Burton Albion 1 Leeds United 2: Whites stay on play-off track thanks to second-half double

Leeds UNITED stunned Burton Albion with two goals in three second-half minutes to keep their Championship play-off push firmly on track.

Leeds United's Kemar Roofe celebrates his goal. Picture Tony Johnson.

In a fast-paced Boxing Day clash, Leeds came out 2-1 winners at the Pirelli Stadium thanks to strikes from Pablo Hernandez and Kemar Roofe.

Trailing to Tom Naylor’s second goal in as many games, Thomas Christiansen’s men needed a big second-half performance and Hernandez’s stunning free-kick just after the hour mark was followed by a well-taken finish from Roofe in the 64th minute.

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Naylor was on hand at the back post when Lucas Akins sent in a low shot that was helped on by Marvin Sordell in the middle before the former Derby man poked home from inside the six-yard box.

That breakthrough goal came against the run of play as the men from Elland Road had enjoyed most of the early play without seriously troubling Stephen Bywater in the Burton goal.

Hernandez tried to thread a ball through the packed Burton defence early on looking for Ezgjan Alioski but Bywater rushed out to dive at the feet of the Macedonian and avert the danger.

Alioski then drove wide of the goal after being first to reach a clearance from Jake Buxton, and Hernandez also failed to make a meaningful connection with Pawel Cibicki’s cross.

Roofe was closest for Leeds when turning sharply in the box to beat Bywater but also the post before Naylor struck after 29 minutes.

The Brewers had a chance to double their lead with Jamie Allen leading a counter-attack from a Leeds free-kick but wasting his chance to test Felix Wiedwald at the end of a lung-busting run from his own half.

Leeds were perhaps fortunate to start the second half with 11 men when Gaetano Berardi flew into a poor challenge on Sean Scannell on the stroke of half-time, with referee Darren Bond eventually producing just a yellow card after heated scenes involving players from both sides.

Albion had the better of the early second-half exchanges, with Sordell twisting and turning in the box before curling a shot just wide of Wiedwald’s right-hand post. Ben Turner then sent a header into the waiting arms of the Leeds goalkeeper from a well-worked free-kick. A yard either side and Wiedwald would have had no chance.

They were chances that the home side would regret not taking once Hernandez and Roofe produced their clinical finishes.

Despite a flurry of action in the Leeds penalty area in the six added minutes at the end of the game, the visitors held on for victory and now sit fifth in the table. Sordell was inches away from equalising in a final late scramble inside the Leeds penalty area.

Burton Albion: Bywater, Akins, Brayford, Buxton, Turner, Flanagan, Scannell (Miller 87), Naylor, Allen, Dyer, Sordell. Subs Not Used: Warnock, McFadzean, Ripley, Palmer, Akpan, Sbarra.

Leeds United: Wiedwald, Ayling, Jansson, Cooper, Berardi, O’Kane, Vieira (Phillips 77), Cibicki (Lasogga 75), Hernandez, Alioski (Pennington 90), Roofe. Subs Not Used: Lonergan, Anita, Grot, Shaughnessy.

Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire).