One goal settles it as Brentford beat Leeds United at Elland Road
Alex Pritchard scored the only goal as Brentford completed a Sky Bet Championship double over Leeds United with a win at Elland Road.
Pritchard scored in the second half to give The Bees a win that they fully deserved on the balance of play.
After an even start The Bees took control midway through the first half and although Leeds had some attacking posession, it seemed like a matter of time before the visitors scored.
Toumani Diagouraga, on the day he made his 200th Brentford appearance, set up the winner that Pritchard converted and The Bees saw the game out with few alarms, indeed looking more likely to score a second than concede an equaliser.
Leeds started the game with a high-energy approach.
They pressed Brentford high up the pitch, stopping The Bees starting their passing game in deep areas as they like to do.
The home side were also keen to throw the ball in behind Brentford’s defence, getting the back line running towards their own goal and trying to force a mistake.
The Bees were not able to dominate the early stages as they have in many matches this season but were still on the front foot and the game was quite stretched with both teams looking to get their attacking players in to advanced areas.
Pritchard was at the heart of most of Brentford’s attacking play and he had the first shot, which flew wide from 25 yards.
Stuart Dallas cut inside and shot wide soon after before Pritchard set Andre Gray away, the striker raced clear, beating Sol Bamba for pace, but could not beat Marco Silvestri in the Leeds goal.
The home side had chances of their own in the first quarter – Steve Morison should have done better with a header from ten yards that David Button saved and a Luke Murphy free kick deflected wide.
Murphy then delivered the resulting corner to the near post and Liam Cooper nodded it across the face of goal.
Rodolph Austin shot narrowly over after Morison cut the ball back in to his path but as the game approached the half hour, Brentford were starting to take control of it.
Gaps were appearing in the Leeds midfield as the home side were unable to press in the way they did at the start and Diagouraga was starting to dictate play.
Cooper was forced to foul Pritchard when the midfield player raced through – Pritchard’s free kick was then saved by Silvestri – and the home back line looked stretched on other occasions when Gray and Jota found space.
Jota should have scored when a long James Tarkowski pass got him in behind but Silvestri again saved well.
Leeds sat deeper as half time approached, trying to stop Brentford breaking in to the space behind them.
It limited them as an attacking force – although Harlee Dean sliced a Billy Sharp cross narrowly past his own post – and Brentford dominated posession.
The Bees did, however, have fewer openings in the last 15 minutes of the half and a Jonathan Douglas header from a Jota corner, saved by Silvestri, was as close as they came to a goal late in the first 45.
Brentford came out at the start of the second half looking to regain the initiative they held for much of the first period.
And they did so straight away, seeming to move through the gears, playing delightful football, creating space and picking their passes.
Pritchard had a shot deflected wide just after the break and Silvestri rushed out to save at the feet of Gray soon after.
With the home team chasing shadows at times, there were a lot of fouls committed and referee Graham Salisbury was the focus of the ire of the home fans.
They were particularly unhappy that Austin went to ground repeatedly when in close proximity to Moses Odubajo in the penalty area without getting a penalty or free kick.
Gray had a shot blocked for The Bees, as did Pritchard and it took a fine tackle from Charlie Taylor to prevent Douglas going through to score.
Brentford’s pressure eventually told 20 minutes in to the second half.
Leeds failed to clear properly from a corner and Jon Toral combined with Dallas to win the ball, Diagouraga raced away down the right and delivered a cross to the back post where Pritchard was waiting to smash it home.
The goal was no more than Brentford deserved, Leeds had been second best after the break and a Morison shot, from a deep corner, was all they had offered in an attacking sense.
Bamba volleyed over soon after as Leeds tried to take the game to The Bees but Brentford just had more space to break.
A Dallas ball just eluded substitute Chris Long before a Jake Bidwell cross was half cleared, Toral smashed a shot against the post and the follow-up from Dallas was deflected wide.
Toral went close again with a shot across the face of goal, again just ahead of Long, and a Dean effort was blocked soon after.
Button saved a low Austin shot and Sharp almost levelled it up when a cross was half cleared to him 18 yards out but his shot flew inches wide.
Dallas could have sealed the win with a shot from ten yards after great work on the right by Tommy Smith but Silvestri saved and Leeds threw bodied forward in the dying seconds.
An Austin free kick hit the defensive wall and in stoppage time there was a scramble in the box that saw Odubajo make a fine tackle to deny Sharp before Bidwell flew in to block when substitute Mirco Antenucci looked set to score.
Long could have sealed it at the end when he got away on the left but his shot was saved.
It didn’t affect the result, however, as Brentford won at Elland Road for the first time since 1947 and climbed to fourth in the Sky Bet Championship.
Leeds United: Silvestri; Wootton, Bamba, Cooper, Taylor; Byram, Murphy (sub Cani 85 mins), Cook, Austin; Sharp, Morison (sub Antenucci 74 mins)
Subs (not used): Taylor, Berardi, Bianchi, Mowatt, Sloth
Bookings: Cooper (24 mins), Austin (70 mins), Cook (87 mins)
Brentford: Button; Odubajo, Dean, Tarkowski, Bidwell; Douglas, Diagouraga; Jota (sub Toral 58 mins), Pritchard (sub Smith 83 mins), Dallas; Gray (sub Long 67 mins)
Subs (not used): Bonham, Yennaris, Craig, Saunders
Bookings: Dean (11 mins) (fourth of season), Bidwell (82 mins) (sixth of season), Toral (90 mins)
By Chris Wickham