MATCH REPORT: Leeds United 2 Reading 0 - Spot-on Leeds on the up once again
LEEDS United moved back up to fifth as Chris Wood's 14th goal of the season and Souleymane Doukara's late penalty downed third-placed Reading 2-0 at Elland Road.
Victory was only soured by the fact that Wood went off injured seven minutes after scoring the first goal of the game.
But Leeds continued to impress even in Wood’s absence and made absolutely sure of all three points when Doukara lashed home a last-minute penalty, awarded after Charlie Taylor was tripped in the box.
Leeds began brightly and Kemar Roofe weaved his way into the Reading box in the second minute but saw his low shot saved.
Hadi Sacko’s cross then narrowly evaded the head of Wood before Roofe fired United’s best chance yet narrowly over the bar in the tenth minute.
From Reading’s first attack soon after, Rob Green was forced to beat out a low cross from Joey Van Den Berg and Dominic Samuel was offside as the ball dropped at his feet at close range.
Kyle Bartley then needed to make a vital sliding clearance after Samuel escaped Jansson and into the area with Reading players lining up for a tap in.
But Leeds had definitely made the brighter start and it was no surprise when the Whites took a 19th-minute lead through Wood’s 14th goal of the season.
The lively Hadi Sacko had a pop at goal from the right side of the area and his effort was deflected to Wood who was free right in the middle of the penalty box and made no mistake by smashing the ball home.
A disappointing Reading attempted to rally but Liam Kelly’s wild effort that sailed into the Kop summed up the early performance from the visitors.
But Leeds were then dealt a huge blow just before the half hour mark when Wood went down injured and was unable to continue.
Whites head coach Garry Monk called for Liam Bridcutt to take his place on the half hour mark, shortly after Leeds had threatened to score a second through Stuart Dallas who raced away down the left hand side and blazed over the bar.
Bridcutt slotted into centre midfield as Souleymane Doukara pushed on to partner Roofe in attack but Reading looked to capitalise on United’s re-shuffle
and a 37th-minute cross from Roy Beerens caused panic before Charlie Taylor mopped up the danger and guided the ball back to Green.
Luke Ayling then cleared United’s lines as Samuel shaped up to shoot from 12 yards.
But Leeds were rarely threatened thereafter and the Whites finished the first half with another chance of their own when Liam Moore fouled Roofe 30 yards from goal but Taylor’s free-kick was well held by Ali Al Habsi.
United then immediately began the second half on the front foot with a hanging cross from Taylor narrowly failing to pick out Doukara.
For Reading, Kelly then fired wide from 25 yards and moments later Kelly was presented with a free-kick in a similar area for a foul by Luke Ayling which saw the full back booked.
Kelly, though, drove his free-kick straight into the wall and Leeds then went close to adding a second at the other end.
Sacko again caused Reading a problem as he dispossesed Tyler Blackett before delivering a low cross that narrowly failed to provide Doukara with a tap in.
Another Sacko cross then sailed narrowly wide but Reading remained only 1-0 down and threatened to equalise in the 59th munute when a Beerens cross dropped to McCleary who glanced a header wide.
Beerens then went even closer in the 68th minute when his rising shot was tipped over the bar by Green for a corner which was cleared.
Roofe then made way for Alex Mowatt with 20 minutes left and Reading huffed and puffed - threatening with a couple of corners and going quite close in the 77th minute when Green tipped a headed effort wide at the far post.
Dallas then made way for Matt Grimes with eight minutes left as Monk made his final change, after which Bridcutt made a vital block to keep out a strong effort from McCleary.
But Leeds continued to carry a threat at the other end and after a decent spell of pressure the Whites were awarded a 91st-minute penalty when Taylor burst into the area and was tripped by Chris Gunter.
Gunter could have no complaints and ‘keeper Al Habsi had no chance with the penalty as Doukara rifled the ball home in front of a delighted Kop.
Another win at Elland Road was guaranteed and Reading were even denied what would have proved only a consolation in the final minute of injury time when Pontus Jansson cleared the ball off the line.
The Swede’s heroics were greeted by a huge cheer inside Elland Road, and followed by the final whistle as Leeds brushed aside the current ‘third-best’ team in the Championship with relative ease.
Leeds United: Green, Ayling, Jansson, Bartley, Taylor, Vieira, Dallas (Grimes 82), Sacko, Roofe (Mowatt 70), Doukara, Wood (Bridcutt 30). Subs not used: Silvestri, Cooper, Berardi, Wilks.
Reading: Al-Habsi, Gunter, Blackett, McShane (c), L.Moore, Van den Berg, Kelly (Cooper 88), Evans (Meite 78), Beerens, McCleary, Samuel (Kermorgant 62). Subs not used: S.Moore, Harriott, Wieser, Watson.
Referee: Geoff Eltringham.