Luke Ayling joined Leeds from Bristol City in August 2016
Championship promotion hopefuls Leeds United recorded their first win in four with victory over Bristol City.
Former Robins full-back Luke Ayling smashed the hosts into the lead with a powerful low shot from six yards after the ball ricocheted to him in the area.
Helder Costa twice forced fine saves from City goalkeeper Daniel Bentley and Jack Harrison hit an effort against the crossbar as Leeds pushed for a second, while Nahki Wells fired the visitors’ best chance into the side netting.
Victory, coupled with Fulham’s shock home loss to Barnsley, meant that the Whites stretched their lead over the third-placed Cottagers to three points.
The hosts went into the game on the back of a run of just one win in seven league games but the visitors could not live with their intensity in difficult conditions.
They could have gone in front before Ayling hammered in his second goal of the season, while Costa and Stuart Dallas went close to making it two before Patrick Bamford had an effort ruled out for offside as the hosts threatened to run away with it before the break.
Their dominance continued in the second half but excellent goalkeeping from Bentley kept Lee Johnson’s side in the contest and Wells should perhaps have done better when played in on goal by substitute Famara Diedhiou late on.
Leeds, who have narrowed the gap on Championship leaders West Brom to four points, host Reading next Saturday, while Bristol City welcome the Baggies to Ashton Gate.
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa told BBC Radio Leeds:
“We attacked well. We missed a lot of chances. We defended well and they created few chances. We ran a lot, we fought for every ball.
“The performance in general was positive. The players can adapt to this sort of weather easily because they are used to it.
“We have experienced every type of situation and we have more resources to manage the different type of matches that we will face.”
Bristol City head coach Lee Johnson told BBC Radio Bristol:
“I was disappointed in the first 25-30 minutes, I just felt we froze a bit. The flair players were too easily bullied and got caught in the headlights.
“We then came into it a little bit more when we relaxed and started playing. Leeds were still good, they deserved the win today – but we didn’t deserve what happened to us with the [not awarded] penalty decision.
“It’s a stonewall penalty. It’s too big a game to not get those things right. It’s probably just the fear of Leeds away.”
- Match Stats
- Live Text
- 15DallasBooked at 55mins
- 17Hélder Costa
- 19HernándezSubstituted forShackletonat 90'minutes
- 43KlichBooked at 90mins
- 9BamfordSubstituted forAugustinat 75'minutes
- 22KalasBooked at 81mins
- 19EliassonSubstituted forPalmerat 74'minutes
- 20PatersonSubstituted forDiédhiouat 60'minutes
- 14WeimannSubstituted forO'Dowdaat 34'minutesBooked at 58mins
Home TeamLeedsAway TeamBristol CityPossessionHome69%Away31%ShotsHome21Away3Shots on TargetHome6Away1CornersHome12AwayFoulsHome13Away14
Match ends, Leeds United 1, Bristol City 0.