Chris Coleman was given a winning return by his Fulham side as they nudged Leeds closer to relegation.
Coleman was back in the Fulham dug-out after a blood infection and he saw Sean Davis put the home team ahead with a low shot after Steed Malbranque's pass.
Luis Boa Morte had spurned several promising chances before the opener but he headed in a Zat Knight cross to secure the win for Fulham.
Simon Johnson hit the bar late on for Leeds who looked short on belief.
There was little rhythm to the play during a competitive opening to the match and the first threat on goal took 22 minutes to materialise.
Mark Viduka instigated a Leeds move when he found Jermaine Pennant, whose cross was just too high for Alan Smith.
71 mins: Davis puts Fulham ahead
83 mins: Boa Morte's header secures the win
90 mins: Johnson hits the bar
Fulham responded by creating an opening for striker Boa Morte but he shot over under pressure from keeper Paul Robinson after gathering a pull-back.
Fulham defender Ian Pearce blocked a shot by Smith as Leeds looked like getting into their stride.
But the visitors were left to breathe a sigh of relief when Boa Morte had the best chance of an uninspiring opening half four minutes before the break.
The Portuguese international raced onto Legwinski's long ball upfield only to
scuff a weak shot straight at Robinson.
Edwin van der Sar scrambled an effort by Domi away before the Leeds keeper again came to his side's rescue shortly after the interval when he made a brave double save from Pembridge.
Hayles missed a header from point-blank range on the hour mark as the game picked up pace in the second half.
Leeds had to produce some desperate defending to block and clear from two Boa Morte shots in quick succession before Fulham finally took one of their chance.
Malbranque found Davis and he took two quick touches before giving Robinson no chance with a low shot into the corner.
Malbranque volleyed over as Fulham pressed for a second which came as Boa Morte headed in a Knight cross.
Johnson hit the bar for Leeds late on but they failed to retrieve the deficit and slipped nearer the relegation trapdoor.
Fulham: Van der Sar, Volz, Knight, Pearce, Green, Malbranque,
Legwinski, Pembridge, Sean Davis, Boa Morte, Hayles (McBride 86). Subs Not Used: Crossley, Inamoto, Djetou, Petta.
Leeds: Robinson, Kelly, Caldwell, Matteo, Domi, Pennant, McPhail, Seth Johnson, Milner (Simon Johnson 76), Smith, Viduka. Subs Not Used: Carson, Harte, Olembe, Richardson.
Referee: S Dunn (Gloucestershire)