Leeds return to winning ways over promotion rivals Reading

Leeds closed the gap on promotion rivals Reading thanks to goals from Chris Wood and Souleymane Doukara in a 2-0 win at Elland Road.

These two sides have designs on the play-offs at least this season and Reading started the night five points and three places better off than Leeds in third.

But a predatory strike from Wood and Doukara’s penalty ensured the points went to Garry Monk’s men on a night when Reading put up a baffling display which saw them happy to keep the ball amongst themselves until the game entered the final 20 minutes.

They pressed Leeds hard during that spell but rarely got a clear sight of Rob Green’s goal and now head a play-off pack which is becoming increasingly bunched up.

One worry for Monk as he plots to stay in that group, though, will be that Wood, who has scored 11 of Leeds’ 25 league goals this season, limped off shortly after his strike.

Looking to atone for their loss at Brighton on Friday Leeds were the first to show their hand, Kemar Roofe snatching at a good chance when well sat after clever work from Hadi Sacko.

Reading were struggling to deal with Sacko’s trickery and a wicked cross from him narrowly evaded Wood.

The Royals’ first real venture forward came 18 minutes in and nearly brought them a goal. Dominic Samuel skinned Pontus Jansson and cut back to a queue of waiting attackers with an open goal, only for Kyle Bartley to beat them all to it and clear.

Bartley’s intervention proved divine a minute later. Leeds proceeded down the other end and, after Reading failed to react when Sacko’s drilled shot fell on the edge of the six-yard box, Wood cracked in a 14th of the season.

It would be the Kiwi’s last meaningful act, though, as on the half-hour he went off injured, forcing Leeds to bring captain Liam Bridcutt off the bench after three months out.

Reading’s attacking intent was so minimal that they were booed by the home fans, passing the ball between themselves at the back for a 77 per cent interval share but no tangible reward.

Jaap Stam’s men started the second half with more intent, Liam Kelly hitting wide, but Leeds would have been 2-0 up had Doukara connected better with Sacko’s cross.

Reading continued to keep the ball at the back, a puzzling tactic given the state of the game, while it took a Charlie Taylor error to give them a chance. Taylor’s backpass was errant and Roy Beerens got in, with his drive tipped over by Green.

Stam’s men did start to offer more, though, with Green doing well to push away a Yann Kermorgant header.

But it was Leeds who finished on top, Doukara ramming home an injury-time penalty after Taylor was felled.