Leeds 1-0 Hull: Pablo Hernandez hits winner to send hosts into play-offs
By Press Association
Last Updated: 23/12/17 7:06pm
In-form Leeds moved back into the Sky Bet Championship play-off places with a gritty 1-0 victory against Hull.
Pablo Hernandez grabbed the decisive strike just before the half-hour mark - cashing in on a goalkeeping error - as Thomas Christiansen's men registered a hugely impressive fifth victory in seven matches.
Hull's worries increased under new boss Nigel Adkins as their recent boost was halted and they have now won just once in their last 10 games.
The visitors enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges at a packed Elland Road. Barely a minute had passed when Kamil Grosicki saw a sweetly-struck 25-yard effort superbly saved by Leeds keeper Felix Wiedwald.
Shortly after Grosicki found space once again, but this time his shot was bravely blocked by Pontus Jansson.
It was hugely against the run of play when Leeds broke the deadlock. Hernandez pounced on a poor clearance from Hull's Allan McGregor, latching onto a loose ball before charging forward and chipping the Tigers' goalkeeper to register his fifth goal of the season.
Hull were then denied by the woodwork as Spaniard Jon Toral saw his 20-yard pile-driver strike the post. McGregor did his best to redeem himself just before the break as he saved brilliantly from Gianni Alioski after he had been neatly set up by Pawel Cibicki.
After the restart, Leeds were on top in the early stages with Luke Ayling unlucky as he just failed to stretch enough to meet Alioski's free-kick.
Hull responded with Australian midfielder Jackson Irvine then inches away from connecting with Toral's inswinging corner.
Another terrific delivery from Toral was met by the onrushing Kevin Stewart, but his header was directed over the crossbar when he really ought to have done better.
Stewart went close again minutes later, this time crashing a low shot narrowly wide after meeting a neat pass from Fikayo Tomori.
Leeds were hanging on as the final 20 minutes approached, but they did break and Cibicki whipped in a dangerous cross which had to be frantically cleared by Aina.
The hosts were hunting a second in the closing stages, and Cibicki almost netted when he fired over the top from an acute angle after meeting Jansson's pass. Sub Pierre-Michel Lasogga then forced McGregor into a fine stop.
Thomas Christiansen: "I'm very pleased with that result. We've reached one of our targets now. It feels nice to be back in the top six again. Our performance could have been better, but I suppose the only things that matter are the three points.
"Looking at the table, I can't have too many complaints. This was a very important victory for us. The players showed real character to get the result in the end. It's not easy this division, and that showed today, but we are in a good moment right now and we all have to take the positives."
Nigel Adkins: "It's a disappointing way to lose a game, of course. It was a poor clearance from our goalkeeper and they've capitalised on it. We'd started the game so well. We were assertive and in control really, but we should have taken our chances.
"After half-an-hour Leeds get theirs and they score from it. I was pleased with the resilience the lads showed after that. We kept going and we were unfortunate to be behind at half-time. Overall we've probably created treble the amount of chances Leeds did, but they've won the game."