CHRIS WOOD’S 20th league goal of the season proved enough to secure a precious derby victory for Leeds United on an afternoon when Rob Green pulled off a stunning penalty save.
The veteran goalkeeper denied Jordan Rhodes’ spotkick at the start of a second half in which Sheffield Wednesday dominated but could not find their way through a determined home defence.
It was the second time inside five days that the Owls had started sluggishly and, as with Tuesday’s loss to Brentford, they paid the price.
Pontus Jansson and Kyle Bartley led the way during that second half rearguard action by United, who claimed their first double over the Owls in 17 years thanks to Wood’s first half strike.
The Kiwi international punished some slack defending by Vincent Sasso on 24 minutes, the Wednesday defender being deceived horribly by a Gaetano Berardi cross.
After taking one touch, United’s top scorer beat Kieren Westwood with ease to put the hosts ahead.
Wood should have been presented with another chance just after the half hour but Hadi Sacko, after being released by the Kiwi, hesitated and Jack Hunt got back to shepherd the ball out of play.
The best Wednesday could manage in attack were a couple of wayward shots from Jordan Rhodes and Fernando Forestieri that flew high and wide.
It was a different story after half-time, as Leeds were penned back for long periods.
The equaliser should have come eight minutes into the second half after Souleymane Doukara had been adjudged to have grappled Sam Hutchinson to the floor and referee Mike Jones pointed to the spot.
Green, however, had other ideas with a stunning one handed save to deny Rhodes, who before today had never lost in ten previous appearances against Leeds for Huddersfield, Blackburn and Middlesbrough.
The ball rebounded to Ross Wallace but his shot was blocked. Glenn Loovens and Rhodes then had headed chances that flew over before Liam Bridcutt was caught in possession only for Steven Fletcher to fail to capitalise.
Barry Bannan’s 25 yard drive flew just wide as the visitors continued to press before Jansson cleared ahead of both Forestieri and Fletcher in stoppage time.