Victory saw Leeds move into fourth place in the second tier with their fifth win in six Championship matches.
Victory saw Leeds move into fourth place in the second tier with their fifth win in six Championship matches under former Swansea boss Garry Monk.
It is their highest position since being taken over by controversial Italian owner Massimo Cellino in 2014 and they look set to be realistic contenders for the first time in years for a return to the Premier League.
Villa, who installed Bruce after they sacked Roberto di Matteo earlier this season, are 15th on 25 points, 15 off leaders Newcastle.
Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez may not have enjoyed the 2-1 defeat at the hands of Nottingham Forest on Friday but Saturday was not a bad day at all as all their closest rivals failed to take advantage.
Brighton moved to within a point of the Magpies but they would have hoped for more from a trip to lowly Cardiff than a 0-0 draw and ending the game with 10 men as defender Gaetan Bong was sent off in second-half injury time.
"Yes, there is a bit of disappointment. We played against a resilient Cardiff side who made it difficult for us. We could not break them down," said Brighton manager Chris Hughton, whose side play Leeds next Friday.
"I'd say over the 90 minutes, we were the better side and the onus was on us to break down a tough defence."
Hughton's side at least left with a point -- they are now unbeaten in 13 games -- whereas there were heavy defeats for third and fourth-placed Birmingham and Reading respectively.
Birmingham suffered a 3-0 reverse at home to Barnsley whilst 10-man Reading went down to a 5-0 hammering away at Fulham, bringing to a juddering halt their four-match winning run.
Chris Martin scored two of the Cottagers' goals whose task eased considerably when Danny Williams was red-carded for fighting with Norwegian international Stefan Johansen -- he had the last laugh as well as he also got on the scoresheet.
There was a bizarre climax to Sheffield Wednesday's ill-tempered 2-1 victory over Preston.
Preston had battled their way back into the game with a late goal to halve the deficit -- Wednesday's Fernando Forestieri was sent off in the 65th minute for an off the ball incident -- but then saw two of their players, Jermaine Beckford and goalscorer Eoin Doyle, also red-carded in stoppage time for fighting.
Their behaviour was classified as "childish" by a furious Preston manager Simon Grayson who promised they would face disciplinary action.
"In 30 years of being a footballer, player or manager, I've never seen an incident like that between two team-mates," said Grayson.
"Absolute childish behaviour from the pair of them has cost us ultimately a point out of this game, potentially three.
"They've let a lot of people down. Those players will be reprimanded regardless."