Hugo Rodallega grabbed the only goal of the game as Fulham narrowly beat Leeds at Elland Road and leapfrogged their opponents in the Championship table.
The Colombian striker finished clinically after Lasse Vigen Christensen had brilliantly wriggled away from two tacklers to make the opportunity from a routine right-wing throw in. He missed a glorious chance to seal the points when sent through one-on-one late in the contest but couldn’t even hit the target. Leeds spurned probably the game’s best opportunity as Adryan headed wide of an unguarded goal after Gabor Kiraly had completely missed Billy Sharp’s deep cross.
Leeds, beset by more boardroom uncertainty, made the brighter start and were unlucky not to take the lead when Alex Mowatt’s header rattled the crossbar and bounced wide off the body off Kiraly, whose eccentric display in goal somehow resulted in a clean sheet. Ross McCormack, named Fulham skipper on his first return to Elland Road since his £12m summer, slipped when he looked to be clean through on goal much to the delight of the home crowd.
Fulham were far more adventurous after the interval and the industrious Christensen made the decisive goal on the hour with a brilliant piece of skill from Jack Grimmer’s throw in. He chested the ball down just outside the penalty area, when there appeared to be little danger, but tricked his way past Tommasso Bianchi and sent in a low cross towards the near post, where Rodallega swept home his ninth goal of the season from six yards.
Aside from Adryan’s heart-stopping header, Fulham held on with few alarms for an encouraging victory that greatly pleased Kit Symons. The Whites are now up to twelfth in the Championship table with a tricky run of festive fixtures ahead of them. Leeds finished a desperately disappointing afternoon with more worrying news as left back Stephen Warnock limped off injured in the closing stages.
LEEDS UNITED (4-1-2-1-2): Silvestri; Byram, Warnock (Berardi 89), Pearce, Cooper; Bianchi; L. Cook, Mowatt; Adryan (Dawson 76); Antenucci, Doukara (Sharp 60). Subs (not used): Taylor, Tongue, Sloth, Del Fabro.
FULHAM (4-1-2-1-2): Kiraly; Grimmer, Stafylidis, Bodurov, Hutchinson; Fofana (Zverotic 85); Christensen, Hyndman; Ruiz; McCormack, Rodallega (Woodrow 82). Subs (not used): Rodak, Burn, Kavanagh, Williams, Roberts.
GOAL: Rodallega (60).
REFEREE: Scott Duncan (Tyne and Wear).