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26 December 2017 Venue Pirelli Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - Championship

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Match Reports


26 December 2017

Two goals in three second half minutes turned Albion's Boxing Day game with Leeds on its head as Pablo Hernandez and Kemar Roofe inspired a second half comback after Tom Naylor had given Albion hope of a third successive victory.

Naylor's second goal in as many games was a poacher's effort as he stole in to steer Lucas Akins' shot into the bottom corner just before the half hour mark but having missed several good chances to extend their lead Hernandez's free kick on the hour mark quickly followed by Roofe's fine finish ensured that Leedfs gained revenge for their Pirelli Stadium defeat from last season.

After the victory at Reading there were two changes for the visit of Leeds. An enforced change saw Jamie Allen replace Luke Murphy in the centre of midfield, the popular on loan man unable to face his parent club. With Will Miller having been laid low by a bug there was a recall for Sean Scannell wide on the right of midfield.

Leeds started at a brisk pace with the dangerous Pawel Cibicki quickly identified as the outlet they were looking to exploit from his position wide on the right. Several times the ball was pinged out to the right looking for the man in white to get the better of Tom Flanagan but the Brewers defender stuck to his task well to contain his man. In fact the first real chance came when Pablo Hernandez got himself on the ball in the centre and tried to slide a pass through for Egzjan Alioksi drifting in from the opposite flank, Stephen Bywater racing out to intercept and avert the danger.

Allen was close to his first Albion goal when a rebound fell kindly for him but he was unable to keep his effort on target and Tom Flanagan was not far away from a second in as many games when a deep cross from Scannell on the right came through to him on the edge of the box. After setting himself the Northern Ireland international sent a dipping shot just over the angle of post and crossbar.

Leeds had their first clear shot on goal on the quarter of an hour mark when a high headed clearance from Jake Buxton, on the stretch, fell for Alioski who drilled a volley wide of the target from 15 yards.

Cibicki almost unpicked the Burton defence two minutes later with a low centre that Hernandez failed to make clean contact with, the ball skewing through the box and evading Alioski loitering at the back post.

The visitors continued to press and when Eunan O'Kane lifted the ball into the area Kemar Roofe found space after beating the offside press to turn on a sixpence and fire wide of Bywater's right hand but also just wide of the upright. The closest chance yet for Leeds.

Leeds thought they had shouts for a penalty on 25 minutes when Alioski lifted a cross into the middle and there were vociferous shouts for handball as Roofe went up with Ben Turner . Referee Darren Bond blew his whistle but penalised the Leeds man as the one to get a hand to the ball.

Having spent most of the first half under pressure Albion grabbed the lead just before the half hour. A long throw was flicked on by Naylor and via a Leeds head found its way to Akins. The winger's shot back across goal was helped on Sordell in the middle with NAYLOR applying the finishing touch from close range.

The men from Elland Road set about their task of finding an equaliser with vigour although Albion were looking calm at the back as they set about keeping them out. Roofe thundered a shot in from distance convinced he had won a corner via a deflection on 38 minutes but referee Bond was having none of it.

Leeds had daylight and a chance to test Bywater again on 42 when the ball was clipped in for Roofe but Turner and skipper Jake Buxton did superbly to close down the Leeds man and calmly lay the ball back for Bywater to clear his lines.

Albion spurned a glorious opportunity to double their lead on 44 minutes. A free kick from Leeds was quickly repelled and when Scannell got to the ball in midfield first he set Allen away for a lighting raid into Leeds territory. The diminutive midfielder got caught in two minds in the end though his low ball across neither threatening the goal or finding a fellow yellow shirt.

Leeds could consider themselves fortunate to go into half time with eleven men still on the pitch. As referee Bond prepared to blow for the end of the first period defender Gaetano Berardi went into a challenge with Scannell that looked two footed and somewhat reckless despite winning the ball but after some ugly pushing and shoving referee Bond brandished just a yellow card.

Half time: Burton Albion 1-0 Leeds United

A bright start to the second half saw them almost have a second goal within two minutes of the restart. Scannell and Naylor did well on the edge of the box to find Sordell and the striker twisted and turned to get in a curling left foot shot that agonisingly dropped wide of Felix Wiedwald's post.

A lengthy stoppage followed as Ronaldo Vieira felt the full force of a challenge from Naylor that earned the Burton man a yellow card right on the half way line. Once the game restarted it was Albion again with an excellent chance to double their advantage. When a free kick was sent in towards the far post and Turner was there to meet it. A yard either side of the keeper and it was a certain goal. Unfortunately the header found the grateful arms of Wiedwald.

It was a chance that Albion would rue as Leeds equalised on the hour mark. A foul by Flanagan on Roofe gave the visitors a set piece in a dangerous area and after a lengthy delay whilst Bywater set up his wall and picked up a silly booking for pulling down the shorts of O'Kane it all went wrong as HERNANDEZ curled home a precise free kick to level things.

Three minutes later and the turnaround was complete for the men in white. Vieira did well to win possession off Scannell inside his own half and with one killer pass he had ROOFE bursting through to calmly slot home from the edge of the box.

Leeds were like a new side now with the lead and the impetus it gave them and they continued to threaten. Roofe almost had a second tricking his way into the box before driving a deflected effort wide of the target and the introduction of Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Kalvin Phillips added to the visitor's threat. The former was not slow in trying his luck with a rising twenty five yard effort sailing over Bywater's goal.

Albion laid siege to the Leeds goal in a rousing finish to the game in stoppage time but when Sordell slid a shot just inches wide amidst a scramble in the box it was game up for the Brewers after a valiant effort.

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