Dan James' first-half strike ensured Leeds continued their Championship automatic-promotion charge with a 1-0 victory over Stoke at Elland Road.

The hosts took a while to settle into their rhythm but they soon produced an onslaught as James missed a couple before putting his side ahead with his 11th goal of the season.

A battling Stoke side looked the more likely to grab an equaliser but Illan Meslier kept out chances from Lewis Baker, Tyrese Campbell and Josh Laurent in the second period.
Mateo Joseph had Leeds' best chance when he saw one blocked on the line and substitute Ben Pearson was sent off late on for the visitors.

Stoke mustered the first shot on target of the encounter with eight minutes on the clock as a counter-attack ended up at the feet of Laurent outside the box, but he could only roll into the hands of Meslier.

Leeds wanted a penalty when James tracked down Daniel Iversen's loose touch - the Stoke goalkeeper seemingly got the man first but cries for a penalty were waved away by referee Oliver Langford.

Leeds tested Iversen for the first time midway through the first period when he got down well to tip away Patrick Bamford's sharp snapshot.

Leeds started to turn up the heat and had another opportunity as James ran through on goal but fired straight into the midriff of Iversen and behind for a corner.

Stoke were just about hanging on thanks to Iversen, this time James seeing an effort on target turned behind.

Leeds finally had their deserved breakthrough just after the halfway mark.

Georginio Rutter's clever footwork in the middle of the park helped set James away, the Welshman twisted and turned in the box before firing into the back of the net via a deflection.

Stoke came forward with the last attack of the half and Baker decided to let rip from around 25 yards with an effort that needed to be tipped over by Meslier.

Leeds started the second half with less intensity which saw them finish the first period and Stoke began to believe. Baker fancied his chances for a second time from range but Meslier was on hand to palm away.

The Potters came forward once again in search of an equaliser as Campbell fashioned space in the area, but he blasted straight at Meslier.

Leeds were denied a second with a block on the line.

Substitute Joseph wrestled Michael Rose off the ball and rounded Iversen only to see his goalbound shot blocked by Ben Wilmot.

Stoke were reduced to 10 men in the 86th minute when Pearson picked up a second yellow card for stopping Leeds on the counter.

James' one-on-one effort was denied by Iversen again which kept the 10 men of Stoke alive and they could have snatched a last-gasp equaliser but Laurent smashed straight into Meslier with the last kick of the game.