Hulse hat-trick hands Leeds win
By Andrew Scurr
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
A first-half hat-trick from Rob Hulse handed Leeds a 3-1 victory over Derby.A first-half Rob Hulse hat-trick handed Leeds a 3-1 victory over Derby at Elland Road and moved them into sixth place in the Coca-Cola Championship.
Hulse scored three goals in the space of 15 first-half minutes (32, 37 & 44) to put the Yorkshire club in total control of the game, and although Derby pulled one back thanks to an own-goal by Sean Gregan, they will look back on a poor first half performance which saw Leeds take control.
The Whites had an early penalty claim turned down when Richard Cresswell and Lee Camp collided in the area, however, the appeals were waved away by referee Graham Salisbury.
United controlled the majority of the first half but their finishing was initially wayward with both Hulse and Eddie Lewis spurning chances to put the home side in front.
Derby began to come into the game mid-way through the first half when Morten Bisgaard's free-kick flew inches wide of the post.
But Leeds then took control of the game once again and, just after the half-hour mark, deservedly opened the scoring through Hulse.
His opener came when Derby failed to clear despite numerous chances and the striker made no mistake and slotted home from 12 yards. Five minutes later, Hulse doubled the advantage with a glancing header after a near-post cross from Lewis.
The first-half hat-trick was complete a minute before the break when Lewis' long-range shot was only parried by Camp and Hulse was first to react to score from close range.
Derby had a chance to get back into the game just before half-time, but Bisgaard's snap shot went way wide despite being only yards out.
The second half began in the same vein as Leeds continued to dominate, Robbie Blake's free-kick being acrobatically turned round the post by Camp.
Manager Phil Brown rung the changes midway through the second half for Derby, reverting to a 3-4-3 formation with veteran centre-forward Dean Holdsworth coming on and playing at centre back.
The change paid dividends on 74 minutes when Sean Gregan headed into his own goal from Bisgaard's corner.
Leeds should have made it four minutes later when Hulse played in Blake who was one-on-one with Camp, but the former Burnley man fell at the vital moment and could only toe-poke a shot against the post.
Despite not appealing for a penalty, Blake was booked by Mr Salisbury for what was, in his eyes, a dive.
Towards the end of the game Derby showed good intent, however, the points went Leeds' way in front of a disappointing 18,343 fans.