Leeds United returned to winning ways on Wednesday evening with a priceless 2-1 victory over Swansea City at Elland Road courtesy of goals from Pontus Jansson and Jack Harrison.
It was a timely return to form on an evening when Norwich City were thumped 3-1 away at Preston, a result which allowed the Whites to return to the top of the Championship table.
Leeds’ opener was well placed by Jansson following a scrappy pinball moment in the penalty area, but there was plenty of craft and guile about the crucial second.
Luke Ayling, who was making his 100th appearance for the club, sprayed a cross-field ball into Ezgjan Alioski’s path, and the Macedonia international’s perfectly placed cross was guided into the net off the head of Jack Harrison.
A fine return to form for Ayling was slightly marred by a clumsy challenge which allowed Oli McBurnie to half the deficit from the penalty spot, but that did not prevent the supporters from heaping praise on the 27-year-old in the aftermath of proceedings.
Indeed, Ayling posted an emotional message on his Twitter page to express his delight at playing 100 games for Leeds, and the response to the post was overwhelmingly positive.
— Luke Ayling (@lukeayling_8) February 13, 2019
Ayling has taken his fair share of criticism in recent weeks during Leeds’ dip in form, but his critics were nowhere to be seen as the Whites faithful poured their hearts out in response to the post.
On his day there is no question that the full-back is one of Leeds’ most influential players, so Marcelo Bielsa will need both his leadership and his all-action quality to shine through to give the promotion hopefuls the best possible chance of ending their top-flight exile.
Here’s what the Leeds fans had to say in response to Ayling’s tweet:
Top man. We all know you’ve had a tough time since returning from injury but your getting better and better. Absolutely crucial player for us. #MOT
— Luciano (@LUFCLDP1989) February 13, 2019
Well done on acheiving 100 games for LEEDS. But more importantly well played last night. Absolutely outstanding. We’re of the league
— Alan Thompson ?? (@thombo1987) February 14, 2019
— Bainesy (@_bainsey) February 13, 2019
Performance was top but my god that pass was special for our 2nd! Well done Bill
— Christopher (@CM4892) February 13, 2019
One of the best signings we’ve made in the last decade! Congratulations!
— Chris Coulson (@ccoulson82) February 14, 2019
Leeds Legend that’s what you are great performance tonight keep taking them risks
— Jordan (@Jordan91966387) February 13, 2019
You’re an absolute diamond for our club. Best RB we’ve had since Gary Kelly. Long may it continue. You’re Leeds and you know it.
— Andrew Bredesen (@no1brede) February 14, 2019
That pass was world class brother – congrats we luv ya MOT
— JaCk tHe BiScUiT (@jackth3b15cu1t) February 13, 2019
You represent our club with your heart luke. Thank you for all you have given and keep it up. You will go down as a legend when you take us up
— JBwhite32 (@BoockerJayson) February 13, 2019