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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:04 3rd April 2010

Report: Leeds United 0 Town 3

Town claimed a stunningly comfortable win over Leeds United to move into the League One automatic promotion places, following a commanding second half performance at Elland Road.

Danny Wilson's men struggled to settle early on in the game, with the hosts closing down every loose ball with a massive point to prove after three consecutive defeats.

However, it was the visitors who created the first chance after 15 minutes, with Charlie Austin heading narrowly over at the back post after a good run and cross from Simon Ferry on the right.

It then became much more even a contest than it had been in the early exchanges, with both sides looking fairly composed in possession and striving for a sucker punch.

Town nearly created it when Danny Ward burst onto Billy Paynter's knock down, but the youngster's shot flew narrowly wide of the far post.

Both sides could have gone in front soon after as first Austin headed narrowly over again from Ward's cross, and then an excellent block from Lecsinel Jean-Francois on a Jonny Howson cross nearly looped into the net, but Stephen Darby was around to cover and head the ball off the line.

Then, after Paynter had gone close with a deflected shot for Town, the hosts proceeded to miss the chance of the game through Andy Hughes, as the full back found space at the back post, cut inside and looked certain to score, but somehow shot tamely straight at Lucas.

After Hughes' glaring miss the hosts began to control possession as they had done in the opening 15 minutes, but struggled to create anything more than half chances in the face of a determined Town rearguard, with Beckford and Grella going close.

However, just as the teams looked set to go in level, a pinpoint cross from J-P McGovern found Billy Paynter unmarked at the back post, and the prolific striker drilled a volley past Shane Higgs into the top corner to give Town the lead and silence the home fans.

And it could have been two but for a brilliant point blank save from Higgs to deny Austin deep into stoppage time, but as the half time whistle went, Town fans were cheering a 1-0 lead for their industrious looking team.

Town began the second half confidently and were two goals to the good before many home fans had taken their seats, courtesy of a stunning Billy Paynter finish from the edge of the box.

The big striker was allowed time and space, and duly turned to let fly with a rasping shot which left 'keeper Higgs with no chance and saw Paynter wheel away to celebrate his 24th of the season with the jubilant away following.

And it only got better for Town fans as Charlie Austin made it three with 55 minutes on the watch. Good work from McGovern on the right set Darby free, and the Liverpool loanee measured an exquisite cross onto the head of Austin, who notched his 17th of the season with a close range header.

The pressure was well and truly on the hosts then, as the once upbeat and encouraging support turned quickly to taunts and barracks.

Simon Grayson brought on Max Gradel and Ben Parker in an effort to increase his side's attacking potency, but beyond speculative long range efforts, the hosts began to look a spent force.

Robert Snodgrass squandered a decent opportunity for the hosts as the match moved into its final 20 minutes, when he shot over from inside the box under pressure from Scott Cuthbert but with the young Scot, fellow centre back Gordon Greer and Jonathan Douglas looking in imperious form at the spine of the side, a place in the top two beckoned for Town.

Veteran striker Paul Dickov was introduced with 15 minutes to go, and despite the obligatory scuffle or two, he failed to inspire his teammates to create their first real chance of a half in which they had looked far from threatening.

As the match moved into its final ten minutes, the atmosphere became as flat as it had been electric in the first period, and Town began to enjoy themselves to the sound of their ecstatic travelling contingent's chants.

The referee's final whistle then blew to give Town a dream result that was richly deserved after a second half performance that was worthy of the automatic promotion place it had earned them.

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    Data provided by Press Association