Leeds United climbed into the top half of the EFL Championship after making it four home wins in succession with a 2-1 success against Yorkshire rivals Barnsley.
Goals either side of half-time from centre-back Kyle Bartley and attacking midfielder Pablo Hernandez earned a win that put the Whites back up to 11th in the table.
Leeds had to survive a late fight back from an attack minded Barnsley side after Charlie Taylor was unfortunate to put the ball into his own net, but in the end they deserved their three points.
It took them some time to get going, however, as they looked sluggish in the opening half and Barnsley initially played the better football.
The first chance fell to the Tykes when they broke dangerously from a home corner, but Adam Hammill’s decision to shoot from the edge of the box looked a wrong one and Rob Green easily saved.
Josh Scowen saw a 25-yard shot deflected over and the visitors’ full-back Andy Yiadom also got in a shot from distance that went close.
Despite more promising approach play Barnsley were kept to shots from outside box as United defenders Bartley and Pontus Jansson stood firm. Conor Hourihane and Cole Kpekawa were both off target with efforts from well out and it remained goalless until Leeds scored from their first effort on goal in the 36th minute.
After Taylor won a corner, Hernandez’s cross went over everyone at the near post and fell invitingly for Bartley to volley home from close range.
United were lucky to be ahead at this stage, but they suddenly upped their game and began to play with more confidence.
Hernandez saw a 20-yard shot saved by Barnsley keeper Adam Davies, Kalvin Phillips hit a free-kick over and Chris Wood could only send a weak header wide after some good build-up play.
The good work continued at the start of the second half as Hernandez showed good feet in the box to work space to get in a left foot shot that went just wide.
At the other end, Hammill saw a 20-yard shot deflected straight to Green, but United were soon back on attack as they had a big appeal for a penalty turned down after Hernandez ended up on the floor in the box after they had worked a two on one break with Wood.
But before they could seriously complain to the referee, Hernandez went clean through into the box and confidently placed the ball past Davies to make it 2-0.
It could have been three a minute later when Hadi Sacko got in behind the visitors’ defence and crossed to Wood, but the striker hit his left foot volley over.
Wood then fired over from the edge of the box after another dangerous break, but Leeds were to get a shock in the 70th minute after looking in control.
Kpekawa raced down the left and got past home right-back Luke Ayling to deliver a dangerous low cross, which was turned into his own net by Taylor under pressure from lurking Barnsley striker Sam Winnall,
United responded with another good attack, but after being played in by Hernandez, substitute Marcus Antonsson saw his shot well saved by Davies.
Phillips, who enjoyed possibly his best game in a Leeds shirt, then saw his 35-yard shot comfortably saved.
But it was more backs to the wall in the closing stages as Barnsley threw men forward. They only really created one chance, however, when Jansson did well to block Scowen’s goalbound shot after Green’s punch out from a dangerous cross had dropped to him 25 yards out.
Leeds head coach Garry Monk was pleased with the victory, but thought his side could have gone for the kill more at 2-0 up.
He said: “Overall I thought we deserved the result.
“First half I thought it was quite even and there was nothing much in it. But we started the second half excellent and could have score more goals.
“We wanted to be more aggressive and play on the front foot more and we did.
“We were playing so well at that time that we relaxed a bit and took the foot off the gas. In the last 25 minutes we allowed them back into the game and they came back.
“They started to get momentum and we had to defend more, but we dealt it well. We’ve worked hard defensively and it showed.”
Leeds United 2
(Bartley 36, Hernandez 54)
(Taylor og 70)
Saturday, October 1, 2016
Leeds: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Taylor, Phillips, O’Kane, Sacko (Antonsson 74), Hernandez (Roofe 84), Dallas (Vieira 89), Wood.
Barnsley: Davies, Yiadom, MacDonald, Roberts, Kpekawa, Kent (Bradshaw 82), Scowen, Hourihane, Hammill, Armstrong (Watkins 65), Winnall.
Referee: Simon Hooper