LEEDS UNITED were condemned to a third-straight loss at Elland Road as a 2-1 defeat to Championship visitors Derby County left the club’s place in the play-offs dangling by a thread.
Pierre-Michel Lasogga fired Leeds into a seventh-minute lead after an excellent tackle from Ronaldo Vieira but Derby equalised in the 72nd minute when Sam Winnall powered home a low cross from Craig Forsyth from close range.
United were then sent tumbling to defeat when Derby were awarded an 80th-minute penalty from which Winnall sent Andy Lonergan the wrong way.
Leeds made a dream start as Lasogga fired the Whites into a seventh-minute lead after excellent work from Vieira.
The midfielder won possession from Tom Huddlestone with a strong tackle as Derby looked to play their way out of midfield and Samuel Saiz then fed Lasogga who rifled home a clinical finish from the edge of the area.
Leeds then squandered a fine chance to double their lead just two minutes later when breaking three-on-two but Vieira was unable to find Saiz or Gjanni Alioski either side of him.
Derby looked a threat too and Leeds were grateful first for a strong tackle by Matthew Pennington on Winnall before Lonergan was on hand to intercept a pull-back from Chris Martin after a lovely move from the visitors.
But five minutes before the break Leeds were denied a strong shout for a penalty as Andre Wisdom appeared to push over Alioski as the Macedonian prepared to nod home Kemar Roofe’s right flank cross.
From another Leeds counter, Vieira then fired straight at Scott Carson from a tight angle.
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The Whites were straight back on the attack after the break as Roofe cut inside before blazing over.
Derby then threatened when a 55th-minute corner flew across the area after Martin’s shot had been deflected wide.
Back up the other end, Alioski almost embarrassed ‘keeper Scott Carson with a speculative first time volley from the edge of the box before Saiz fired over from a Leeds counter.
Derby then squandered a big chance just after the hour when Martin narrowly failed to connect with what would have been a tap in from Bradley Johnson’s cross.
Moments later, Lonergan was equal to a low Martin effort from the edge of the box.
But there was nothing Lonergan could do 10 minutes later after Forsyth raced away down the left flank and delivered an inch-perfect, low cross for Winnall who could not miss from a few yards out.
Matters then nearly got even worse for Leeds one minute later when Roofe narrowly deflected a cross from Andreas Weimann inches wide.
But a second Derby goal looked imminent and it arrived from the penalty spot in the 80th minute as substitute Hadi Sacko was penalised for a foul on Tom Lawrence and Winnall sent Lonergan the wrong way.
United were then given five minutes of added time to salvage an equaliser but could not find one with Lasogga going closest when blazing a 90th-minute pile-driver over the bar.
Leeds United: Lonergan, Ayling, Pennington (Grot 84), Jansson, O’Kane, Vieira, Roofe (Sacko 75), Dallas, Saiz, Alioski (Hernandez 84), Lasogga. Subs not used: Wiedwald, Shaughnessy, Anita, Klich.
Derby County: Carson, Wisdom, Keogh, Davies, Forsyth, Ledley (Weimann 68), Huddlestone, Lawrence, Winnall (Thorne 87), Johnson, Martin. Subs not used: Mitchell, Baird, Pearce, Vydra, Thomas.
Referee: Simon Hooper.
Attendance: 28,565 (852 Derby).
Yorkshire Evening Post
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