Leeds L W L L D W
Reading L D D D L W
Reading two changes; Pele and Olise come in.
Leeds attacked the Kop in the first half and Helder Costa had their first opportunity after three minutes, but he was wide with his effort. Reading then had a ten minute ‘purple patch’ in which they forced Kiko Casilla into his first meaningful save after 24 minutes.
Leeds were forced to reorganise their team after 37 minutes because after earlier going down after a challenge in midfield Kalvin Phillips was substituted by Ejanni Alioski. Stuart Dallas went to right back, Ben White moved into midfield and substitute Alioski went to left back.
In the last five minutes of the half Harrison got behind the Reading defence to set up Helder Costa, who shot towards goal but his effort struck a defender and went over the bar. Soon after last week’s hero Luke Ayling nearly did it again but his shot just went past the post and right on half time Ejanni Alioski was denied by Rafael. Scoreless at the break.
Leeds once again were right at their visitors from the restart, Mateusz Klich playing his 82nd consecutive game was just wide with an effort from just outside of the box. Bamford swivelled in the area to shot but his shot lacked power and conviction.
United though would not be denied, Pablo Hernandez ran towards goal and with a swivel went passed a defender and shot towards goal. His first effort came back off a defender and fell back at the feet of the Spaniard, he side-stepped another defender and sent a flicked shot past Rafael.
Hernandez nearly doubled Leeds’ lead from a free kick but the Reading keeper was wise to the midfielder effort and earlier, from a corner Ben White got a shot towards the goal but it was unfortunately blocked by Bamford stood in the six yard box.
Goalscorer Hernandez received a worthy standing ovation when he left the field to be replaced by Jamie Shackleton with five minutes of normal time to play. There was nearly a ‘twist’ right at the end of the game, Reading centre back Liam Moore found himself behind the Leeds rearguard with only Liam Cooper for company. The defender struck a powerful shot but it was superbly saved by Kiko Casilla and the rebound was sent into the Kop by Richards. It really was a game-saving reaction by the sometimes under fire goalkeeper.
Points mean more than performances at this stage of the season so the three points Leeds claimed meant that they increased their lead over third placed Fulham to five points.
Leeds travel to Middlesborough on Wednesday hoping to continue their unbeaten run. The ‘Smoggie’s’ are dangerously near the bottom three but as always they need to be respected in their own backyard.
Man of the Match: Pablo Hernandez, superb performance from the Spaniard.
By Keith Ingham