The Derby County hoodoo struck again for Leeds United as they threw away a second half lead to lose 2-1 at Elland Road.
After Ross McCormack fired home a shot from the edge of the box on 67 minutes the Whites looked good to end their run of eight straight defeats against Derby, but a penalty scored at the rebound by Paul Coutts and an 88th minute header from a corner by Jake Buxton condemned them to another loss.
Leeds’ luck was right out as Paul Green and Sam Byram both hit the crossbar and Derby got away with what looked like a foul in the build-up to their penalty, but this result coming on the back of losses against Huddersfield and Ipswich have left United out of the play-off hunt and nervously looking over their shoulder at the relegation places.
Their play in the first half-hour was certainly relegation fodder as they failed to manage a single shot on goal. Derby were no better before a drab encounter suddenly burst into life with Luke Varney sending an angled shot wide and Green rattling the underside of the crossbar with a powerful strike against his old team.
The second half was better with Paddy Kenny forced to make his first serious save to keep out a Jeff Hendrick piledriver. Rodolph Austin was not far wide with a similar shot at the other end and Connor Sammon had the ball in the net only to be flagged offside.
Leeds put on McCormack for debutant Chris Dawson and the substitute came up with the opening goal with a fine shot from the edge of the box after a Stephen Warnock corner was only half-cleared.
McCormack came close with another effort from outside of the box and second sub Aidan White saw a volley saved by Frank Fielding, but suddenly Leeds found themselves level as Jason Pearce appeared to be elbowed off the ball, but then tripped Chris Martin in the box to give the visitors a penalty.
Sammon’s spot kick hit the post, but with Kenny stranded on the floor Coutts was first to the rebound to score for Derby.
United’s reaction was good initially as Byram got forward to send a header crashing against the crossbar from a cross by the other full-back, Warnock.
But it was Derby, helped by a succession of free-kicks on the edge of the home area, who exerted some late pressure and were rewarded when Buxton bundled the ball home from a corner.
Leeds United 1
Derby County 2
(Coutts 72, Buxton 88)
Monday, April 1, 2013
Leeds: Kenny, Byram, Pearce, Peltier, Warnock, Green, Austin, Dawson (McCormack 57), Diouf (White 65), Morison, Varney.
Derby: Fielding, Freeman, Buxton, Keogh, Forsyth, Bryson, (Jacobs 33), Hendrick, Davies (Gjokaj 90), Coutts, Martin, Sammon.
Referee: R East