ROAD TO SURVIVAL: Leeds boost hopes with Burnley win
Credit: PA Mike Egerton
Stuart Dallas and Dan James struck second-half goals as Leeds beat Burnley 3-1 at Elland Road to give their Premier League survival chances a major boost.
Dallas fired home with 13 minutes left in a pulsating relegation battle to raise the roof after Burnley substitute Maxwel Cornet’s fine free-kick had cancelled out Jack Harrison’s first-half opener.
James sealed Leeds’ first league win since the end of November with a stoppage-time header.
Leeds halted a run of three straight defeats and more importantly climbed eight points clear of Sean Dyche’s side, who remain third from bottom.
Burnley, whose solitary league win this season was at the end of October, made a real game of it, but face an uphill battle to retain their top-flight status for a seventh consecutive year.
Raphinha’s outrageous effort from just inside Burnley’s half ignited Leeds, with the Brazilian almost catching out visiting goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey with a brilliant chipped effort which appeared to graze the crossbar.
That was after a scrappy opening 18 minutes and kick-started Leeds into action.
Junior Firpo’s neat flick, destined for the bottom corner, was superbly kept out by Hennessey and Raphinha curled a shot off target as Leeds took control.
Home goalkeeper Illan Meslier was alert to former Leeds defender Charlie Taylor’s dangerous ball in before Tyler Roberts headed Luke Ayling’s cross wide when he should have given Leeds the lead.
Leeds were rewarded for their first-half dominance in the 39th minute.
Harrison forced James Tarkowski into an error before bursting into the box and after his initial left-footed effort had been saved by Hennessey, he turned home the rebound right-footed.
Burnley were in danger of being overrun. Raphinha’s shot after he broke into the penalty area was blocked by Ben Mee and Firpo blazed off target.
Roberts spurned two more chances, firing straight at Hennessey and then wide, before Burnley served warning with their best chance of the opening half when Chris Wood fired over in stoppage time from Taylor’s cross.
Burnley replaced Johann Gudmundsson with Cornet after the interval and he hauled his side level with his first meaningful touch, curling a 30-yard free-kick into the top corner after he had been fouled by Diego Llorente.
Visiting defender Matt Lowton was struck in the face by a bottle thrown from the Leeds end during his side’s celebrations.
Leeds had sent on teenage striker Joe Gelhardt and James for Harrison and Roberts, while Cornet’s movement and trickery gave Burnley a new lease of life as the game hung in the balance heading into the final quarter.
It was Leeds who struck the next decisive blow. Mateusz Klich teed-up Dallas in a central position 20 yards out and Elland Road erupted as the Northern Ireland international buried a thumping drive into the far corner.
Leeds pressed for a game-clinching third goal and that came in time added on when James headed home Gelhardt’s pinpoint cross, despite Hennessey getting a hand to it.
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