LEEDS United got back to winning ways in the Npower Championship with a battling display against previously unbeaten Nottingham Forest.
First half goals from Luciano Becchio and a first-ever at senior level by teenage forward Dominic Poleon clinched a 2-1 victory with Forest replying through Dexter Blackstock to make it a nervy finish.
Forest looked the more confident at the start as striker Simon Cox had one shot saved by Paddy Kenny and saw another deflected wide off defender Jason Pearce. They had the ball in the net only for a header from a corner to be ruled out for a foul on keeper Kenny.
But it was the Whites who struck first on 14 minutes. El Hadji Diouf’s excellent cross was knocked back at the far post by Sam Byram and the ball was hammered into the net by Becchio for his seventh goal of the season.
Now it was Leeds on top and after Diouf saw a shot blocked when he was well placed in the box they doubled their lead as Diouf put Becchio through and although he delayed and was tackled by Danny Collins the ball broke nicely for Poleon to mark his first senior start with his first goal.
Andy Reid hit a free-kick over as the visitors looked to reply, but it was United creating the better chances for the rest of the first half. Becchio headed a Diouf free-kick over and Byram sent another effort over from a Diouf free-kick. On the stroke of half-time they really should have been three up when Becchio blazed over from eight yards out after Byram’s run and low cross had presented the Argentine striker with a clear chance.
The second half was a different story once Forest had pulled a goal back just after the hour mark, Blackstock outjumping Kenny to head home a Greg Halford long throw.
Another long throw caused more havoc and led to Kenny tipping a shot over. Substitute Lewis McGugan was denied by a fine Kenny save then was inches wide with a free-kick as Forest piled the pressure on.
But United held firm in defence despite losing Lee Peltier to injury and came close to sealing the win with the impressive Rodolph Austin going close twice and Michael Tonge seeing a goalbound shot cleared by a defender.
Leeds United 2
(Becchio 14, Poleon 26)
Nottingham Forest 1
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Leeds: Kenny, Peltier (White 66), Lees, Pearce, Drury, Byram, Austin, Tonge, Poleon (Varney 66), Diouf, Becchio (Gray 90).
Forest: Camp, Halford, Collins, Ayala, Harding, Coppinger (Sharp 83), Gillett, Moussi (McGugan 45), Reid (Lansbury 45), Cox, Blackstock.
Referee: Andy D’Urso.