LEEDS UNITED recorded their first set of back to back league victories under head coach Garry Monk as a Chris Wood penalty and Pablo Hernandez peach sunk Saturday lunch-time’s Championship hosts Cardiff City 2-0.
After Pontus Jansson was sent tumbling over from a corner, a cool Wood calmly slotted home a 62nd-minute penalty.
With Cardiff leaving plenty of space at the back seeking a leveler, United then bagged their second goal eight minutes from time when Hernandez curled a gem into the top right corner.
Cardiff were given an early opportunity when Jansson misread a clearance and allowed Rickie Lambert through but an alert stand-in captain Kyle Bartley managed to clear the danger.
A seventh-minute Peter Whittingham free-kick from the right flank then caused panic in the Whites box but that delivery and two subsequent corners were eventually cleared.
Cardiff were dominating and Jansson then needed to make a brave sliding tackle to block an effort from Aron Gunnarsson which looked threatening.
But United then had their first opportunity a few minutes later when a left wing cross from Stuart Dallas narrowly evaded Chris Wood on 13 minutes.
Cardiff, though, continued to cause Leeds bother and only the woodwork denied the hosts a 15th-minute opener as Whittingham’s corner was headed onto the outside of the post by Sean Morrison after a fingertip save by Rob Green before United cleared.
United needed to up their game and Dallas produced a neat turn and goalwards run before firing a low effort that was deflected back to ‘keeper Ben Amos.
Pablo Hernandez then beat three men before playing in Luke Ayling who overcooked his cross and Hernandez then went close in the 24th-minute when Cardiff lost possession and the Spaniard’s stinging effort was beaten away by Amos.
Hadi Sacko was then booked for a foul on Craig Noone for a free-kick which Leeds cleared and United then squandered a golden chance at the other end through Wood.
Sacko raced clear of Whittingham on the right wing and back-heeled to Hernandez who dished up an ideal opening for Wood who was unmarked with only Amos to beat from 12 yards out but powered an effort straight down the keeper’s throat.
At the other end, a Lambert cross was headed just wide, though in any event the offside flag was raised.
For Leeds, a Sacko cross was then claimed by Amos at the feet of Dallas before Ayling was booked for fouling Jazz Richards to concede yet another free-kick from which Cardiff again hit the post, a minute before the break.
Whittingham’s left wing delivery caused penalty box pinball with Gunnarsson’s effort eventually deflected towards goal by Lee Peltier and then cannoning back off the left hand post.
Leeds began the second half on the front foot but failed to make the most of two decent attacks and United were then grateful for another cleared header from Jansson to prevent Lambert from nodding home a cross from Richards.
Dallas was then booked for hauling down Gunnarrson for a free-kick which led to a sustained period of Cardiff pressure, forcing Jansson to stab an effort from Lambert over the bar.
At the other end, Wood fired a half chance over from a tight angle just before the hour mark, after which United earned two corners.
And it was from the second of those corners that referee Graham Scott awarded Leeds a 62nd-minute penalty when Jansson was shoved to the floor by Connolly.
Wood stepped up to take the spot kick and showed nerves of steel to stroke home a cool effort into the bottom right corner and send Amos the wrong way.
Cardiff almost immediately leveled when two corners forced Leeds to scramble clear with Green getting his hands to a back post header from Lambert.
Monk then withdrew Dallas for Kemar Roofe in the 71st minute and soon after a beautiful long pass from Ayling played in Wood but his shot was blocked by a crucial tackle from Connolly.
Roofe then fired over from range as Leeds looked for a second, which should have been scored in the 81st minute when United countered two on one but Hernandez elected to go it alone rather than slide in Wood.
The Spaniard’s shot was deflected into the hands of Amos but Leeds continued to threaten and Hernandez then played in Sacko whose stinging low shot was tipped around the post by Amos.
But there was no stopping Leeds in the 82nd minute when the very lively Hernandez again moved forward before curling a peach into the top right corner from just inside the area.
The goal sparked a home exodus from an already quiet Cardiff City Stadium and the Bluebirds never really looked like pulling a goal back with two deliveries from Whittingham easily dealt with by Green.
And after both Hernandez and Wood were substituted to huge applause from the away end, it was United who finished on the attack in three minutes of injury time.
Leeds United: Green, Ayling, Jansson, Bartley, Taylor, Vieira, O’Kane, Hernandez (Phillips 89), Dallas (Roofe 71), Sacko, Wood (Antonnson 90). Subs not used: Silvestri, Coyle, Cooper, Mowatt.
Cardiff: Amos, Peltier, Morrison, Richards, Whittingham, Ralls (Harris 70), Noone, Pilkington (Immers 89), Connolly (Gounongbe 90), Gunnarsson, Lambert. Subs not used: Wilson, Ecuele Manga, John, Huws.
Referee: G Scott.
Attendance: 16, 608.
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