A last gasp penalty save from Leeds stopper Bailey Peacock-Farrell denied the Royals a point they deserved at the end of a very closely contested affair at Elland Road.
- Jaakkola saves brilliantly to deby Roofe twice early in the second half.
- Dallas passes the ball home from close range on the hour to make it 1-0.
- Peacock-Farrell saves McNulty's late penalty kick to deny the Royals a point.
Paul Clement made four changes to the eleven that earned a point at Wigan at the weekend, starting 18-year-old Danny Loader for the first time in league competition. Leandro Bacuna, Tiago Ilori and Andy Yiadom also returned to the starting line-up.
Leeds had the early possession and carved out an early opportunity when a cross came across the box to Hernandez in space on the right side of the box. His cross was met by the head of Douglas but his effort skidded harmlessly wide.
Reading soon worked an opportunity of their own with Andy Yiadom skipping past his man and providing an early cross for Meite to attack. Peacock-Farrell was off his line to punch it clear but before Loader could take aim, play was stopped for an offside decision against the Ivorian.
With 11 minutes played, Loader won a free kick on the right side and Bacuna surprised everyone by going for goal. Peacock-Farrel scampered back and did enough to tip it over the crossbar. Meite headed over from the resultant corner.
A neat one two down the right allowed Klich to cross into the Royals' box and Roofe hooked a volley goalwards only to see it cannon off the blocking body of Tiago Ilori. And midway through the first half, Douglas' inswinging cross was glanced wide by Roofe.
The Royals were playing some nice stuff though and Yiadom raced onto a one two to produce a superb first time cross into the middle. Meite was close to connecting but it was cleared out as far as Loader, who drilled a shot goalwards. It hit Meite before the diving keeper could be tested though.
Next, another nice exchance down the right flank saw Kelly cross low into the area. The ball bobbled freee to Gunter who drove low at goal, but the shot was blocked by Phillips.
Roofe's deflected shot looked certain to be turned home by Alioski with ten minutes of the half remaining but a sprawling Jaakkola saved well ahead of the odffside flag being raised against the Leeds man.
As the half neared an end, our Academy shone. First Loader beat his man with a nice piece of skill to cross from the right, but Peacock-Farrell plucked the ball out of the air. Then Andy Rinomhota won the ball back in midfield and embarked on a fine run forward that almost earned him a shooting opportunity - but a well-timed slide cut his run short.
In the last minute of the 45, appeals for a penalty from Leeds fans were cut short by referee Mike Dean who booked Alioski for diving in anticipation of contact inside the Royals box. And a very well-contested first half ended goalless.
Half-time | Leeds 0-0 Reading
Marcelo Bielsa made a double substitution at the break, bringing on Samuel Saiz and Jack Clarke. And Saiz nearly scored with his first touch, connecting sweetly with a volley that cannoned off the body of Yiadom and wide to the Royals' relief.
The Leeds keeper had to cling onto a low Gunter cross with Meite and Bacuna loitering looking for the scraps had he spilled it. But Saiz was starting to orchstrate proceedings at the other end, dinking a cross into the box which the Royals rallied together to clear.
It took a fantastic save from Jaakkola to deny Roofe the opener ten minutes into the second half - a nice Douglas cross floated over a backtracking Moore and landed perfectly on Roofe's head, but his downward header was clawed away well by the Finn.
Pressure was building and it told on the hour when Leeds took the lead. Douglas' low cross from the left wasn't cleared and although Roofe was twice denied from close range, the ball fell loose to Dallas who tapped home from close range to make it 1-0.
Reading nearly responded when Yiadom picked out McCleary in midfield. He fed the overlapping Gunter down the left and a first time cross to the back post was met on the volley by a stretching Loader who turned it goalwards but not with enough power to cause the keeper too much trouble.
Reading kept pushing and McCleary, Sims and McNulty were brought on to try and find an equaliser. But Saiz's cut back for Hernandez almost gave the hosts a second - his scuffed shot was dragged across goal and well wide in the end.
Dallas had to hoof an uncleared free kick away from deep inside his own area as the Royals kept hunting for a goal. And it nearly came with 7 minutes remaining when McCleary strode through midfield with purpose and threaded a nice ball between defenders that McNulty got on the end of only for Peacock-Farrell to slide out and gather into his body at the second attempt.
Sims did brilliantly to turn away from trouble in midfield and find Bacuna in space down the right, but excellent defensive work from the home side saw him dispossessed before he could pull the trigger.
Jaakkola saved instinctively from Roofe as gaps began to open at the back for Reading as they pressed for a leveller.
And in the 89th minute. They got that opportunity. Bacuna turned on a sixpence in midfield and fed Sims down the right. He scampered into the box and tumbled under pressure from Douglas. Referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot and Reading had a penalty. But a fine save from Peacock-Farrell denied McNulty from the spot and Elland Road erupted in relief.
Leeds were hanging on for three minutes of injury time and hang on they did. The result looked harsh on a Royals outfit who could so easily have come away with a point.
Full-time | Leeds 1-0 Reading
Leeds United: Peacock-Farrell, Douglas, Forshaw, Cooper (c), Roofe, Alioski (Saiz HT), Dallas, Hernandez, Phillips, Baker (Clarke HT), Klich (Shackleton 73).
Subs: Huffer, Roberts, Harrison, Halme.
Yellow: Alioski, Douglas
Goals: Dallas 60
Reading: Jaakkola, Gunter, Yiadom, Ilori, Moore (c), Rinomhota, Kelly (McNulty 77), Swift (McCleary 61), Bacuna, Loader, Meite (Sims 70).
Subs: Walker, Blackett, O'Shea, Aluko.
Yellow: McCleary, Bacuna