Leeds United are now all but assured of Championship football next season after two goals from Stuart Dallas earned them a 2-1 victory in their game in hand at Birmingham City.
Winger Dallas struck with fine efforts either side of half-time and although Clayton Donaldson pulled a goal back for the hosts it was a deserved three points for Steve Evans’ men.
They did end with 10 men, however, after midfielder Alex Mowatt was harshly sent off for a foul on Ryan Shotton.
Evans made one change to his team from the one that unluckily lost at Burnley on Saturday, bringing striker Mirco Antenucci back in for winger Mustapha Carayol and it was the Italian forward who had the first effort when he raced past his marker only to send a shot wide from just outside the box.
Chris Wood was then close to putting away Gaetano Berardi’s low cross as United started like a house on fire.
It was no surprise when Leeds took the lead on 11 minutes as Dallas beat home keeper Adam Legzdins with a terrific 20-yard strike for only his second goal for the club.
Lewis Cook almost made it two soon after with a volley from Charlie Taylor’s left-wing cross and the Whites remained on top with Sol Bamba heading over from Taylor’s corner.
Birmingham finally created a chance of their own just after the half-hour when Shotton flicked the ball wide from David Cotterill’s free-kick.
Leeds were still the better side, however, and only a save from Legzdins prevented Cook from doubling the visitors’ lead.
Birmingham looked more eager after the break, but it was United who scored again when Dallas struck with a powerful volley from 20 yards out, possibly an even better effort than his first goal.
The hosts quickly hit back, however, as Cotterill’s free-kick was parried by Marco Silvestri and Donaldson pounced to net from the rebound.
The action continued to come thick and fast at this stage with Leeds next going close through Bamba after Liam Cooper flicked the ball into his path at the back post following a corner.
Birmingham threatened from a corner soon after when Cook cleared Jonathan Grounds’ header off the line.
Silvestri kept out a half-volley from Kyle Lafferty and collected the ball when the one-time Leeds transfer target followed up.
Donaldson did have the ball in the net only for his effort to be ruled out for offside and the home team continued to be frustrated.
Birmingham did have one great chance when Diego Fabbrini was found by Lafferty, but fired over from no more than six yards out.
United came under more pressure when substitute Mowatt, who had moments earlier blazed a shot over, was red carded. But they survived to end their four-game run without a win and finally go past the 50-point mark for the season.
Birmingham City 1
Leeds United 2 (Dallas 11, 50)
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Sky Bet Championship
Birmingham: Legzdins, Caddis, Morrison, Shotton, Grounds, Gleeson (Toral 61), Davis, Kieftenbeld, Cotterill (Fabbrini 75), Donaldson, Lafferty.
Leeds: Silvestri, Berardi, Bamba, Cooper, Taylor, Diagouraga, Murphy (Bellusci 87), Cook, Dallas (Carayol 82), Antenucci (Mowatt 69), Wood.
Referee: Christopher Kavanagh