Leeds United pay the penalty after Mowatt double

Alex Mowatt.
Alex Mowatt.
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Alex Mowatt’s spectacular double was not enough as Leeds United gave away two gift goals to Charlton to spoil Neil Redfearn’s big night at Elland Road.

United looked on course to give lifelong Leeds fan Redfearn a win on his first home game since taking over as full-time head coach when they led twice through two sweet strikes by Mowatt, but ended up settling for a point on another night of frustration.

Defensive and goalkeeping errors led to Charlton’s first equaliser and Guiseppe Bellusci conceded a penalty for the second when referee Graham Salisbury was the only person in the ground to spot an offence in a crowded goalmouth by the Italian defender - and the game ended in a 2-2 draw.

There was little sign of the action to come in a first half in which both teams looked short of quality and goalmouth action was at a premium.

With both teams adopting diamond formations they were able to get round the back of each other’s defences, but a lack of a quality delivery from there blighted a first half that rarely threatened to be anything other than goalless.

Leeds did manage one shot on target when Mirco Antenucci’s deflected shot went straight into the arms of Charlton goalkeeper Stephen Henderson while Neil Warnock had to clear off the line at the other end to deny Andre Bikey after home keeper Marco Silvestri came out for a corner and missed the ball.

The Whites, with Brazilian Adryan back in the side after injury,started well enough with Souleymane Doukara deflecting a smart low cross by Tomasso Bianchi wide.

But they were largely restricted to efforts from outside the box with one by Mowatt going just over and another by Antenucci failing to trouble Henderson.

Antenucci also got in behind the visiting defence only to fire a shot from a difficult angle into the side netting.

The second half was only four minutes old, however, when Leeds took the lead as Mowatt found the top corner of the net with a great shot from the edge of the box after he had appeared to have missed his chance when initially mis-controlling the ball following good work down the left by captain for the night Stephen Warnock and Adryan.

Charlton looked to hit back with Callum Harriott shooting over while Antenucci had two bites at a shot in the opposing box with his first effort blocked and his second going wide.

Just after the hour mark Charlton equalised with a goal out of the blue as Bellusci failed to clear an innocuous looking cross then Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s shot from a tight angle squirmed under Silvestri.

The Leeds response was good and after Doukara and Adryan had efforts blocked they made it 2-1 as Mowatt struck again with an almost action replay of his earlier goal.

They looked in control now with Antenucci going close with a near post shot following a strong run and low cross by Doukara and also shooting straight at Henderson from the edge of the box.

But Charlton were not done. After Bikey was allowed a free header from one corner only to send the ball straight to Silvestri they got a second equaliser from another corner. Bellusci was adjudged to have held Tal Ben Haim and Gudmundsson put away the resulting spot kick.

The closing stages were all United as their opponents went down to 10 men with Rhoys Wiggins limping off after they had made all three substitutions.

But Charlton held on for their fortunate point with Sam Byram seeing a looping volley tipped over, Antenucci’s shot in a crowded being comfortably saved by Henderson and Lewis Cook’s shot from the edge of the box flashing narrowly wide.

Redfearn refused to be downbeat despite the result making it eight games without a win for Leeds.

He said: “We’ll go on to Saturday and I want the same sort of performance.

“If we keep working hard, our luck will change.

“These players are going to get dragged through it; they’re going to work hard.

“The harder we work the luckier we will get.

“It’s time for a win but we have to keep going down these lines. We are a wounded animal at the minute but I won’t let them rest. I will make them better.”

On the penalty that handed Charlton their point, he added: “What I would say is this; referees have to be more consistent.

“There are thousands of decisions like that in the Football League every weekend. I would say to the Football League they need to be more consistent. You can’t isolate one incident and give it, because it looks unfair.

“It looked like they were both at it. And that’s frustrating because we deserved to win.

“That’s taking nothing away from Charlton but we looked more like ourselves tonight, more like in my first caretaker spell.”

Match facts

Leeds United 2

(Mowatt 49, 67)

Charlton Athletic 2

(Gudmundsson 62, 81, pen)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sky Bet Championship

Attendance: 18,698

Leeds: Silvestri, Byram, Bellusci, Cooper, Warnock, Cook, Mowatt, Bianchi (Montenegro (90), Adryan (Sloth 73), Doukara, Antenucci.

Charlton: Henderson, Wilson, Wiggins, Ben Haim, Bikey, Gudmundsson, Buyens (Coquelin 60), Jackson, Cousins, Harriott (Onyewu 78), Tucudean (Vetokele 52).

Referee: Graham Salisbury