Leeds United 3 Derby County 1

Hulse's hat-trick lights up the empty spaces of Elland Road

Derby County had only a late own goal by Sean Gregan to show for long spells of control that had many of the 18,353 crowd, Leeds' lowest in 16 years, calling for the final whistle long before the end.

A combination of factors - Ken Bates' ticket prices, Leeds' humdrum home form, torrential rain and live Champions' League action on TV - ensured there were more empty seats than fans. Even Hulse's ruthless finishing could not gloss over the sense of decline.

The other crucial difference was that Neil Sullivan exuded stability and agility in Leeds' goal, whereas Lee Camp was at fault for Hulse's second and virtually gift-wrapped the third. Camp's failings were all the more damaging because Derby, driven on by former Leeds midfielder Seth Johnson, had opened so well.

Morten Bisgaard sent a free-kick inches wide, while Sullivan did well to parry Paul Peschisolido's shot after Tommy Smith sent him clear. Leeds' fortunes seemed to deteriorate when Richard Cresswell went off nursing a leg injury. In the event, the introduction of Robbie Blake galvanised Leeds - and especially his £1.1m strike partner.

Hulse's benefit night began in the 32nd minute when he redirected Blake's miscued shot past Camp. It continued four minutes later as he stole in front of the Derby keeper to glance in Eddie Lewis' cross. Two minutes from the break, after Camp handled Lewis's 35-yard drive like a greasy balloon, Hulse volleyed the loose ball high into the net.

The lively Blake was close to making it 4-0 after the interval, only for Camp to make partial amends with a flying save from his free-kick. Phil Brown, the Derby manager, had seen enough and made a triple substitution which had the effect of pushing Leeds back again.

His Leeds counterpart, Kevin Blackwell, had been leavinginstructions to his coach, John Carver. The sight of Sullivan making a desperate save from Mounir Hamdaoui's header brought him pointing and shouting into the technical area.

Gregan, under pressure from Michael Johnson after Bisgaard's corner, scored his second own goal in three home matches with 17 minutes left, but Leeds held out with few alarms.

Leeds United (4-4-2): Sullivan; Kelly, Butler, Gregan, Crainey (Kilgallon, 85); Richardson, Douglas, Derry, Lewis; Hulse (Moore, 77), Cresswell (Blake, 25). Substitutes not used: Bennett (gk), Einarsson.

Derby County (4-4-2): Camp; Kenna, Davies, M Johnson, Whittingham; Bisgaard, Fadiga (Bolder, 51), S Johnson, Smith (El Hamdaoui, 51); John (Holdsworth, 51), Peschisolido. Substitutes not used: Poole (gk), Tudgay.

Referee: G Salisbury (Lancashire).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory