Nottingham Forest’s unbeaten record came to an abrupt end at Elland Road on Saturday as Neil Warnock’s side avenged last season’s 7-3 thumping to go level on points with the Reds in the Championship.
Forest were on the back foot from the start and struggled to handle the game plan the Yorkshire side adopted in the first period. Former Premier League star El Hadji Diouf proved a handful and was involved as Leeds went ahead early-on through Luciano Becchio.
And the Reds looked dumbstruck when youngster Dominic Poleon struck home his first senior goal to double the home side’s advantage just ten minutes later.
In a tighter second period the Reds did pull one back through Dexter Blackstock’s goal on the hour-mark. However, despite some good play they failed to penetrate the sturdy United defence again who held out for an important win.
Following the early exchanges Forest did have the ball in the net when an Andy Reid corner went in off Leeds skipper Lee Peltier – however referee Andy D’Urso ruled the goal out due to an infringement on home keeper Paddy Kenny.
Yet, after that early scare for the hosts it was all one way traffic as Leeds began to dominate possession and came up with a goal immediately. Diouf tricked his way down the right-hand side before firing over a cross for Becchio and the Argentinean struck past Camp to put his side ahead.
Diouf found a new lease of life after his part in the goal and did well to spur on the home side. The Senegalese winger had a shot of his well blocked by Danny Collins to deny Leeds a second.
However it wasn’t long before United did come up with a goal to double their advantage. Becchio getting the better of Reds defender Daniel Ayala and turning provider for Leeds new boy Poleon who slotted home from just inside the box.
And before the break Leeds should have made it three when midfielder Sam Byram picked out Becchio with a cross but the striker could only side-foot the ball over Lee Camp’s crossbar from close range.
After the interval Forest looked improved and did get a goal back thanks to a Blackstock header on sixty-minutes. Greg Halford’s long throw right into the 12-yard box deceived Kenny and fell to the Reds’ frontman who scored to give the visitors a chance back into the game.
Soon after Halford was close to another assist from a throw as the former Portsmouth man found James Coppinger whose effort was cleared off the line by left-back Adam Drury before being saved well by Kenny.
Substitute Lewis McGugan went close to an equaliser twice for the Reds in the closing stages but to no avail. The midfielder’s curling effort forced Kenny into a fantastic stop before his 25-yard free-kick moments after flew just inches wide.
The Reds now drop to 10th position in the Championship table with 10 points. They face arch rivals Derby County next in a mouth-watering tie at the City Ground on Sunday 30th September. Kick-off is at 1:15pm.
Nottingham Forest: Camp, Halford, Ayala, Collins(c), Harding, Coppinger (Sharp, 83), Moussi (McGugan, 46), Gillett, Reid (Lansbury, 46), Blackstock, Cox
Leeds United: Kenny, Peltier(c) (Varney, 68), Drury, Lees, Pearce, Austin, Becchio (Gray, 90), Tonge, Diouf, Byram, Poleon (White, 66)
Man of the match (Forest): Dexter Blackstock
Referee: Andy D’Urso
Attendance: 24, 292