Leeds United 3 Middlesbrough 2: Slice of Whites history and new look in Elland Road thriller

Leeds United emulated a 24-year record as a thrilling Championship hosting of Middlesbrough ended in a 3-2 victory for Daniel Farke's side.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Leeds approached Saturday afternoon’s contest having won six games at Elland Road in succession and made it seven in a row in one of the country's top two divisions for the first time since 1999 via strikes from Dan James, Crysencio Summerville and a Joel Piroe penalty.

Boro led after just three minutes but the afternoon ended in defeat for Michael Carrick’s attacking visitors who had to play the last half an hour with ten men after Anfernee Dijksteel was dismissed for a second booking.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The division’s top four all recorded victories, leaving third placed Leeds seven points off the division’s second automatic promotion place occupied by Ipswich Town and eight points adrift of leaders Leicester City. Southampton remain just a point behind the Whites in fourth.

SPOT ON: Joel Piroe converts what proved the winning goal. Picture by Tony Johnson.SPOT ON: Joel Piroe converts what proved the winning goal. Picture by Tony Johnson.
SPOT ON: Joel Piroe converts what proved the winning goal. Picture by Tony Johnson.

For the second time in four days, Elland Road witnessed a crazy opening to a game in which Boro went ahead with just three minutes on the clock. Alex Bangura's pass picked out Emmanuel Latte Lath down the left channel and the Boro forward turned Archie Gray before firing in an attempt that beat Illan Meslier at his near post.

Yet within another four minutes Leeds were ahead as both full backs and wingers combined as part of a rapid and impressive response. After a Georginio Rutter effort was saved, Leeds attacked again and Sam Byram's cross from the left flank was met by James who managed to outjump two men to head home at the far post.

Then, just two minutes later, Archie Gray proved the architect with a cross from the opposite flank that took a deflection off Paddy McNair before being met by another diminutive attacker in Summerville to head Leeds in front.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As part of a frantic opening, Boro should have equalised two minutes later but Latte Lath blazed wildly over from the middle of the box. Latte Lath then squandered another fine chance when unable to finish a one on one as Meslier raced out to save after Pascal Struijk had been caught out of position in the middle of the park.

Instead, Leeds opened up clear daylight in the 37th minute from the penalty spot after a disaster from Boro substitute Matt Clarke who conceded a spot kick within one minute of coming onto the pitch. Clarke was brought on to replace the injured McNair but his first act was to tangle with Rutter on the edge of the box which led to a penalty that Piroe converted in emphatic style.

Boro, though, continued to cause problems at the other end and the Riversiders pulled a goal back through Latte Lath within minutes of the same player missing another golden chance.

Latte Lath sent an awful free header wide from the middle of the box in the 41st minute but made no mistake in first half stoppage time when flicking home a headed finish to a corner which arrived after Boro surged forward with Struijk again out of position upfield.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There were no changes during the interval, after which Leeds squandered a massive chance in the 50th minute as Ampadu's superb pass sent in Rutter whose low drive towards the bottom left corner was tipped wide by keeper Seny Dieng for what should have been a corner only for Boro to get a goal kick.

Boro continued to ask questions themselves and a neat move ended with Isaiah Jones firing straight at Meslier from the edge of the box. But another sub-plot to the game involved the amount of yellow cards that referee Darren England was suddenly dishing out and the seventh one of the game led to an early bath for Dijksteel who caught James on the left flank in the 63rd minute.

Dijksteel had already been booked and England quickly pulled out another yellow to the dismay of the Boro defender who headed for an early bath.

Leeds suddenly had space but several more chances were squandered and Boro continued to attack despite their numerical disadvantage as the clock hit the 70 minute marker. Five minutes later, only the frame of the goal saved Leeds as a rapid Boro break ended with substitute Sammy Silvera's strike took a deflection off Struijk before cannoning back off the post.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

An excellent block from Joe Rodon denied the follow-up attempt from Morgan Rogers as Leeds survived and Whites boss Farke then called for a double change wth seven minutes left.

Patrick Bamford pulled off his hat to unveil a new look of bleached hair to the gasps of the crowd and the Whites no 9 replaced Rutter upfront as Willy Gnonto took the place of James out wide. Within five minutes of coming on, Bamford almost scored with a flicked header from a corner which was saved by Dieng who also kept out the follow-up attempt from Piroe.

Boro were then given four minutes of added time to bag an equaliser but Leeds kept the ball well and referee England eventually brought a thrilling contest to an end with 95 minutes on the clock.

Leeds United: Meslier; Gray, Rodon, Struijk, Byram; Ampadu, Kamara; James (Gnonto 83), Summerville (Anthony 90), Piroe (Gruev 90), Rutter (Bamford 83). Subs not used: Darlow, Spence, Shackleton, Cooper, Poveda.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Middlesbrough: Dieng, Dijksteel, van den Berg, McNair, Bangura (Engel 83); Howson, Barlaser (Gilbert 83), Crooks (Silvera 72); Jones, Rogers, Latte Lath (Coburn 72). Subs: Glover, Clarke, Coulson, McCabe, Cartwright.

Referee: Darren England.

Attendance: 36,812.