LEEDS United saw their seven-match unbeaten run ended by a stunning Leroy Lita strike as they lost 1-0 to Birmingham City at Elland Road.
After recent poor performances, but a win and two draws in their last three matches in the Npower Championship, it was a different story as United played much better only to fail to find the net for the first time this season as nothing quite broke for them in the box.
They looked set for another draw until a 76th minute Birmingham counter attack saw space worked for striker Lita and he lashed a strike from all of 25 yards past home keeper Paddy Kenny
The visitors almost added another goal late on when Marlon King’s powerful strike hit the crossbar, but they were penned in for much of the second half and only good defending allowed them to hold out.
England goalkeeper Jack Butland came to Birmingham’s rescue when he parried an El Hadji Diouf header and grasped the ball at the second attempt after it bounced kindly for him. Other chances came and went as Rodolph Austin could only get a weak header from a Diouf corner, Jason Pearce headed another corner wide and Austin shot over.
Another Diouf effort looked to be heading for goal only for City defender Curtis Davies to get a great block in.
The first half had been mostly dull, although Birmingham started well with Steven Caldwell sending a volley over in the first minute and Davies heading a good chance wide from a Wade Elliott free-kick.
Leeds gradually came into the contest and after Luciano Becchio headed a Diouf free-kick over they came close through an Austin blockbuster that Butland kept out with his legs.
Leeds United 0
Birmingham City 1
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Leeds: Kenny, Lees (White 83), Peltier, Pearce, Pugh, Byram, Austin, Norris (Hall 83), Tonge, Diouf, Becchio.
Birmingham: Butland, Robinson, Caldwell, Davies, Murphy, Redmond (Burke 67), Mullins, Morrison, Elliott, Lita, King (Spector 90).
Referee: Graham Salisbury.