Leeds United 3 Swansea City 1: Georginio Rutter's exquisite touch gets the job done with a twinkle as Whites march on

In the slog of a 46-game season, some will inevitably hard work.

So it helps when your team is not at their best if someone can provide a moment of sparkle to make it all worthwhile.

Step forward Georginio Rutter, whose first touch at the end of the first half steered Leeds United's game against Swansea City in the right direction and set up not only his fourth goal of the season but a 3-1 victory.

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Until the Frenchman's intervention you felt Leeds' deep squad might conjure something to turn one point into three but you were far from sure – they had, after all, failed to at Rotherham United five days earlier.

LISTEN UP: Georginio Rutter celebrates putting Leeds United in frontLISTEN UP: Georginio Rutter celebrates putting Leeds United in front
LISTEN UP: Georginio Rutter celebrates putting Leeds United in front

But Rutter's goal gave the game an air of reassurance which Leeds held onto until the job was done – not spectacularly, but decisively. Sometimes, especially on a chilly midweek night, that is all you can ask for.

As a first half crying out for a spark tottered towards its conclusion, minds turned to the Leeds bench to wonder who might provide it. No need. Rutter was on the scene.

Until the striker's intervention, the game against Swansea City had not met the expectations the first five minutes raised.

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Two former Swans had put the ball in the net by then, and with a current one finding Leeds', a goalfest looked on the cards – especially when Joe Rodon's sloppy defensive header caused more home jitters.

EQUALISER Joel Piroe finds the net for Leeds UnitedEQUALISER Joel Piroe finds the net for Leeds United
EQUALISER Joel Piroe finds the net for Leeds United

But rather than being the portent of things to come, the game fell flat until Rutter's intervention.

Only around 43 seconds had gone when Dan James popped up at the far post to find the net, only to turn round and see the flagging linesman had spotted him going too soon.

To add insult to injury, Swansea's scored before the first minute was up.

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They got the ball to right-back Josh Key, who played the sort of long pass previous Swansea managers probably would have frowned upon.

THREE AND EASY: Dan James scoresTHREE AND EASY: Dan James scores
THREE AND EASY: Dan James scores

More fool them, because when Pascal Struijk made a hash of his header, it allowed Jamie Paterson to unleash a classy lob.

When Crysencio Summerville slipped Joel Piroe in before the fourth minute was up and the Dutchman finished coolly, plenty buckled up for a thriller that never appeared.

It was perhaps telling that Ethan Ampadu, the metronome who keeps his team ticking over whilst Summerville leads the fireworks display, was perhaps the most off colour of a strangely flat home team who were unable to inspire the crowd.

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There were shots at both ends – Carl Rushworth saving with his feet from Summerville at a tight angle, James curling a shot at the goalkeeper, Summerville having one deflected and Ollie Cooper, Jamal Lowe and Kelly all having efforts at the other end.

But really the game was idling along until a lovely bit of skill enlivened it.

Sometimes Championship football is about producing when you are not playing well and given time to pick a pass, Ampadu did just that, lifting the ball over the top for Rutter to chase.

Leeds' club record signing is very hit and miss but his endeavour has endeared him to Elland Road and the touch which plucked the ball out of the air was fantastic. From there he held off Bashir Humphreys and kept his head to put the Whites in front.

They never looked like losing it from there.

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It was not quite the case but it felt as if all the second-half chances came at Swansea's end.

Piroe hit a free-kick into the defensive wall and Summerville shot wide after a good move involving Glen Kamara and Rutter, but it needed a slightly more agricultural moment to create the third.

Sam Byram's thundering tackle was a piece of skill in itself, serving the ball up for Rutter in the 62nd minute. He weighted his pass for James galloping down the middle and the Wales international tends not to miss those chances these days. He certainly did not miss that one.

Cue plenty of chances to wrap players up if not in cotton wool then certainly something warm.

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It would have been nice for Patrick Bamford to get a goal but after putting a Summerville pull-back wide and shooting at Rushworth seconds later, his chances of supplanting Rutter in this team receded further still.

Joe Rodon's flicked effort was cleared off the line.

There have been better performances, but it was not about that. Just ask leaders Leicester City, who dropped two points at Hillsborough.

Thanks to Rutter, though, there was still something to warm the cockles.

Leeds United: Meslier; Gray, Rodon, Struijk (Cooper 89), Byram (Firpo 80); Ampadu, Kamara; James (Gnonto 70), Piroe, Summerville (Anthony 80); Rutter (Bamford 70).

Unused substitutes: Poveda, Darlow, Spence, Gruev.

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Swansea City: Rushworth; Key (Darling 70), Cabango, Humphreys, Tymon; Cooper (Cullen 70), Fulton (Patino 70), Grimes; Lowe, Paterson (Walsh 78), Yates (Bolasie 78).

Unused substitutes: Fisher, Tjoe-A-On, Naughton, Congreve.

Referee: S Allison (Wiltshire).