Leeds United sit on top of the table after Jack Harrison’s late winner at Reading

Jack Harrison scores the winning goal for Leeds United at Reading. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Jack Harrison scores the winning goal for Leeds United at Reading. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Jack Harrison’s 87th minute goal sealed a 1-0 victory for Leeds United at Reading as they went top of the Championship for 24 hours at least.

After their late winner at Luton on Saturday the Whites repeated the feat as they came up with three important points on their travels.

They produced a controlled performance, but were frustrated by organised opponents and their play lacked a killer touch until Harrison’s big contribution near the finish.

A quiet first half saw chances at a premium and it was no surprise that it ended goalless.

Leeds started brightly enough with Luke Ayling - playing in a back three - getting forward to supply a cross that was just behind Patrick Bamford, who could only flick the ball over.

But they did not create a clear opening in the first 45 minutes. Stuart Dallas hit two shots that were blocked and Ben White saw a volley cleared by Liam Moore - and that was it.

Reading were reliant on breakaways for their attacks. They looked dangerous from set pieces, but their lack of possession left them living on scraps.

An early break by Yakou Meite saw his cross just evade strike partner George Puscas. Meite then sent a looping header wide, but it was 40th minute before they managed the only effort on target in the first half, Meite’s header from a corner being well saved by Kiko Casilla.

United started the second half with more purpose. Ayling went down in the area, but referee ??? ruled that the challenge by Moore was shoulder to shoulder. From a Kalvin Phillips corner Liam Cooper then should have done better when found free in the area only to head wide.

Mateusz Klich got in a superb cross soon after, but Bamford, arriving at the far post, could only chest the ball over.

Leeds went closer on 63 minutes when Dallas played a one-two just outside the box and rattled the Reading crossbar with a terrific strike.

The hosts then had their best chance so far as a free-kick into the box was not dealt with and centre-back Michael Morrison fired over.

Within seconds the ball was down the other end, but Dallas could only hit his volley straight at home keeper Rafael.

Reading struggled to deal with a Phillips corner moments later and White fired over. United surged forward again and Dallas got free once more, but sent his volley into the side netting with just the keeper to beat from an angle.

The hosts survived the hot spell and came close themselves when John Swift’s 30-yard free-kick was palmed away by Casilla. However, within seconds Leeds then broke swiftly after Dallas cleared the ball to Ezgjan Alioski and Helder Costa’s deflected cross was headed home at the far post by Jack Harrison.

It was enough to seal a hard fought victory with the Whites seeing out the remainder of the game comfortably.

Head coach Marcelo Bielsa admitted United had not been at their best, but were worthy winners.

He said: “In the first half we had a lot of possession, but didn’t create many chances.

“It was difficult for us to win.

“We didn’t have a lot of continuity in our play, but we had five or six chances to score in the second half. We deserved to win.”

Match facts

Reading 0

Leeds United 1

(Harrison 87)

Championship

Attendance: 16,918

Reading: Rafael, Miazga, Morrison, Moore, Gunter, Rinomhota (McCleary 90+3), Ejaria, Swift, Richards, Puscas (Boye 70), Meite (Loader 86).

Leeds: Casilla, Ayling, White, Cooper, Dallas, Phillips, Klich (Alioski 66), Hernandez, Roberts (Costa 34), Harrison (Shackleton 90+3), Bamford.

Referee: Darren Bond.