Two minutes and 19 seconds was all it took Fraizer Campbell to make his mark as a Cardiff City player, as the January recruit from Sunderland stepped off the bench to score the only goal at Elland Road.
Campbell's decisive 64th-minute intervention might have meant mixed feelings for the striker's father Keith, a Leeds United fan, but it left his new manager, Malky Mackay, delighted with his new player. "He has come in and immediately got right in the middle of the group and bought into the team ethic," the Cardiff manager said. "He has not played a lot of football recently but as you saw today, the flesh was weak but the mind is willing."
Campbell's strike was enough to lift Cardiff 10 points clear of Leicester and Hull at the Championship's summit, and another step closer to the promised land of the Premier League. Their league stats are certainly impressive: this was their 11th victory in 14 outings, fifth in a row on their travels, and fifth clean sheet in seven.
"I am very happy with the way the team are working in terms of not allowing opponents a goal," Mackay said.
For Leeds, their first home league defeat since November brought them back to earth with a thud, six days after their FA Cup win over Tottenham here. There were 10,000 fewer in the ground, and those who did turn up saw a game of few opportunities.
Leeds had the best opening of the first half but the unmarked Ross Barkley volleyed straight at the Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall, after Sam Byram had flicked on El Hadji Diouf's free-kick to the back post. "He'll score it 20 times out of 20 tonight in bed," a frustrated Neil Warnock said.
Marshall also did well to keep out a header by Tom Lees in the second half when Cardiff also got away with a handball in the penalty area from their captain Mark Hudson.
"From our position on the camera we've got, he deliberately handles it with his right arm," Warnock complained, though his own team had got the benefit of the marginal offside call that saw a Craig Bellamy goal ruled out in the first half.
Bellamy was involved in the goal that did count, picking up a weak clearance by Byram, Leeds' young full-back, and drilling it towards goal where the lurking Campbell struck. "He is someone who knows where the goal is," said Mackay, who now has one more reason to believe in his side's promotion possibilities.
Leeds (4-4-2): Kenny; Byram, Peltier, Lees, White; Barkley, Austin, Brown, Varney; Diouf (Habibou, 72), McCormack.
Cardiff (4-4-2): Marshall; Connolly, Turner, Hudson, Taylor; Conway (Helguson, 79), Whittingham, Gunnarsson, Bo-Kyung (Campbell, 61); Smith, Bellamy.
Referee Mike Dean.Reuse content