Gjanni Alioski’s second-half strike gave Paul Heckingbottom the satisfaction of a win over his old club Barnsley as Leeds United sent the South Yorkshire club a step closer to relegation.
Alioski slid in a point-blank finish on 51 minutes, regaining control of a derby which Barnsley had begun to dominate in the closing stages of the first half.
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Jose Morais’ side fell behind to a 17th-minute strike from Tom Pearce, the 20-year-old’s first Leeds goal, but they replied nine minutes before the break when Ezekiel Fryers’ cross forced an own goal off the legs of Paudie O’Connor.
United were indebted to a vital save from young goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell seconds before the break and Alioski made that intervention pay when he finished off clever play from Kemar Roofe from close range.
Barnsley were desperate for points having started the day two from safety in the Championship but Heckingbottom, a lifelong Barnsley fan, was bidding to claim the scalp of the side he walked out of to take charge of Leeds in February. The victory was only his third in 14 games as Leeds boss.
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Leeds United: Peacock-Farrell, Pearce, O’Connor, Pennington, Jansson, Vieira, Phillips, Alioski (Ekuban 71), Saiz (Forshaw 84), Hernandez, Roofe. Subs (not used): Lonergan, Anita, Cooper, Sacko, Lasogga.
Barnsley: Davies, Yiadom, Mills (Hedges 81), Lindsay, Fryers, Potts, Gardner, Hammill, Mahoney (Moore 62), Bradshaw (Moncur 72), McBurnie. Subs (not used): Walton, McCarthy, Cavare, Pinnock.
Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire)