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Match report: Leeds United 4, Peterborough 1
UNLIKELY hero Billy Paynter finally helped deliver Neil Warnock’s first home win as Leeds United manager at the sixth time of asking.
With their Championship play-off hopes gone, Warnock fielded an experimental line-up against Peterborough, including a first start of the season for the big front man who had only scored once since joining Leeds in the summer of 2010.
The former Swindon forward responded with a couple of goals as the Whites ended a run of three successive 2-0 defeats.
His first, an equaliser on the stroke of half-time, got Leeds back into a game which, yet again, was threatening to run away from them on home soil.
A comedy of errors at the back let in Posh’s Joe Newell for his first career goal on 38 minutes but Paynter was gifted a tap-in when goalkeeper Paul Jones dropped the ball at the striker’s feet.
A Ross McCormack double inside two minutes of the second half put Leeds out of sight as the visitors’ defence crumbled. The Scottish international put Leeds ahead from close range then put the finishing touch to a slick counter-attack for his 18th League goal of the season.
Elland Road’s lowest Championship crowd of the season were enjoying a rare comfortable home win with the gloss provided by Paynter when he clinically swept home right-back Tom Lees’ cross on 73 minutes.
Paynter’s joy was in sharp contrast to team-mate Robbie Rogers, who was given his first Leeds start. The American, who had looked lively in midfield, hobbled off with an ankle injury after 18 minutes.
Despite the victory, the Leeds boss is keeping his feet on the ground and will make major surgery to the squad in the summer.
“I don’t get carried away. Nothing has changed my opinion on what I need,” said Warnock, whose side travel to Blackpool tomorrow night.
Leeds: Lonergan, Lees, Bromby, O’Dea, Taylor (Robinson HT), Snodgrass, Pugh, Clayton, Rogers (Webber 19), McCormack, Paynter (Becchio 89).
Subs (not used): Bruce, Nunez.
Peterborough: Jones, Alcock, Brisley, Zakuani (Little 53), Rowe, Newell, McCann (Tomlin 61), Frecklington, Boyd, Taylor, Barnett (Ball 75).
Subs (not used): Lewis, Kearns.
Referee: David Phillips (West Sussex).