CHRIS WOOD’s late piledriver helped Leeds United stay unbeaten with a rare win at Derby County after which midfielder Tom Adeyemi insisted the Whites could be “as good as any team in the division.”
Leeds had not won at Derby since April, 2002, and visited the iPro on the back of seven successive defeats there.
But after Adeyemi’s first-half header had been cancelled out by Chris Martin’s fierce strike, Wood cracked in an 88th-minute stunner to give the Whites an important first win of the season.
Victory kept Leeds unbeaten under head coach Uwe Rosler, moving the Elland Road club up to 10th and just one point off the play-offs.
Cardiff City loanee Adeyemi, who scored his first goal for Leeds, then offered high hopes of a promotion push, insisting: “I still feel like we haven’t fully hit our straps and we haven’t put a full performance together.
“But I think when we do, we will be a force in this league. We are very confident that if we can put the performances together that we are as good as any team in the division.”
With 18-year-old Lewis Cook full of energy in midfield, Leeds dominated the first half and led two minutes before the interval when Stuart Dallas crossed for Adeyemi to head home.
Derby were still seeking their first win under former Real Madrid coach Paul Clement and began the second half like an express train with Martin equalising three minutes after the break.
Whites goalkeeper Marco Silvestri also made fine saves to deny both Johnny Russell and Jeff Hendrick, who went agonisingly close to giving Derby the lead when his effort whizzed narrowly past the right-hand post.
But Derby’s onslaught gradually subsided and after United’s Wood had squandered a free header that went over, the United striker made amends in style with two minutes to go.
His 20-yard thunderbolt gave goalkeeper Scott Carson no chance – the ball whistling home in off the post for Wood’s third goal in three games.
Few, if any, will ever be sweeter than that.
Derby County: Carson, Forsyth, Keogh, Hendrick, Martin, Russell (Bent 79), Baird, Shackell, Ince, Hanson (Shotton 86), Thorne (Weimann 65). Unused substitutes: Grant, Dawkins, Pearce, Warnock.
Leeds United: Silvestri, Berardi, Cooper, Bamba, Taylor, Adeyemi, Cook, Mowatt (Antenucci 75), Byram (Murphy 69), Dallas, Wood. Unused substitues: Turnbull, Wootton, Bellusci, Phillips, Doukara.
Referee: D Bond (Lancashire).
Man of the match: Lewis Cook.