LEEDS UNITED stayed top of the Championship on goal difference as strikes from Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Kalvin Phillips plus a bizarre Bartosz Bialkowski own goal saw off dangerous Ipswich Town 3-2 at Elland Road.
Lasogga fired United into a 13th-minute lead after a fine through ball from Conor Shaughnessy though Ipswich levelled on the half hour mark through a close range header from David McGoldrick.
But the Whites regained the advantage just two minutes later when Phillips cashed in on poor defending to slot the ball home from a tight angle.
Ipswich ‘keeper Bialkowski then dropped a Pablo Hernandez corner into his own net in the 68th minute before Ipswich set up a grandstand finish when Joe Garner netted from close range.
But Leeds held on for another victory which kept them just ahead of Tuesday night’s third-placed hosts Cardiff City and second-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers on goal difference.
Leeds dominated the opening exchanges and Lasogga made no mistake 13 minutes in after a superb through ball from Conor Shaughnessy released the German one-on-one.
Ipswich were going nowhere though Joe Garner should have done better from a 20th-minute corner which he headed over the bar from six yards out.
United’s Luke Ayling then fired a harmless effort wide from 25 yards and Ayling then saved the day at the other end with a fine tackle on David McGoldrick as the striker raced in on goal.
McGoldrick’s earlier square ball had whizzed through the United defence and Dominic Iorfa’s effort was then blocked from a dangerous corner.
An Ipswich leveller looked imminent and it arrived in the 30th minute when Ward’s right-sided free-kick was headed home from close range by McGoldrick.
Yet United regained the lead just two minutes later when a weak header was pounced upon by Phillips who rounded Bialkowski before brilliantly finishing from a tight angle.
Alioski then fired a free-kick over the bar and United should have gone 3-1 up when a brilliant back-heel from Pablo Hernandez set up Samu Saiz who saw his goalbound effort blocked.
But Ipswich caused another real scare in first half injury time when Garner’s header from another corner was cleared off the line by Vurnon Anita.
Ipswich began the second half on the front foot and McGoldrick and then Tristan Nydam saw efforts blocked.
After Iorfa fired wide from a tight angle, Ipswich then squandered a fine chance on the hour mark when Ward played in McGoldrick whose shot was helped over the bar via a vital touch from Felix Wiedwald.
But Leeds remained a constant threat too and Alioski threatened in the 75th minute after being played in by Lasogga but the Macedonian hit the side netting after cutting inside from the right.
And after the lively Alioski had earned Leeds another corner, a curling delivery by Hernandez was dropped over the line by Bialkowski in front of a delighted Kop.
That looked to be that but Ipswich immediately hit back when Wiedwald parried Iorfa’s shot into the path of Garner who hammered the ball home in the 71st minute.
But Leeds held on despite four particularly nervy minutes of added time during which time interventions from Eunan O’Kane and Shaughnessy were particularly vital.
Leeds United: Wiedwald, Anita (Berardi 60), Cooper, Shaughnessy, Ayling, O’Kane, Phillips, Alioski, Hernandez (Dallas 76), Saiz, Lasogga (Grot 85). Subs not used: Lonergan, Pennington, Klich, Roofe.
Ipswich Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Iorfa, Chambers, Knudsen, Ward (Celina 68), Adeyemi, Skuse, Nydam (Sears 68), McGoldrick (Waghorn 85), Garner. Subs not used: Gerken, Connolly, Kenlock, Woolfenden.
Referee: Geoff Eltringham.
Attendance: 34,002 (693 Ipswich).
Good Day For: Thomas Christiansen. A good week all in all. Beaten badly at Millwall last Saturday, he needed a response at Burnley on Tuesday but he needed a response against Ipswich Town more. The confidence of his players was there at the first whistle and despite the tension of the second half, they were worth their gruelling win.
Bad Day For: Bartosz Bialkowski. Don’t do that. And for your own sake, don’t do it in front of Elland Road’s Kop. As fumbles go, the Pole’s was Sunday League standard and it earned him some merciless taunting. Mick McCarthy must have been tempted to join in. Or throttle him.
Key Moment: Bialkowski’s blunder. It decided the game but it also gave Leeds some necessary breathing space, short-lived though their 3-1 advantage was. Ipswich had too much to do in the time that was left.