LEEDS snatched a late winner through Chris Wood to earn their first win of the season in a thrilling 2-1 win at Derby County on Saturday afternoon.
The striker drilled in a low shot from the edge of the box in the 88th minute to condemn promotion favourites Derby to their first defeat of the season in a game that looked set for draw.
The match certainly promised to be an interesting encounter at the iPro Stadium, with both teams having drawn their previous four opening matches of the Championship.
The Whites started the match as the stronger side with midfielders Lewis Cook, Alex Mowatt and Sam Byram linking up to feed Chris Wood who fired over from the edge of the six-yard box. The Rams responded with a short attack down the left wing before play was stopped when Cook accidentally caught Richard Keogh in the face with his studs, narrowly escaping a booking.
Keogh soon returned to the field with his head bandaged, before Leeds took control once again and pressed forward with a series of promising attacks before Stuart Dallas soon found himself mimicking Wood’s and firing over from close range.
Leeds continued their attacking form and a poor first touch from Dallas once again down the left flank resulted in loss of possession and lead to a threatening Derby move in the penalty area before captain Sol Bamba was able to clear. The Rams then came even closer with Leeds fullback Byram being forced to clear off the line before Bamba was on hand once again to clear the ball away from a dangerous Derby corner.
Leeds came back with the impressive Cook running some 30 yards down the right wing before winning a corner which ended in Wood firing over from a tight angle. United’s consistent pressure, though, eventually paid off two minutes before the break when a corner on the left-hand side found its way to Dallas. The Northern Ireland international crossed into the penalty area to set up the unmarked Tom Adeyemi who wasted no opportunity in heading home his debut goal. Leeds showcased more attacking prowess seconds later after the restart and nearly bagged a second, as Scott Carson parried away a cross from the energetic Cook.
Derby, however, came out fighting after the interval. Midfielder Russell fired over from the edge of the area before Marco Silvestri was forced to make a tremendous one-handed save to deny an effort from Jeff Hendrick.
The Leeds keeper could do nothing, though, to keep out a shot from striker Chris Martin, who, turning away from his marker, drilled a low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the six-yard box to bring the game level at 1-1 only three minutes into the second half.
Derby looked a different side to the one that had started the match and the iPro was on its’ feet again on the 55th minute when Hendrick nearly gave the Rams the lead, whose shot whizzed inches past Silvestri’s left post from the edge of the area. United had their goalkeeper to thank again barely two minutes later when Silvestri made a fine diving save to his left to keep out a shot from Russell.
With the home atmosphere become increasingly intimidating, Leeds’ confidence was visibly knocked. Uwe Rosler decided to bring on Mirco Antenucci for Mowatt with 15 minutes remaining who immediately set up United’s best chance of the half, delivering an inviting cross into the area for Chris Wood, who once again could not find the target and fired over.
And just when the game looked like it would finish one-a-piece, Wood finally capitalised and hit the target when it mattered to send the travelling Leeds fans wild with two minutes to spare in normal time.
Out of nowhere, the striker shot from 20 yards out and curled the ball past Carson into the far-right corner, leaving the home crowd stunned.
Despite a long five minutes of injury time, The Whites managed to hang on for their first game of the season and celebrated their first win at Derby in 13 years.
Derby County: Carson, Forsyth, Keogh, Hendrick, Martin, Russell (Bent 81), Baird, Shackell, Ince, Hanson (Shotton 86), Thorne (Weimann 65). Subs not used: Grant, Dawkins, Pearce, Warnock.
Leeds United: Silvestri, Berardi, Cooper, Bamba, Taylor, Adeyemi, Cook, Mowatt (Antenucci 75), Byram (Murphy 69), Dallas, Wood. Subs not used: Turnbull, Wootton, Bellusci, Phillips, Doukara.
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