With a game in hand on their Yorkshire rivals, the meeting between the two sides at Bramall Lane on Easter Monday could yet prove decisive.
Jonathan Douglas, on loan from Blackburn, and Eddie Lewis scored the Leeds goals early in the second half but it might have been a different story had Luton, who have lost 10 of their last 12 away games, not squandered a series of excellent early chances.
A strong penalty claim for handball against Sean Gregan, Steve Howard's header and some intense late pressure were not enough to salvage a point. To cap it all, Sol Davis earned a red card in injury time. "I'm pleased with how we played but we've been done by two goals in five minutes at the start of the second half," said Mike Newell, the Luton manager. "It was a definite handball - it was just a question of whether it was one hand or two."
Early on, Chris Coyne's shot from eight yards was deflected just wide by Leeds' Gary Kelly. Then Kevin Foley, playing out of position in midfield, headed inexplicably over from six yards, while Ahmet Brkovic's shot whistled just past the post.
The industrious Douglas put Leeds ahead, bursting through midfield and regaining possession after a neat interchange between Rob Hulse and Robbie Blake before cutting inside to shoot past Marlon Beresford. Hulse's low cross was turned in from close range by Lewis to double the lead.
Then came Luton's penalty claim - even Kevin Blackwell, the Leeds manager, admitted they were hard done by - before Howard headed home Paul Underwood's cross. "We had to get a good result today to keep the pressure on," said Blackwell.Reuse content