Leeds United 3 Swansea City 1: Whites survive early mayhem with extra boost as rivals falter
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Leeds looked to have gone ahead inside 45 seconds but Dan James was flagged offside after netting from close range upon connecting to a cross from the left. Instead, as part of a crazy opening, Swansea went ahead themselves barely 15 seconds later through Jamie Patterson who made the most of Pascal Struijk's weak header as he looked to deal with a long ball over the top.
Patterson raced in between Struijk and Illan Meslier before producing a neat first time lob into the back of the net to put the Swans ahead with less then one minute on the clock. Leeds, though, hit back to equalise just four minutes later through Joel Piroe who latched on to a lovely through ball from Crysencio Summerville before sliding the ball past Carl Rushworth into the opposite corner of the Swans net.
Leeds then looked like getting on top and the Whites had strong claims for a penalty turned down in the tenth minute as Sam Byram's cross was stopped by a Swansea hand. Referee Sam Allison turned down the Whites appeals and Swansea gradually began to pose more of a threat, much to the frustration of the Elland Road faithful as both Josh Key and the lively Jamal Lowe squandered half chances for the visitors.
The superb Summerville again offered the chief Leeds threat but the winger saw his shot from the edge of the area deflected just behind for a corner which Swansea survived. Another chance was wasted when Georginio Rutter was unable to find Glen Kamara as the duo raced away on the counter. Swansea cleared for a corner from which Struijk sent a free header straight at Rushworth.
The first half looked destined to end all square but Leeds went ahead in the third and final minute of added time through a lovely goal from Rutter. Ethan Ampadu sent a fine weighted pass over the top of the Swans defence and Rutter got himself away from Bashir Humphries before showing great strength to hold off the defender before producing a composed finish to put Leeds ahead at the break.
Leeds made a bright start to the second half and squandered a great chance in the 54th minute as Summerville blazed a shot over the bar after latching on to Rutter's first time reverse flick to a Glen Kamara pass.
Swansea continued to get forward themselves but another fine Whites opportunity went begging just before the hour mark as James failed to beat Rushworth from the edge of the box after his own brilliant high press created the chance in intercepting Key's pass out of defence.
Yet James made absolutely no mistake a few minutes later as he hammered home a clinical finish into the roof of the net having been played in by Rutter after a superb Sam Byram tackle in the middle of the park.
Leeds then pressed for a fourth goal and substitute Patrick Bamford twice went close after replacing Rutter, the Whites no 9 flicking a shot wide from a Summerville cross before seeing a powerful drive from the edge of the box saved.
Bamford then saw another shot from a tight angle blocked and turned behind for a corner from which a Rodon header was cleared off the line. Another chance then presented itself in the fourth minute of stoppage time for another substitute in Jaidon Anthony who sent a header over the bar from an Archie Gray cross.
But three goals was more than enough for Daniel Farke’s side for whom victory narrowed the gap to leaders Leicester City who were held to a 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday for whom Jeff Hendrick bagged a 93rd-minute leveller.
The Whites have now moved back up to third place, eight points behind Leicester and still seven points behind second-placed Ipswich Town who recorded a 3-1 win at home to Wednesday night’s visitors Millwall.
Leeds United: Meslier; Gray, Rodon, Struijk (Cooper 89), Byram (Firpo 80); Ampadu, Kamara; Summerville (Anthony 80), James (Gnonto 70), Piroe, Rutter (Bamford 70). Subs not used: Darlow, Spence, Gruev, Poveda.
Referee: Sam Allison.