Fred Burdon’s scything run to the try-line through Jersey’s defence proved the killer score for Leeds in a tight game.
The Carnegie centre’s try, converted by Jonny Bentley, was the only score of the second half and proved enough to turn a two-point deficit at half-time into a winning margin, keeping the Yorkshiremen well-placed in the battle for the play-offs.
Alex Lozowski’s penalty had given his team an early lead; Jersey replied in kind through Aaron Penberthy, but then Leeds pressed forward and when the ball was worked wide, Jon Clarke raced through a gap in Jersey’s defence to score.
Carnegie were unable to impose themselves on the game early on, frustrated by some tenacious defence and a high number of handling errors.
The two fly-halves traded penalty kicks but then Jersey took the lead as Jack Burroughs crashed over for a try, converted by Penberthy.
Leeds wasted little time in ringing the changes, with six replacements during the first 15 minutes of the second half.
The Jersey defence had been strong, but Carnegie refused to panic and James Doherty fed Burdon for a powerful run through Jersey’s midfield to the line.
The result wasn’t guaranteed at this stage, with just over 10 minutes of the contest remaining. Jersey pressed forward, roared on by a passionate home crowd, but the visiting defence held firm.
Head coach James Lowes admitted afterwards that his decision for the team to travel from Yorkshire on match-day had affected their performance.
“I’ve put my hand up – it was a risk and we got away with it, but I’d look to plan it better next time,” he said.
Jersey: Burroughs, Pointer (Bishop 19), Locke, McCrea, Foster, Penberthy, Griffiths (Dudley 69); McCarthy, Taione, Brennan (Selway 55), Campbell (Markham 57), Voss, Rae (capt), Hodson, Makaafi (Buckle 69). Replacements (not used): Felton, Fidler.
Leeds: Goss, Vickerman, Clarke, Burdon, Doherty D (Holmes 45), Lozowski (Bentley 50), Doherty J; Imiolek (Harris 47), Graham (Nilsen 47), Tussac, Hannay, Smith (Casson 47), Sisi (Walker 55), Rowan (capt), Burrows. Replacements (not used): Hooper.
Referee: M Fox.