LEEDS UNITED slipped to a third consecutive Championship away loss as Gary Hooper helped himself to a double in a 3-0 win for Sheffield Wednesday in Sunday’s Yorkshire derby at Hillsborough.
Hooper bagged his first when beating Whites ‘keeper Felix Wiedwald to a loose ball in the 21st minute before doubling his tally in similar circumstances four minutes before the break.
And United then fell further behind with eight minutes left when a 20-yard effort from Kieran Lee whistled past Wiedwald.
Leeds created decent early openings thanks to Samu Saiz who set up first Kalvin Phillips and then Gjanni Alioski but neither player could convert.
But Wednesday drew first blood when Wiedwald failed to deal with a loose ball headed across his area by Tom Lees as the German goalkeeper was beaten to the ball by Hooper who was left with a tap in at the far post.
The goal gave Wednesday a new lease of life and a Wallace free-kick whistled narrowly wide three minutes later, narrowly failing to find Lees.
An incorrect offside flag then saved Leeds after Lee had beaten Wiedwald before Matthew Pennington made a crucial block to keep out a close range effort from an unmarked Hooper.
And only woeful finishing from Steven Fletcher prevented United from being 2-0 down as the forward somehow headed wide with just Wiedwald to beat from five yards out.
Wedneday were then denied a penalty after Jansson got in a tangle with Hooper but Leeds caved in for the second time in the 41st minute when Fletcher beat Ayling to a high cross from Liam Palmer to set up Hooper who gratefully bagged his second from three yards out.
Leeds had an immediate chance 40 seconds into the second half as Kemar Roofe ghosted in among defensive confusion but failed to finish in a crowded box.
And three minutes later only the post denied Pierre-Michel Lasogga’s low effort from inside the box.
But Wednesday were soon back on the attack and after Bannan had curled a shot just wide, Hooper volleyed just over after beating Jansson to Reach’s cross.
Hooper then looked destined to complete his hat-trick when latching on to Bannan’s through ball just after the hour mark but Wiedwald produced a decent save.
At the other end, a Jannson header was cleared off the line by Lee before Saiz curled a decent effort just wide.
United then lost Jansson to injury as the Swede was stretchered off following a collision with Phillips but Saiz should have scored soon after when denied at the near post by Wildsmith.
But only the post denied Wednesday a third through Bannan in the 81st minute and there was no denying the Owls a third one minute later when Lee let fly from 20 yards.
Even then, things could and should have been worse for Leeds who saw Hooper again denied his hat-trick in stoppage time when seeing a rocket of a shot cannon back off the crossbar.
Leeds United: Wiedwald, Ayling, Pennington, Jansson (Dallas 71), Berardi, Phillips, O’Kane, Roofe (Hernandez 62), Saiz, Alioski (Sacko 62), Lasogga. Subs not used: Lonergan, Shaughnessy, Vieira, Grot.
Sheffield Wednesday: Wildsmith; Hunt (Palmer 38), Lees, van Aken, Reach; Wallace, Lee, Jones, Bannan (Butterfield 86); Fletcher (Rhodes 90), Hooper. Subs not used: Dawson, Nuhiu, Joao, Pudil.
Referee: Andrew Madley.
Good Day For:
Carlos Carvalhal. There was talk of him getting the sack if Wednesday lost to Leeds but his side played for him and went for the jugular when United began giving off the scent of blood. This result should keep him in business for a while longer.
Bad Day For:
Thomas Christiansen. Not the first time Leeds have been found wanting away from home and after a good start, his players lost the plot in a worrying way. He’s set high standards in the early stages of his career at Elland Road and judging by those standards, the performance at Hillsborough was a shambles.
Hooper’s opening goal. It took the sting out of Leeds and led to a baffling loss of organisation and cohesion. There was rarely any sense of United turning the balance of play and Hooper was unlucky not to finish with a hat-trick.