With the Whites a goal down going into the third minute of first half injury-time it was looking like another tough afternoon for the home fans, but a slice of fortune changed matters.
Robert Snodgrass‘s cross was dropped by Posh keeper Paul Jones and the ball landed kindly at the feet of recalled striker Billy Paynter, who had an easy task to side foot the ball home from five yards for an equaliser.
In the second minute of the second half Leeds scored again when Leigh Bromby’s long throw was flicked on by Paynter and Jones could not keep out Ross McCormack’s far post volley.
A smart break then brought about a third goal a minute later as Danny Webber slipped Adam Clayton in down the left and his cross picked out the unmarked McCormack, who was able to put away his 19th goal of the season.
From then on it was a coast for the Whites with Peterborough unable to fight back and what was looking like a difficult game was anything but. They added a fourth on 73 minutes when Paynter – having waited so long for his first Elland Road goal ion a Leeds shirt – got his second with a simple finish the visitors failed to cut out Tom Lees’ low cross.
Paynter came close to a hat-trick with a left foot volley over and a sliced shot after being set up by an audacious Clayton back-heel. He also set up Webber with a superb disguised reverse pass only for the ex-Sheffield United man to fire his shot over.
But when the big centre-forward came off in the 90th minute it was to a hero’s reception and he was the undoubted man of the match after proving a handful all afternoon for the Peterborough defence.
Paynter had his first chance in the opening minute, seeing a shot blocked. He also had a header cleared off the line and Snodgrass had two more efforts cleared by defenders as Leeds made a flying start.
Their promising early play gradually evaporated, however, and after Paul Taylor and George Boyd put efforts wide for the visitors they took the lead on 38 minutes after more of the comical defending that has let the Whites down in recent weeks at home.
Both Webber and teenage left-back Charlie Taylor had chances to clear, but Newell nipped in, easily rounded Danny Pugh and when no defender came to close him down he helped himself to his first goal in senior football.
Peterborough created precious little, though, after the break and finished well beaten.
Leeds United 4
(Paynter 45, 73, McCormack 47, 48)
Peterborough United 1
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Leeds: Lonergan, Lees, Bromby, O’Dea, Taylor (Robinson 45), McCormack, Clayton, Pugh, Snodgrass, Rogers (Webber 12), Paynter (Becchio 90).
Peterborough: Jones, Alcock, Brisley, Zakuani (Little 54), Rowe, Frecklington, McCann (Tomlin 61), Newell, Boyd, Taylor, Burnett (Ball 76).
Referee: David Phillips.