Leeds throw it away again
Leeds once again threw away a two-goal advantage for the second time in three days as Portsmouth snatched an equaliser deep into stoppage time thanks to some calamity defending.
Andy O`Brien and Kasper Schmeichel somehow managed to get in a tangle with no Portsmouth player within ten yards of them and the ball found its way into the back of the net.
Simon Grayson made two changes to the side that drew at Leicester on Sunday, Ross McCormack and Billy Paynter coming in for Neil Kilkenny and Luciano Becchio.
Portsmouth could have taken the lead in the fifth minute when Utaka found himself in space in the Leeds box. Kasper Schmeichel produced a great save that the referee obviously didn`t see as he awarded a goal kick.
It looked like being an easy afternoon at Elland Road, after Max Gradel and John Howson had fired Leeds into a 2-0 lead inside ten minutes.
Gradel scored his eighth goal in eleven games when he found himself unmarked at the back post and then some clever footwork by Howson ended with him striking a left foot shot past James Ashdown.
Leeds looked like increasing the lead and Snodgrass went close before Paynter really should have made it three when he shot over after good work between Snodgrass and McCormack.
McCormack then saw a long range effort parried by Ashdown as Leeds tried to find the third goal that would surely kill the game.
Portsmouth were looking dangerous on the break, David Nugent and John Utaka were both looking dangerous down each wing for the visitors.
As the visitors pressed for an equaliser Andy O`Brien was forced into a last ditch clearance, Ross McCormack cleared one off the line and Dave Kitson saw an overhead kick go just wide of the post.
Portsmouth got their lifeline just past the half hour when Nugent gave Schmeichel no chance with a drive across the keeper into the top corner.
Leeds almost restored their two-goal cushion when Snodgrass saw his shot go just past the post with a Portsmouth defender coming close to getting a touch to divert it past his own keeper.
Leeds went in at half time 2-1 to the good but with the game finely balanced.
The Whites started the second half on the front foot but without ever testing Ashdown in the Portsmouth goal in the opening fifteen minutes of the half.
Bradley Johnson finally restored Leeds two-goal advantage just past the hour following a corner from the Leeds left.
Portsmouth failed to clear the corner and the ball fell to Johnson who volleyed through a crowded area to find the back of the net.
The lead lasted less than a minute when the Leeds defence went missing; the ball eventually fell to Richard Hughes whose shot took a big deflection off Andy O`Brien to find its way into the back of the net.
McCormack thought he had restored Leeds two goal cushion soon afterwards when he found the back of the net only for referee David Webb to disallow the effort.
Luciano Becchio replaced Billy Paynter on 65 minutes and he almost scored with his first touch within ten seconds of entering the field of play when Ashdown got down well to keep out his header.
By this stage, the referee was infuriating the Leeds fans after a string of poor decisions and this was another as he looked to have penalised McCormack because Ashdown failed to pile through the back of him to take the ball.
It wasn`t long before Webb was again infuriating the Leeds faithful, this time McCormack looked like he was clearly fouled by Sonko in the area but once again the official waved away the claims for a penalty.
Going into the final few minutes Portsmouth nearly equalised when Schmeichel had to produce a fantastic save to keep out a Hughes shot.
The referee somehow managed to find five minutes of stoppage time and it was in the third of these when Portsmouth equalised.
McCartney went missing down the left and substitute Ciftci found himself in space down the wing, his cross looked easy for either O`Brien or Schmeichel but somehow they managed to get in a tangle with O`Brien prodding the ball past Schmeichel for his second own goal of the afternoon.
The referee eventually played seven minutes of added time with neither side able to find a winner.
A disappointing end to a fantastic year of football for Leeds, once again they had managed to throw away a two goal lead in a game that really should have been out of sight inside the opening half hour.
Credit to Portsmouth for their never say die attitude, once again couldn`t name a full bench due to their limited squad.
Richard Hughes, who played in midfield, will now not be involved again as another appearance would mean the cash strapped club would have to offer him a new deal.
This was a game though that Leeds looked well in control of and after the disappointment at Leicester on Boxing Day when they also threw away a two-goal lead this game will really hurt.
Leeds are quickly back in action when they entertain Middlesbrough at home on New Years Day and they will be hoping to rectify the poor defending that cost them dear in this game.
Schmeichel, Connolly, O`Brien, Collins, McCartney, Howson, Johnson, Gradel (Sam 80), McCormack, Paynter (Becchio 65), Snodgrass
Subs not used
Higgs, Bruce, Hughes, Kilkenny, Somma
Ashdown, Halford, Mokoena, Rocha (Sonko 59), Dickinson, Ward (Kanu 59), Mullins, Hughes, Kitson, Utaka (Ciftci 87), Nugent,
Subs not used
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