LEEDS United emerged from a stiff test of their Championship promotion credentials with a rip-roaring 3-2 victory against in-form Middlesbrough.

Both sides went into the game having collected 22 points from the last ten games but it was the Whites who improved those stats in an Elland Road thriller.

They made it seven home wins on the bounce but could rarely relax even when Boro were reduced to ten men after 63 minutes.

All the goals came in the first-half as the sides traded blows like two heavyweight boxers.

Boro landed the first punch after three minutes, Ivory Coast forward Emmanuel Latte Lath drifting around Archie Gray before shooting past Illan Meslier at his near post.

Just as they had done against Swansea in midweek, Leeds levelled within a couple of minutes of conceding so early, Dan James rising above two defenders to head the equaliser.

Gray, having recovered from that shaky opening to have an outstanding game, got forward and his deflected seventh-minute cross enabled Crysensio Summerville to launch himself past Anfernee Dijksteel and head beyond goalkeeper Seny Dieng.

Boro boss Michael Carrick cannot have been happy that his defence had conceded headed goals to two of the smallest players on the pitch.

Middlesbrough, prompted by Daniel Barlaser, continued to cause Leeds problems as chances came and went for both sides but it was Leeds who increased their lead on 38 minutes.

Seconds after coming on, substitute Matt Clarke brought down Georginio Rutter in the box and Joel Piroe joined Summerville on eight league goals by converting the spot-kick.

United were in control of the scoreline but their defenders were still being sucked out of position, enabling Boro to break. From one counter they forced a corner just before half-time which Latte Lath headed in.

It may have been the end of the scoring but not the action. Rutter missed a glorious chance and Dieng denied the dangerous Summerville before Dijksteel added his name to a long list of those to see red in this fixture.

His lunge of James earned a second yellow but even with a man light the Teessiders still looked capable of snatching a goal.

They almost got it when a cross deflected off Pascal Struijk on to a post, Joe Rodon producing a brave block to deny Morgan Rogers the equaliser. 

Despite that escape, Leeds deserved their win to stay in third place behind Leicester and Ipswich.

Leeds manager Daniel Farke said: “It was a wild game in the first half and probably every football fan must have enjoyed this game. 

“I loved what we did but as a manager I liked the second half when we calmed everything down and didn’t play with any mistakes – we missed a bit to bury the game, we had just one mistake when we gave a counter attack.”