Thomas Christiansen‘s men had to settle for a share of the ‘spoils’ with promotion chasing Aston Villa.
The draw puts Leeds just outside the top six of the Championship with another thirty thousand fans filled Elland Road on a bitterly cold night in Leeds 11.
Thomas Christiansen made just one change from the successful win in Barnsley, Eunan O’Kane made way for Ronaldo Vieira, who was suspended for the game at Oakwell.
Leeds started well but it was Adomah who saw the whites of Felix Wiedwald’s eyes, the midfielder missed the opportunity.
With the home side winning the midfield battle it wasn’t a surprise that they went in front after nineteen minutes, a beautifully flighted ball found the head of Pontus Jansson who beat Johnstone with a powerful glancing header, it was the first goal the popular Swedish centre back had scored in the theatre of everlasting hope.
The game changed when midfielder and chief tormentor of Villa Pablo Hernandez was injured, then forced off the field, Kemar Roofe replacing him on the wings.
Leeds had a chance to go two up when Alioski’s clever free kick found Cooper, unmarked in the area, unfortunately the club captain’s header went high over the bar.
A good first half by Leeds and they deserved to be ahead.
Jansson opens the scoring and his account at Elland Road.
Steve Bruce must have ‘rattled’ a few cups because Villa flew out of the blocks in the early part of the second half, in their best attack, Ayling slipped letting in Villa winger Adomah, but the winger’s effort was superbly saved by Wiedwald. With the match in the balance, Leeds were awarded a free kick on the left, Roofe’s free kick was met by Liam Cooper and it sailed past Johnstone, unfortunately before the fans could celebrate, they noticed that the linemen’s flag was raised and the goal was disallowed by the referee.
Leeds had another excellent chance to double their lead, Samuel Siaz’s superb ball went into the six yard box, but the combined efforts of Alioski, Ekuban and Roofe couldn’t get the vital touch to put the ball past Johnstone and the chance was gone.
Steve Bruce decided his midfield needed some impetus so he brought on Lansbury and Grealish. The midfield battle previously won by Leeds, shifted towards Villa and after Jansson challenged a Villa player the ball bounced kindly to Lansbury, he strode forward, whilst Leeds gave him room, before Cooper could reach the midfielder, he shot and the ball rebounded off a post and into the Leeds net. Bugger!
As hard as both teams tried, neither could conjure up a winning goal.
For me loosing Pablo in the first half gave Villa more room in midfield and when the two substitutes were introduced, Leeds were forced back and the goal for Villa wasn’t a surprise. The main thing for me was that a month or so Leeds would have probably lost this game, as they did against Sheffield United and Derby County, they didn’t because they realised as a group it’s better to keep what you have than gamble and lose.
A pleasant, if bloody cold night and it was just about the right score.
Man of the Match: Ronaldo Vieira, in everything good Leeds did, strong and intelligent. When Hernandez went off, he tried his best to keep Leeds going forward.
By Keith Ingham