Ross McCormack showed Middlesbrough why Leeds United are keen to hold off their bid for the forward with the goal that earned them a draw against Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road.
United were trailing for the third home goal in a row before McCormack came up with the one piece of brilliant skill that lit up an otherwise dull but fiercely competitive Yorkshire derby.
Picking the ball up 40 yards from goal, the Scottish international pushed it past defender Kamil Zayatte and raced clear before calmly placing his shot past advancing goalkeeper Chris Kirkland.
It gave Leeds a 58th minute equaliser after they had trailed at half-time to a Wednesday goal scored by centre-back Zayatte after he headed home a corner headed onto him by Michail Antonio.
But although the Whites had plenty of the play in the closing half-hour they were unable to force a victory and lacked a cutting edge although they dominated possession.
The opening half saw chances at a premium at both ends. Dominic Poleon, given his first starting chance, looked lively and ended up on the deck following one strong run into the box, but no penalty was forthcoming, while Tom Lees came up from the back to send a header in that brought an easy save from Kirkland.
Leeds breathed a sigh of relief when a dangerous corner saw the ball end in Paddy Kenny’s arms after deflecting off Lee Peltier and the Owls fashioned a half chance as Liam Palmer’s angled shot went wide after he latched onto a ball over home left-back Stephen Warnock.
McCormack’s shot from the edge of the box was well saved by Kirkland before Wednesday took the lead from one of several well taken corners that caused United problems.
The game continued in the same vein in the second half with little given away. The industrious Luke Murphy did go close with a shot from the edge of the box, but it was out of the blue when McCormack produced his brilliant piece of skill for the equaliser.
The visitors came under pressure, but defended well. The only sniffs of a Leeds winner were when Rudy Austin headed wide from a corner, Michael Tonge had a shot deflected wide and Murphy’s strike from distance was comfortably held by Kirkland.
At the other end Antonio’s well struck shot was well held by Kenny and Jason Pearce got in a great block after a long throw had caused problems in the home defence.
But it was generally comfortable for both back fours with one last chance in injury-time coming to nothing as McCormack’s free-kick was blocked by a defender no more than six yards away from him.
Referee Roger East, who angered home fans with several decisions during the game, failed to order a retake and a point apiece was the result.
United manager Brian McDermott was happy with the effort shown by his players as they came from behind again.
He said: “I was pleased with the endeavour, determination and desire in the second half.
“They have given me everything and the crowd appreciated that. They stayed with us again. We let a goal in from a set piece, but we came back well.”
Leeds United 1
Sheffield Wednesday 1
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Leeds: Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Pearce, Warnock, Green (Tonge 45), Austin, Murphy, McCormack, Varney (Smith 72), Poleon (Diouf 85).
Wednesday: Kirkland, Buxton, Gardner, Zayatte, Helan, Palmer, Prutton, Coke, Antonio, McGuire (R Johnson 65), Nuhiu (Maghoma 69).
Referee: Roger East.