Leeds United 2 Bristol City 1: James, Piroe and Rutter take the stage as on-message hosts claim milestone win

YOU have to go back to the end of Leeds United’s promotion season in 2019-20 for the last occasion that they won three league matches on the spin at Elland Road.

This was exquisitely timed heading into the international break and at the end of a three-game week.

Leeds did what they had to do and showed a bit of quality, to boot. They are fifth in the Championship table heading into the latest hiatus and that will do quite nicely at this stage in proceedings.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A narrow 2-1 scoreline did not convey their dominance. More steady finishing would have made things easier.

Dan James celebrates scoring Leeds United's opening goal versus Bristol City. Picture: Bruce RollinsonDan James celebrates scoring Leeds United's opening goal versus Bristol City. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Dan James celebrates scoring Leeds United's opening goal versus Bristol City. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

But Leeds still got a fair bit right. A classy goal from Joel Piroe - his seventh in 12 matches since joining the club - proved the match-winner early in the second half as the Dutchman again showed what you get when you pay the big bucks as his love affair with the Championship continued.

A sloppy concession moments before the interval, which saw Kal Naismith level, got City back in it after Dan James put Leeds ahead with his first home goal since January 2022.

No bother, Leeds found a way as good teams do.

The big intrigue ahead of kick-off surrounded the Leeds line-up which contained Glen Kamara and James at the expense of the benched Luke Ayling and Jaiden Anthony.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It was Archie Gray who slotted in at right-back, having previously played there for England’’s youth sides and he was assigned with minding the dangerous Sam Bell.

It proved a fascinating contest in the first half and Gray had the better of it. Across the pitch, City brought more threat to the table than Elland Road’s two previous visitors in QPR and Watford, but Leeds delivered offerings of their own and got on the top side of the Robins as the half progressed.

It was aided by James’s opener - and then Leeds had to go and spoil it with a poor concession - their first at Elland Road in five hours and forty minutes with Naismith being the beneficiary on the stroke of half-time.

The game got under way amid balmy autumnal conditions and splendid sunshine and it was City who conjured the first opportunity.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Nahki Wells found space on the left and his vicious cross across goal just evaded Rob Dickie under pressure from Sam Byram, with the defender booked for dissent after claiming that he had been fouled by the Leeds full-back.

Leeds soon got on message. Unfortunately, Rutter was badly off-radar when he inexplicably skied an opportunity in front of goal following Crysencio Summerville’s cross-shot when City were undressed on the left.

A supportive chant of ‘Georginio’ from home supporters provided the quick tonic and his assist in United’s opener provided an element of payback.

Leeds gradually turned the screw with a piledriver from Ethan Ampadu punched away by Max O’Leary before Joe Williams got a timely block to get in the way of Summerville’s drive after the winger had cut inside.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Appeals for a penalty were then waved away after Rutter went down in the box under pressure from Cam Pring before O’Leary was called into work to keep out Piroe’s shot, not exactly convincingly.

Soon after, the Robins keeper was picking the ball put of the back of his net.

Rutter’s cross from the right just missed Summerville, but the ball fell nicely to James, who kept his cool to tuck away the opener.

It had been coming and Leeds almost soon added another with the Robins starting to rock.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Kamara won a tackle and supplied Rutter, who slipped in Piroe, but O’Leary had spotted the danger, racing out of goal to block the Dutchman’s effort.

The importance of that moment was magnified by way of Naismith’s leveller.

The defender had gone close moments before with his shot on the turn taking a slight deflection off Ampadu to result in a corner.

From the flag-kick, Naismith was not taken care of, getting above Kamara to head home a pretty soft leveller.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Kamara made amends eight minutes into the second half, playing the final pass to Piroe, who then took over with a goal of sheer class, firing home a deadly low drive after Summerville, Ampadu and finally Kamara worked the ball to him nicely.

The goal winded City for a good spell with Leeds assigned with showing their ruthless side to try and get a killer third.

Summerville was desperately unfortunate with his belting drive pushed onto the bar by O’Leary after Rutter’s quality supply line.

More fine play from Rutter, who excelled on the restart, set up the stretching Summerville at the far post. It just would not go in and he fired wide.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Rutter then saw a goalbound effort blocked. He then found the net, only for an offside flag to spoil the fun.

Leeds’s inability to seal the deal provided encouragement for City as the half went on. They rang the changes and found a bit of hope.

Naismith’s excellent inswinging corner glanced off the head of Dickie. The well-stationed Byram did his job by clearing off the line.

Leeds United: Meslier; Gray, Rodon, Struijk, Byram; Ampadu, Kamara; James, Piroe, Summerville; Rutter (Bamford 82). Unused substitutes: Darlow, Ayling, Cresswell, Cooper, Poveda, Gelhardt, Gruev.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Bristol City: O’Leary; Gardner-Hickman (Conway 59), Dickie, Naismith, Pring; James, Knight (Weimann 67), Williams (King 59); Sykes, Wells (Cornick 30), Bell (Mehmeti 67). Unused substitutes: Bajic, Roberts, Yeboah, Nelson.

Referee: K Stroud (Hants).

Attendance: 36,386.