- Leeds United 0, Albion 1
Neal Maupay's seventh goal of the season earned Albion a precious three points at Elland Road.
The Frenchman has a happy habit of scoring against Leeds and finished off an outstanding move to settle things in the 17th minute.
The hosts huffed and puffed but Albion showed great defensive organisation and resilience to blunt a team who have been scoring goals for fun this season. In front of them Ben White made an eye-catching return to Leeds with an energetic midfield performance.
It was Albion's first win in ten since the 2-1 success at Villa Park in November and all three victories have come on the road.
Leandro Trossard hit the bar and missed a good chance in the second half of a scrappy contest played on a heavy pitch. Not that Graham Potter and his players will mind.
Potter had made two changes to the side beaten at Manchester City on Wednesday for the first Premier League meeting between the clubs. In came Solly March and Maupay with Percy Tau and Davy Propper on another youthful bench which included Yves Bissouma after suspension. Steven Alzate was also among the subs after three games out but Adam Lallana, Danny Welbeck, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Tariq Lamptey and Aaron Connolly were all missing through injury.
It soon became apparent that the heavy surface, which was cutting up during the warm-up, would cause issues for both teams but Albion settled well although they had an early scare when Rodrigo just couldn't make contact when Ezgjan Alioski fizzed a cross over from the left.
Maupay felt he should have had a penalty after going down when Luke Ayling tugged his shoulder but in the 17th minute the Frenchman was celebrating after finishing a superb team move.
It started in Albion’s half when Pascal Gross’s lovely touch freed Alexis Mac Allister to run at the home defence. He exchanged passed with Trossard and then clipped a low cross from the right to Maupay who was unmarked at the far post to score one of the easiest goals of his career.
Albion began to play with fluency and confidence. The crossbar saved Leeds when Ayling stuck out a leg and deflected Trossard’s cross onto the bar with Kiko Casilla beaten.
Dan Burn then stretched to fire over inside the six-yard box after Lewis Dunk had headed March's cross before a barnstorming run by White from halfway ended with a shot which Ayling managed to block. The only disappointment at the end of an excellent opening 45 was that Albion’s advantage was only one goal.
Rob Sanchez had little to do in the first half but he was grateful to see Jack Harrison steer a left-foot shot wide from ten yards after a slick move – their best of the match - five minutes after the break.
There was more intensity to the home side's approach but Albion had a great chance on the hour when Alioski slipped and Maupay surged forward and picked out Trossard who frustratingly failed to keep a right-foot shot on target from an inviting position 18 yards out.
Bissouma, Tau and Propper all came on as Albion settled for what they had, although Webster strode forward for a shot which Casilla grabbed at the second attempt. The last ten minutes were nervy for those of an Albion disposition before they could celebrate three precious points.
Neal loves Leeds
Some opponents just seem to inspire certain strikers and for Neal Maupay that team is Leeds. His fourth goal in five games against United – the other three came in Championship games for Brentford – is more than he has managed against any other club during his career in England. The celebrations were suitably muted but there was no doubting Maupay's delight.
If Albion players thought the pitch they played Newport County on last Sunday was bad then the Elland Road surface was an unpleasant surprise. Chief executive Angus Kinnear revealed in the programme that the pitch was 25 years old and 'suffering from decades of under-investment.' A full reconstruction which will take 14 weeks is planned for the summer.
Sanchez, Veltman, Webster, Dunk, Burn, March, Trossard (Tau 73), White Gross, Mac Allister (Bissouma 63), Maupay (Propper 81).
Subs not used: Walton, Alzate, Zeqiri, Sanders, Jenks, Khadra.
Referee: Kevin Friend
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