Tyler Roberts stepped off the bench to score a brace in Leeds United’s empathic 4-0 victory at Hull City this afternoon, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side putting in a classy and clinical display at the KCOM Stadium.
Leeds took the lead inside five minutes through a deflected Luke Ayling strike, with Pablo Hernandez doubling their advantage shortly after half-time. Roberts would then put Grant McCann’s side to the sword in the final 10 minutes, scoring twice from the bench to extend Hull’s poor run of form.
There was big support for absent goalkeeper Kiko Casilla from the following Leeds fans in the early minutes; the Spaniard has been stung with an eight-game suspension after the racism charge against him was proven last night.
His replacement was Illan Meslier, and despite a spell of early Hull pressure putting his distribution to the test, it was Leeds landing the first blow within five minutes.
Hernandez picked up the ball on the left side and sprayed a wonderful pass the way of Ayling; the right-back found himself in acres of space and under limited pressure, with his shot taking a deflection that looped into the bottom corner of George Long’s goal.
Bielsa’s side were afforded time and space by the Tigers in the opening exchanges, with Hernandez rattling the crossbar of Long moments later as Leeds looked to draw blood once more.
McCann will have been pleased to see his side grow into the game as the half-hour approached, but Hull were failing to properly test Leeds’ young goalkeeper, with Kevin Stewart only calling him into action with a looped effort.
Stewart was on the end of another chance after the lively Martin Samuelsen robbed Kalvin Phillips of the ball, but the midfielder’s shot was harmlessly wide.
Leeds were carrying a threat on the break, but like the home side, were struggling to really force Long into any saves, with both teams lacking real quality in the final third as the half ticked along.
George Honeyman looked to add some bite to the Hull performance in the early seconds after half-time, with Sean McLoughlin heading the midfielder’s corner at Meslier.
That tame concession of a chance sparked Leeds into life, however, and Bielsa’s side were doubling their lead in the next passage of play.
Jack Harrison found space to cross on the left, with his delivery finding Helder Costa at the back post; the winger showed composure to slip Hernandez into space, with the Spaniard making no mistake as he fired beyond Long.
McCann’s side’s concession at the start of each half had cost them and working a way back into the game from here was a big ask; they are low on confidence and facing a crippling injury list, which has thrust them into the Championship’s basement battle.
Plus, Leeds were in the mood for more; Costa stung the palms of Long, before the Hull goalkeeper was forced to stretch to keep out Mateusz Klich’s curling shot. Harrison then rattled a shot back off the framework after Leeds worked the resulting corner to the edge of the area.
Meslier was called into action to tip over his crossbar and then collect a dangerous Stewart cross, but Leeds were looking threatening on every occasion they broke into Hull territory.
Norbert Balogh stepped off the bench to look to spark Hull’s attack into life, with the striker rattling a shot off the outside of Meslier’s post on 68 minutes.
The nature of the second-half suggested that Leeds would come strong following that warning, which they did, with Harrison and Costa both forcing good saves from Long.
Again, Long was keeping Leeds at bay when Harrison drifted in-behind Robbie McKenzie, with Hull forced to rally defensively to withstand an onslaught from the away side.
McCann’s goalkeeper could do nothing to deny Leeds a third on 81 minutes, though, with Roberts – on to replace Patrick Bamford – rounding off an impressive move by emphatically burying beyond the Hull stopper.
Bielsa had opted to take a look at Roberts in the No.9 role with Leeds cruising at 0-2, with the Welsh international doing his prospects for a starting berth no harm when he made it four minutes later.
Klich was the provider again, with his teasing cross met by Roberts, who looped a header back across the helpless Long; a classy finish to complete the scoring.
It has been a turbulent 24 hours for Leeds, but a late change in the goalkeeping department hasn’t knocked them out of their stride, with this a fourth consecutive victory.
And, on this evidence, it doesn’t matter what is thrown at Leeds, with Bielsa’s side delivering a big statement of intent to the rest of the division.
Full-time: Hull City 0-4 Leeds United.