Whites and Town share spoils

Leeds' automatic promotion hopes were dealt a blow as poor finishing cost them all three points in their 0-0 home draw with Ipswich.

Last Updated: 12/03/11 at 17:24 Post Comment

Gradel: Went close for Leeds

Gradel: Went close for Leeds

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The hosts had an opportunity to move level on points with second-placed Swansea in the Championship but their profligacy in front of goal cost them dearly.

In fairness, the Ipswich defence held firm in spite of a Leeds onslaught in the second-half to grab a point.

But Max Gradel, Jonny Howson, Robert Snodgrass, Billy Paynter and Andy O'Brien all had chances - but no one in a white shirt could find the back of the net.

It was not all doom and gloom for Leeds as they did close the gap on Swansea to two points - but they will know they missed an opportunity.

The main talking point before the game centred on Kieron Dyer's debut in his second spell with the Tractor Boys.

The midfielder rejoined his former club on a one-month loan deal on Friday from West Ham.

Dyer was immediately put into action along with Jimmy Bullard and Tamas Priskin, as Ipswich looked to bounce back from a 3-1 defeat to Reading.

The visitors' recent form has been poor, with three defeats in their last four matches. However they more than held their own in the opening minutes.

Gradel nearly opened the scoring for an unchanged Leeds outfit against the run of play but his 25-yard strike was tipped round the post by Ipswich goalkeeper Marton Fulop.

At the other end, Kasper Schmeichel did well to ensure the score remained goalless. He made a fine save from Lee Martin's drive from just outside the area.

From the resulting Jimmy Bullard corner, Gareth McAuley's downward header bounced off the ground and was helped over the bar by Schmeichel.

That served as a wake-up call for the hosts.

The dangerous Gradel cut in from the left and his curling shot was just wide of the right-hand post.

However, Leeds were aggrieved at a series of decisions that went against them and there was a chorus of boos at the half-time whistle.

Howson and Snodgrass missed the target as Simon Grayson's men improved after the interval.

Leeds have the best attacking record in the npower Championship, having scored 69 goals this season, so it seemed just a matter of time before they broke the deadlock.

Paynter, who was preferred to Luciano Becchio in attack, tested Fulop and Andy O'Brien went close with a 20-yard drive that just sailed wide of the left-hand post.

Though Leeds continued to completely control the tempo of the game, chances were few and far between from then on and the points were shared.

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