apart from the away end, Blackburn had the ball in the net after four minutes as Sam Gallagher converted Elliott Bennett's cross but Rob Green was clearly fouled and the effort was rightly disallowed.
Liam Bridcutt then half-volleyed United's first attempt well wide before Gaetano Berardi was lucky to get away with a sliced clearance that rolled back to 'keeper Rob Green.
Rovers gradually began to apply the pressure but without creating a major chance and Leeds then saw claims for a 19th-minute penalty waved away when a Stuart Dallas cross hit Ryan Nyambe's arm.
And from a 22nd-minute free-kick on the edge of the Blackburn box, Chris Wood curled a beautiful effort narrowly wide.
After a quiet next eight minutes, Leeds then saw further claims for a penalty waved away after Eunan O'Kane was sent sprawling in the Rovers box by Nyambe.
And following a superb raking pass by Gaetano Berardi, Luke Ayling's cross was mey by Kemar Roofe who headed a 34th-minute effort over the bar.
The only real blemish on United's first half came when Pontus Jansson picked up his 11th yellow card of the season for sliding into Darragh Lenihan.
But Blackburn then surged forward in the 42nd minute and only another powerful header from Jansson cleared United's lines before Ayling made an important block.
Rovers were ending the first half with some sort of flourish but the hosts then totally wasted a 45th-minute free-kick which sailed out of play and was the last meaningful piece of action of the half.
Whites head coach Garry Monk opted to take off the fairly ineffective Hadi Sacko for Pablo Hernandez during the break but Blackburn began the second half much the brighter.
Leeds, though, squandered a decent chance when a good cross from Dallas found Roofe in the area but a lack of control saw the chance go begging.
But Blackburn looked much-improved and there were gasps from the home fans when Ayling cleared a 59th-minute cross over his own bar.
Monk then brought on Souleymane Doukara for Roofe just after the hour and Leeds quickly created a chance as a back-post header from Dallas dropped wide from a Hernandez cross.
At the other end, Gallagher blazed a wild shot over before Green tipped Bennett's left-flank free-kick wide for a corner which Leeds cleared.
But United gradually began to build a few attacks of their own and the Whites then took a 74th-minute lead through a gem of a strike from Dallas.
A long ball found the winger out wide and to the rear of Blackburn's box but Dallas chested the ball down before launching a pile-driver across Jason Steele into the far corner.
The strike sparked wild scenes in the packed away end and flares on the pitch but Blackburn attempted to immediately rally with a shot from Gallagher deflected behind for a corner which Leeds scrambled clear.
Yet Rovers then equalised just one minute later when a seemingly harmless long shot from Bennett appeared to take a deflection and rolled past Green at his left-hand post.
Things should have gone from bad to worse for Leeds just three minutes later but substitute Lucas Joao spooned the ball over the bar from ten yards out and central.
And Leeds made Rovers pay just three minutes later when a left-flank corner was met by a bullet header from Jansson to put United back in front and ultimately seal a dramatic win.
Leeds United: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Berardi, O'Kane (Vieira 78), Bridcutt, Dallas, Sacko (Hernandez 45), Roofe (Doukara 62), Wood. Subs not used: Silvestri, Coyle, Phillips, Antonsson.
Blackburn: Steele, Nyambe, Greer, Lenihan, Williams, Feeney (Conway 77), Mulgrew, Lowe (Joao 78), Bennett, Gallagher, Graham. Subs not used: Raya, Guthrie, Tomlinson, Mahoney, Brown.
Attendance: 17,026 (6,402 Leeds).