Leeds United 2 Luton Town 1: Leeds maintain momentum in play-off pursuit

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The Independent Football

Certainly, Saturday's defeat against Leeds United could easily have gone the other way. Luton created three outstanding chances in a goalless first half, ought to have had a penalty for handball and, after Steve Howard's 100th goal for the club, put Leeds under some late pressure until Sol Davis' late red card.

"Everywhere we go, we create chances and play good football," said Newell, with some justification. But then again, can it be mere coincidence that Luton have lost more away games than any other Championship side, including 10 of their last 12? By contrast, Leeds have now amassed 66 points, a total that would be good enough to top both Leagues One and Two.

As is their wont, Leeds started slowly on Saturday but had the individual quality to ensure they capitalised when the chances presented themselves. The tireless Jonathon Douglas, on a season-long loan from Blackburn, and Eddie Lewis supplied the finishes in a five-minute spell after half time.

Thereafter, Leeds defended with the resilience that might be expected from such an experienced rearguard. For one of them in particular, this was a special afternoon as Gary Kelly became only the 10th man to make 500 appearances for the club. Whether he will play in the top division again with his only professional club is yet to be seen. Leeds now trail Sheffield United by eight points and have a game in hand. With an Easter Monday trip to Bramall Lane to come, they could yet claim the second automatic promotion place.

Much more likely, though, is an early May date with the play-offs. And that is a prospect that always seems so much more appealing to sides making a late run into fifth and sixth positions than those for whom it represents a consolation for missing out on the main prize.

Goals: Douglas (49) 1-0; Lewis 2-0 (53); Howard (83) 2-1.

Leeds United (4-2-3-1): Sullivan; Kelly, Butler, Gregan, Crainey; Douglas, Miller; Healy (Bakke, 70), Blake (Moore, 87), Lewis; Hulse. Substitutes not used: Bennett (gk), Einarsson, Griffiths.

Luton Town (4-4-2): Beresford; Edwards, Barnett, Coyne, Davis; Brkovic (Feeney, 63), Foley, Underwood, Morgan (Showunmi, 63); Vine, Howard. Substitutes not used: Brill (gk), Perrett, Holmes.

Referee: K Hill (Hertfordshire).

Booked: Leeds United Douglas; Luton Town Davis. Sent off: Davis.

Man of the match: Douglas.

Attendance: 23,644.