A brace from Watford striker Chris Iwelumo was enough to defeat Leeds and extend the Hornets' undefeated run to seven matches.
The 33-year-old put his side ahead on five minutes, placing Troy Deeney's through-ball past Andy Lonergan.
He then added a decisive second late on, tapping in Deeney's blocked shot.
Leeds defender Paul Connolly picked up a second yellow card in injury-time as United failed to win for the fourth successive match at Elland Road.
Iwelumo had only scored once for Watford prior to the match, but he wasted no time doubling his account - finishing off a simple chance after Deeney had broken through the home defence.
Both goalkeepers were called upon frequently in the match, Lonergan twice denied Deeney as the half progressed while Tomasz Kuszczak reacted sharply to keep out Robert Snodgrass at the other end.
Kuszczak was in the action again early in the second-half, pulling off a superb double save to first block Alex Bruce's header then deny Snodgrass on the rebound.
Substitute Ramon Nunez then curled a shot wide as Leeds pressed for an equaliser.
But it was Watford who finished the match stronger, Deeney breaking free on the left and forcing a save from Lonergan.
And Iwelumo sealed victory when he met a loose ball on the half-volley to wrap up three points and move Watford into the top half for the first time this season.
Leeds manager Neil Warnock: "I think we are miles away from where we should be.
"I couldn't see us scoring in a brothel today. Watford are a streetwise team and we have been mugged in every department. We were so naive.
"It showed why I got the job. A major overhaul is needed and I don't think the 7-3 defeat against Forest was as bad as this performance."
Watford boss Sean Dyche: "Big Chris [Iwelumo] has been excellent all season.
"He has been questioned all his career so it is not a problem to him. When he is ready to deliver he is a real handful.
"I am more than happy with winning 2-0 at Leeds. It was a very good, thorough performance."
"There are some big clubs fighting for play-off places but we will see what comes."
- 01 Lonergan
- 02 Connolly Dismissed after an earlier booking
- 04 Bruce
- 22 Lees
- 28 White (Webber - 45' )
- 33 Robinson
- 08 Brown
- 15 Clayton (Nunez - 68' )
- 10 Becchio Booked (Forssell - 87' )
- 23 Snodgrass
- 44 McCormack
- 26 Bromby
- 20 Nunez
- 29 Thompson
- 18 Forssell
- 25 Webber
- 35 Kuszczak
- 03 Dickinson
- 05 Taylor
- 12 Doyley
- 33 Nosworthy
- 04 Eustace
- 07 Yeates (Forsyth - 73' )
- 22 Murray
- 32 Hogg
- 09 Deeney
- 10 Iwelumo
- 01 Loach
- 17 Bennett
- 11 Forsyth
- 19 Buaben
- 25 Garner
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee signals the end of the game.90:00 +3:58
Troy Deeney takes a shot. Alex Bruce gets a block in.90:00 +2:39
Carl Dickinson restarts play with the free kick.90:00 +2:39 Dismissal
Dismissal Paul Connolly shown a red card for second bookable offence.90:00 +2:27
Foul by Paul Connolly on Craig Forsyth, free kick awarded.90:00 +1:30
Sean Murray handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Free kick taken by Robert Snodgrass.90:00 +0:41
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Sean Murray by Ross McCormack. Sean Murray restarts play with the free kick.89:08
Troy Deeney takes a shot. Andy Lonergan makes a save.88:13
Troy Deeney provided the assist for the goal.88:13 Goal scored
Goal! - Chris Iwelumo - Leeds 0 - 2 Watford Goal scored by Chris Iwelumo from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Leeds 0-2 Watford.86:12 Substitution
Substitution Luciano Becchio leaves the field to be replaced by Mikael Forssell.85:19
Unfair challenge on Sean Murray by Michael Brown results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Nyron Nosworthy.83:15
Sean Murray challenges Ramon Nunez unfairly and gives away a free kick. Paul Robinson takes the free kick.81:09
Troy Deeney takes a shot. Andy Lonergan makes a brilliant save.79:33
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Chris Iwelumo by Tom Lees. Carl Dickinson restarts play with the free kick.76:41
Tom Lees produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes wide left of the goal.76:24
Short corner worked by Ross McCormack.72:06 Substitution
Substitution Craig Forsyth on for Mark Yeates.71:34
Alex Bruce has a headed effort from close range and clears the bar.70:58
Foul by John Eustace on Paul Connolly, free kick awarded. Paul Robinson restarts play with the free kick.
Foul by Robert Snodgrass on John Eustace, free kick awarded. Carl Dickinson delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from left channel.68:54
Ramon Nunez produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide right of the target.67:15
Free kick taken by Andy Lonergan.67:15 Substitution
Substitution (Leeds) makes a substitution, with Ramon Nunez coming on for Adam Clayton.67:15
Troy Deeney is ruled offside.62:20
Strike on goal comes in from Mark Yeates from the free kick.62:20 Booking
Booking Paul Connolly receives a caution for dissent.62:02
Paul Robinson challenges Chris Iwelumo unfairly and gives away a free kick.60:19
Jonathan Hogg takes a shot. Comfortable save by Andy Lonergan.59:12
Corner taken by Mark Yeates from the right by-line, Andy Lonergan makes a comfortable save.57:29
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Ross McCormack from the left by-line, clearance made by Carl Dickinson.56:38
Effort from inside the area by Robert Snodgrass misses to the left of the target.56:19
Robert Snodgrass takes a shot. Save made by Tomasz Kuszczak.56:05
Alex Bruce takes a shot. Save made by Tomasz Kuszczak.55:18
Chris Iwelumo concedes a free kick for a foul on Paul Connolly. Adam Clayton crosses the ball in from the free kick.53:38
The referee penalises Adam Clayton for handball. Free kick taken by Tomasz Kuszczak.52:32
Chris Iwelumo takes a shot. Save by Andy Lonergan.50:09
Free kick awarded for a foul by Jonathan Hogg on Paul Connolly. Free kick taken by Paul Connolly.49:07
Foul by Robert Snodgrass on John Eustace, free kick awarded. Carl Dickinson takes the direct free kick.48:09
Robert Snodgrass takes a shot. Tomasz Kuszczak makes a comfortable save.47:09
Luciano Becchio gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on John Eustace. Tomasz Kuszczak restarts play with the free kick.45:01
The second half begins.45:00 +4:14 Half time
Half Time The referee blows for half time.45:00 +3:48
Troy Deeney takes a shot. Save by Andy Lonergan.45:00 +1:55
Foul by John Eustace on Adam Clayton, free kick awarded. Andy Lonergan takes the free kick.45:00 +0:43
Inswinging corner taken by Robert Snodgrass from the right by-line.45:00 +0:21
Robert Snodgrass takes a shot. Save by Tomasz Kuszczak.45:00 Substitution
Substitution Danny Webber comes on in place of Aidan White.44:07
Foul by Adam Clayton on John Eustace, free kick awarded. Tomasz Kuszczak restarts play with the free kick.38:19
Free kick awarded for a foul by Carl Dickinson on Aidan White. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Robert Snodgrass, Martin Taylor makes a clearance.32:24
Outswinging corner taken by Robert Snodgrass from the left by-line, Jonathan Hogg manages to make a clearance.30:10
Free kick awarded for a foul by Robert Snodgrass on Jonathan Hogg. Free kick crossed right-footed by Mark Yeates, Tom Lees makes a clearance.29:30
Ross McCormack has shot on goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.25:41
Corner taken left-footed by Robert Snodgrass, Chris Iwelumo manages to make a clearance.24:25
Troy Deeney is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Strike comes in from Ross McCormack from the free kick, blocked by Nyron Nosworthy.19:19
Outswinging corner taken by Mark Yeates from the right by-line, Paul Connolly makes a clearance.19:05
Troy Deeney takes a shot. Andy Lonergan makes a save.17:08
A cross is delivered by Ross McCormack, Alex Bruce produces a header from inside the area that goes over the crossbar.17:08 Booking
Booking Luciano Becchio goes into the book.16:49
Foul by John Eustace on Luciano Becchio, free kick awarded.15:21
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on John Eustace by Luciano Becchio. Direct free kick taken by Tomasz Kuszczak.10:56
Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Robert Snodgrass, Alex Bruce has a header from close in and clears the crossbar.9:54
Mark Yeates concedes a free kick for a foul on Aidan White. Paul Robinson takes the direct free kick.8:19
Mark Yeates gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Paul Robinson. Paul Robinson restarts play with the free kick.5:00
Troy Deeney provided the assist for the goal.5:00 Goal scored
Goal! - Chris Iwelumo - Leeds 0 - 1 Watford Chris Iwelumo scores a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Leeds 0-1 Watford.3:48
Shot by Chris Iwelumo from inside the six-yard box clear the bar.0:43
Luciano Becchio challenges John Eustace unfairly and gives away a free kick. Tomasz Kuszczak takes the direct free kick.0:00
The referee gets the match started.
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