Date:Sunday December 5 2010
Leeds United came from behind to claim all three points thanks to two late Luciano Becchio goals.
Becchio scored his tenth and eleventh goals of the season in the final ten minutes as Leeds finally wore down an inspired Juliano Speroni in the Palace goal.
Simon Grayson made just the one change with Andy Hughes stepping in to replace the suspended Paul Connolly.
Leeds thought they had taken the lead early on when Howson was played in on goal, The Leeds captain fired into the net only to see a very late linesman`s flag rule out the effort.
The home side were enjoying all the pressure whilst Palace were looking to pounce on the counter attack, Neil Danns and Darren Ambrose being their main architectures.
The chances were still coming for Leeds and Johnson found his usual spot in the South Stand when in a good position.
Snodgrass was the next player to see a goal ruled out for offside and it was made worse when the official booked him for putting the ball in the back of the net.
Leeds next chance came just short of the half hour when Howson again was through on goal but this time he shot straight at Speroni.
Leeds really should have taken the lead close to half time when first Becchio made a mess of what should have been a tap in and Gradel followed up to fire wide.
Despite all their dominance in the first half, Leeds were caught with a sucker punch in the last minute of the half. McCartney and Johnson went missing down the left leaving the rest of the defence having to shuffle across and Neil Danns found himself unmarked on the back stick after a ball across the box by Nathan Clyne.
It could have been worse on the stroke of half time when Palace won a free kick in a very dangerous area; Kasper Schmeichel made a fantastic save to keep out a superbly executed free kick from Ambrose.
Leeds somehow went in at half time 1-0 down but more of the same in the second half was sure to bring its rewards, eventually.
Leeds continued to press at the start of the second half and Speroni again made a good stop, this time to deny Andy O`Brien.
Simon Grayson decided to make an early double change, bringing on Ross McCormack and Lloyd Sam for Max Gradel and Bradley Johnson.
Both quickly got into the game with McCormack making some very good movement and Sam causing them problems down the left.
Robert Snodgrass was enjoying a lot of the ball on the right and was regularly getting the better of his opponent as the chances started to mount again.
Kilkenny stung the palms of Speroni`s hands with a rasping shot from the edge of the area and you really didn`t think it was going to be Leeds day when Becchio`s point blank header was again superbly saved by Speroni.
Palace were looking more of a danger in the second half and Danns missed a great chance to double the lead when he screwed wide when in a great position.
McCormack became the third Leeds player to have a goal ruled out for offside and this time there looked little doubt in the decision with a host of Leeds players queuing up to score.
Danns missed another great chance to put the game to bed, after a bout of pinball in the Leeds area the ball finally fell to him and his left foot shot came off the outside of the post and to safety.
The miss was to prove costly as another inspired substitution was to finally change the game.
Billy Paynter came on for Andy Hughes as Grayson played three up front and Paynter could have almost had Leeds level within minutes of entering the pitch.
A ball crashed across the box found Paynter unmarked two yards out but he was unable to guide his header and the ball went back across goal.
Leeds hard work and perseverance finally paid off with just nine minutes remaining when Becchio scored from close range after McCartney and then Paynter had helped the ball towards goal.
You now had the feeling that Leeds could go on and clinch all three points and with the Kop sucking the ball towards goal, it didn`t take long in coming.
Becchio found himself in behind the defence and despite Speroni getting a hand to his shot; he could not keep the ball from nestling into the back of the net. The goal sent the 25,000 hardy souls, who had battled their way to Elland Road through the snow, wild and another three points was looking on the cards.
Palace tried to find a way back into the game in the closing minutes but the Leeds players did a very good job of winding down the clock.
Billy Paynter almost made it 3-1 deep into stoppage time when Speroni, who really was unlucky to finish on the losing side after a fantastic personal performance superbly saved his goal bound shot.
The final whistle echoed to the delight of the Leeds players and fans, after a frustrating opening eighty minutes they finally got their reward.
The win takes Leeds back into the play off places in sixth place and as stretched their unbeaten run to seven games.
Schmeichel, Hughes (Paynter 77), O`Brien, Bruce, McCartney, Howson, Gradel (Sam 55), Becchio, Snodgrass, Johnson (McCormack 55)
Subs not used
Higgs, Collins, Faye, Somma
Speroni, Gardner, Davis, Wright, Ambrose, Danns, Counago, Vaughan, N`Diaye (Zaha 87), Djilali (O`Keefe 55), Clyne
Subs not used
Price, Barrett, Cadogan, Doorman, Obika
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Date:Sunday December 5 2010
|17. Leeds Utd||18||4||7||7||-5||19|
|19. MK Dons||18||4||4||10||-9||16|
|20. Bristol City||18||3||7||8||-12||16|
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