Ross heads Leeds United in right direction

Ross McCormack heads in Leeds United's winner against Bristol City. Picture: IAN HARBER
Ross McCormack heads in Leeds United's winner against Bristol City. Picture: IAN HARBER

ENTERTAINMENT value may have been in short supply, but manager Neil Warnock knew the importance of three points and a sixth straight home win in the Npower Championship for Leeds United.

Ross McCormack’s 66th minute header proved enough to give the Whites a just about deserved 1-0 win over bottom club Bristol City and the three points just about kept Leeds in touch in the promotion race.

Warnock knows his team will have to play better if they are to climb much higher than their 11th place, but took plenty of positives in what he deemed a difficult game to overcome opponents with nothing to lose and a new manager to try to impress.

He said: “We knew it would be hard work because they have a new manager and are fighting for their lives.

“We got a grip at half-time and were a lot more positive in the second half.

“Tom Lees and Lee Peltier were fabulous at the back for us.

“Unfortunately, you can’t please everyone, even when you have won six in a row in the league at home.

“For me, the glass should be half full, not half empty.”

Warnock had words of praise for his match winner McCormack, who has only recently been restored to the starting line-up.

He added: “I thought if anyone was going to score today it was Ross.

“It was a cracking goal, he deserved it and he covered lots of ground. He was a fraction away from putting one in at the end of the first half and looked very sharp.”

McCormack was the first Leeds player to get a shot in when he hit a 25-yard free-kick wide. Loan man Ross Barkley then managed a header from an El Hadji Diouf cross, but visiting keeper Tom Heaton was left with an easy save and was never stretched in a poor first half.

Sarcastic cheers from the supporters met the next United effort on target, an angled McCormack shot from outside the box on 39 minutes.

City were equally mediocre, although full-back Richard Foster did get forward to power in a shot that brought a save from Leeds keeper Paddy Kenny.

Just before half-time United finally put a decent move together only for Heaton to save at the second attempt after McCormack slid in and almost met Barkley’s clever low cross.

The visitors made a better start to the second half with Liam Kelly firing over from distance and Kenny having to save well after his defender Tom Lees had diverted the ball toward his own goal from a low cross.

But Leeds exerted some pressure at last and after Heaton made comfortable saves from Lees and Diouf headers the goal came when this time the City keeper could not keep out McCormack’s header from close range after he met a Barkley cross.

Leeds looked to add to the lead when McCormack’s superb pass sent Rodolph Austin sprinting down the right, but his shot went wide.

From then on, however, the game petered out with the visitors never looking likely to equalise and Leeds happy to see it out for another of the narrow wins they are specialising in this season.

Match facts

Leeds United 1

(McCormack 66)

Bristol City 0

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Npower Championship

Att: 18,156

Leeds: Kenny, Byram, Lees, Peltier, White, Barkley (Green 81), Austin, Brown, McCormack (Tonge 89), Diouf, Becchio.

Bristol City: Heaton, Foster, Fontaine, Carey, Cunningham, Kelly, Kilkenny (Burns 72), Skuse, Pearson (Davies 78), Taylor, Anderson (Stead 65).

Referee: D Sheldrake.