LEEDS UNITED ended a difficult week with a heartening three points after netting twice at home for the first time this season.
Chris Wood and Tom Adeyemi netted for the Elland Road club, who in the process of denting Hull City’s promotion hopes chalked up only their second home win in nine months.
The Tigers had been harried and hassled out of proceedings during those opening 45 minutes but despite improving massively after the restart the damage had been done.
It meant a happy end for United to an afternoon that had begun with talk of a possible walk-out by fans angry at the way Massimo Cellino is running the club.
The three points also justified Steve Evans switch of tactics to a 4-5-1 formation that packed midfield to such an extent that Leeds were able to dominate the derby contest in the first half.
Ahmed Elmohamady’s header six minutes after the restart then gave City the initiative but United held out to secure a huge victory.
For Hull, the loss was tempered slightly by rivals Burnley losing at home but, even so, it was a missed opportunity for City following Middlesbrough’s move to the top of the table the previous night with victory at Ipswich Town.
Only 20 or so patrons in the South Stand answered the pre-match call from a Fans’ Group to walk out en massed in the 17th minute.
It proved a wise call, as the first goal of the afternoon came at that end of Elland Road during what would have been the planned protest of 17 minutes.
A slide rule pass from Lewis Cook opened up the City defence to allow Stuart Dallas to race clear before crossing for Wood to fire beyond Allan McGregor.
Exactly half an hour had been played and Alex Mowatt came within a whisker of doubling the home side’s advantage just three minutes later.
After making light work of Harry Maguire in a 50-50 challenge, the midfielder unleashed a fearsome shot that flew beyond McGregor and against the crossbar.
It was a let-off for the Tigers but only a temporary one as United went 2-0 ahead just before the interval.
Tom Adeyemi fired in from close range after McGregor had got down smartly to save a Cook shot.
Hull’s best moment of the first half had come less than 60 seconds before Wood’s opener, Tom Huddlestone’s incisive pass releasing Ahmed Elmohamady down the right flank .
He drilled a cross that was begging Sam Clucas to finish but the former Chesterfield man could only make minimal contact and the danger was averted.
Otherwise, Marco Silvestri’s only other moment of worry came when he slipped just as Mohamed Diame went to meet a cross.
However, the Italian still managed to block the header before a linesman’s flag halted play.
The Tigers started the second half much brighter and were rewarded six minutes after the restart when Ahmed Elmohamady headed in a Sam Clucas cross from close range.
City were very fortunate to get away with a penalty claim after Moses Odubajo clearly pulled Cook back as he strained to reach a Stuart Dallas cross.
Diame almost took advantage of referee Chris Kavanagh missing the offence on 65 minutes with a curled effort that Silvestri did well to claw to safety.
Harry Maguire then headed wide after Silvestri had pulled off another good save to deny Jake Livermore as the game entered the final quarter.
As Leeds retreated deeper and deeper into their own territory, Clucas had an appeal for a penalty turned down after running into Giuseppe Bellusci.
A desperate last gasp block by Charlie Taylor then rescued Leeds with six minutes remaining after Clucas’ cross had caused havoc in the home defence before Chuba Akpom headed wide from a Robert Snodgrass cross.
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