Wood stars again as in-form Leeds sink Birmingham

Date published: Friday 3rd March 2017 9:59

Chris Wood: Bagged a brace as Leeds beat Birmingham

Chris Wood: Bagged a brace as Leeds beat Birmingham

Chris Wood cemented his position as the Championship’s leading scorer with a brace as fourth-placed Leeds won 3-1 at Birmingham.

Wood took his tally for the season to 22 in the Championship and 25 overall as Leeds dug out a win that was not as clear-cut as the scoreline suggests.

The prolific goalscoring of Wood is undoubtedly a feature of Leeds’ performances as they strive to end their 13-year exile from the Premier League.

But they had to grind out a result against resolute opposition and only sealed the game with a third goal from Alfonso Pedraza nine minutes from time.

Birmingham produced one of their best displays for a long time and deserved a share of the spoils with revitalised striker Che Adams foiled on three occasions.

Wood was on the mark early in the first half. Craig Gardner produced a fine 64th-minute equaliser only for the redoubtable Wood to regain the lead for Leeds three minutes later.

To the delight of boss Garry Monk – banned and watching in the stands – promotion contenders Leeds made a positive start with the tenacious Liam Bridcutt making an impressive early impact

A lot of Birmingham’s attacks came from the probing play of Emilio Nsue down the right flank but City should have taken the lead following a mistake by Pontus Jansson. Adams latched onto the ball and put in a low goalbound shot which Rob Green finger-tipped away for a corner.

It proved an expensive miss as in the 14th minute Birmingham were caught napping by an innocuous lobbed effort from Wood well out on the right after Ryan Shotton had missed a long ball.

Goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak was hopelessly out of position as the ball went high over his head and into an empty net.

Birmingham, however, were far from deflated. They strived for the equaliser as they enjoyed most of the attacking play and were unfortunate not to get back on level terms when Robert Tesche produced a rocket shot from fully 30 yards which blasted against the crossbar.

They continued to test Leeds and only a goalline clearance by Kyle Bartley prevented Adams notching an equaliser.

Adams was on fire and a couple of minutes later a vintage save by Green kept out a shot on the run.

Birmingham’s well-merited equaliser came in the 64th minute. Only a minute before they had sent on their leading marksman, Lukas Jutkiewicz, but it was Gardner who set the game alight.
Following a right-wing cross the ball went back to Gardner who scored with a trademark low shot into the corner of the net.

Leeds, and in particular Wood, were not demoralised by the equaliser as they regained the lead three minutes later.

Substitute Kalvin Phillips slipped a low ball into the middle where the unmarked Wood simply had to tap home from close range.

Nine minutes from time Leeds sealed the game when substitute Pedraza raced through unchecked to score with a raking left-footed shot past Kuszczak.

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