Derby County saw their three-game winning streak come to an abrupt end as Leeds United won 2-0 in an impressive home display at Elland Road.
Robust, dogged and determined, Leeds ran at Derby relentlessly in the first half and headed into the break a goal to the good after Mirco Antenucci opened the scoring four minutes before the interval.
Restricted to half chances, the Rams never caused the hosts any problems after Antenucci doubled his and the Whites’ lead shortly after the interval as the home side picked up their first win over Derby in 13 games.
Despite how the game transpired, just as they did the week previous against Watford, Derby began the opening exchanges on the front foot and created the early opportunities as they penned Leeds in their own half.
Jeff Hendrick, tamely, miscued a shot wide after neat build up play that started on the left and Chris Martin took the ball too wide of goal to shoot after initially being well placed after collecting a punt into the area.
The Whites grew into the contest after 10 minutes with Adryan particularly looking lively with his quick feet, but chances were coming at a premium in a game that was broken up by multiple fouls by both parties.
The contest at Elland Road descended into a midfield battle as Derby held the hosts at arms length. Leeds’ relentless running meant the Rams were spending proportions of the game in their own half.
The closest either side came to opening the scoring in the first 34 minutes, as Mirco Antenucci stepped inside Richard Keogh with some neat footwork before blazing over.
Alex Mowatt forced Lee Grant into his first save with a fierce drive from range after escaping from Omar Mascarell as Leeds stepped up their search for the opener.
Souleymane Doukara turned and fired wide from the edge of the box after flowing move forward from Neil Redfearn’s side.
Leeds got their rewards with three minutes remaining after Will Hughes had been dispossessed of the ball on the edge of the area and a low cross into the area was smashed in by Antenucci from six yards.
The home side had not conceded a first half goal since the end of September and they stayed true to form to take in a first half initiative.
It did not end there for the hosts, though, as they made a quick start to the second half to double their lead.
Neat play on the left opened up space for Stephen Warnock to run into and after charging beyond Christie, the Captain delivered a low cross into the area that was turned in by Antenucci for his second of the afternoon.
Leeds continued to profit from Derby’s wasteful possession play as Sam Byram drilled an effort into the gloves of Grant.
A driving run from Christie drew a foul from Giuseppe Bellusci and Mascarell powered an effort into the wall on the edge of the area, before Steve McClaren signalled their intent with a triple change.
Antenucci went in search of his hat trick as he drove another effort at Grant, which was palmed away, before he curled another shot over with 18 minutes remaining.
With space starting to open up, Derby began to enjoy more possession and Simon Dawkins blazed over after being picked out by Forsyth.
With nine minutes remaining, Derby were presented with the chance to get back into the contest as Craig Bryson scampered away down the left and after his initial cross blocked, the midfielder squared the ball to Kwame Thomas who blazed the chance over the bar.
Derby piled the pressure on as the clock ticked down without creating any meaningful opportunities and Leeds saw out the contest to end Derby’s three-game winning streak.
Leeds United: Silvestri, Byram, Cooper, Bellusci, Warnock, Cook, Bianchi (Austin, 68), Mowatt, Adryan (Tonge, 90), Antenucci, Doukara
Substitutes: S Taylor, Berardi, Pearce, Dawson, Sharp
Derby County: Grant, Christie, Keogh, Shotton, Forsyth, Mascarell (Bryson, 66), Hughes, Hendrick, Russell (Thomas, 66), Ibe (Dawkins 66), Martin
Substitutes: Roos, Buxton, Eustace, Coutts