Leeds United 2 Brighton and Hove Albion 0: Chris Wood double puts Whites in automatic promotion mix

Chris Wood celebrates putting Leeds ahead (Photo: Bruce Rollinson)
Chris Wood celebrates putting Leeds ahead (Photo: Bruce Rollinson)
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A DEADLY double from man-of-the-moment from Chris Wood saw Leeds United rediscover their mojo in uplifting fashion as they claimed the scalp of title-chasing Brighton on a sweet Elland Road spring night.

Wood broke the deadlock with a magnificent 63rd minute header - to follow previous goals against former Championship clubs Barnsley, Birmingham City, Bristol City and Ipswich - and added a relieving second from the spot five minutes from time after Fikayo Tomori brought down substitute Souleymane Doukara.

It took his season's goal tally to an outstanding 27 as United leapfrogged Reading into fourth spot in the Championship, with Garry Monk's side now just two points behind West Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town.

It was the perfect way for the Whites to sign off before the international break as they reprised some memorable episodes at Elland Road already this season against the likes of Derby County and Aston Villa.

Brighton laid siege after Wood's opener, but couldn't find a way through, with it left to Wood to seal the deal from the spot in clinical fashion.

The headline team news saw Pontus Jansson surprisingly omitted from the starting line-up with Liam Cooper taking his place in the heart of the back four, while Charlie Taylor lined up for the hosts at Elland Road for the first time since December 17.

Chris Wood powers home a fine opener for Leeds

Chris Wood powers home a fine opener for Leeds

Hadi Sacko was also had a chance to shine on the wings at the expense of Kemar Roofe.

A slow-burner of a first half where the respect between both sides and managers was plainly obvious was provided a spark by a meaningful period of pressure from Leeds either side of the half-hour mark.

But in the event, it was Albion who actually went closest to scoring in the first half with their only serious raid on goal.

It came when Beram Kayal wriggled clear down the right, with his dangerous low cross being touched on Sam Baldock, with the unfortunate Cooper then diverting the ball towards goal, only for Green to save the day and make a fine reaction save, with the diligent Gaetano Berardi then making a key clearance to deny Jiri Skalak from nodding home.

Alfonso Pedraza controls the ball in the first half (Photo: Bruce Rollinson)

Alfonso Pedraza controls the ball in the first half (Photo: Bruce Rollinson)

At the other end, Kyle Bartley had seen his header drift over following a corner from Pablo Hernandez, who showed signs that he was capable of unlocking the door alongside fellow Iberian Alfonso Pedraza.

Wood, seeking to complete a full complement with goals against his former clubs in the Championship, was then presented with a decent close-range chance following another Hernandez set-piece, but his connection was not a clean one and the opportunity went.

An appeal for a home penalty was rebuffed when Wood went down under pressure from Uwe Hunemeier, who earlier did superbly to clear an excellent centre from Hernandez, with United's top-scorer waiting to pounce.

The second half started in similarly cagey fashion to the first with the frustration continuing in particular for both sets of wingers, who struggled to make a telling impact.

Hadi Sacko turns his man (Photo: Bruce Rollinson)

Hadi Sacko turns his man (Photo: Bruce Rollinson)

The first effort saw a tame Skalak shot gathered in comfort by Green, with Brighton afforded more possession in the early sparrings of the second period.

On the hour mark, it was Leeds who carved out the game-breaking chance, but Wood - uncharacteristically failed to convert when well placed, with it representing a real miss, by his ultra-high standards.

Lewis Dunk couldn't clear Berardi's centre, letting in Wood, whose effort was straight at Stockdale, with plenty of the goal to aim at.

But the prolific striker, somewhat inevitably, was not to be denied.

His moment arrived three minutes before the hour mark shortly after the redoubtable Ronaldo Vieira showed tenacity and strength to win a challenge with the ball feed out to Taylor.

The left-back's hanging cross was a clear invitation to Wood, who outsmarted Dunk and then guided a magnificent looping header past the despairing dive of Stockdale.

Chris Wood celebrates

Chris Wood celebrates

It was a goal fit to win any game, but it proved the prelude to some intense pressure from Brighton for the rest of the game, with Leeds forced to dig deep in the final 25 minutes.

Sam Baldock failed to apply the finish to a dangerous corner from Knockaert before Dunk then passed up an opportunity following another flag-kick from Albion's 13-goal winger.

Knockaert then surged clear following Kayal's pass, but his weak low shot was straight at Green.

An excellent chance was then passed up by the usually reliable Glenn Murray, who steered wide when well placed before the Albion marksmen was then denied by a fine reaction save by Green, who crowned his contract extension in fitting fashion.

A second goal in the game did arrive and it came from Leeds - and inevitably Wood, whose emphatic spot-kick flew past Stockdale following Tomori's offence on Doukara.

Leeds United: Green; Berardi, Bartley, Cooper, Taylor; Bridcutt, Vieira; Sacko (Dallas 81), Hernandez (O'Kane 89), Pedraza (Doukara 75); Wood. Substitutes unused: Silvestri, Jansson, Barrow, Roofe.

Brighton: Stockdale, Tomori, Dunk, Huenemeier, Rosenior; Knockaert, Stephens, Kayal (Norwood 83), Skalak (March 70); Murray, Baldock (Akpom 74). Substitutes unused: Maenpaa, White, Sidwell, Hemed.

Referee: L Mason (Lancashire).

Attendance: 29,767.