Championship - Leeds held by Cardiff at home

Sun, 30 Oct 15:13:00 2011

Cardiff City held Leeds United to an entertaining 1-1 Championship draw at Elland Road that leaves both sides just outside the play-off zone.

FOOTBALL Leeds United's Robert Snodgrass (right) celebrates after he scores his side's equalising goal against Cardiff City in their Championship match at Elland Road on October 30 - 0

Joe Mason took advantage of a defensive howler from Darren O’Dea to give the visitors an early lead - the youngster's third goal in as many games - while Leeds looked like they would be denied by a virtuoso goalkeeping performance from David Marshall.

But Robert Snodgrass pounced with 17 minutes remaining to give Leeds a deserved point that puts them two points shy of sixth-placed Hull City, with Cardiff a point behind the Whites.

The first half was evenly matched in terms of possession, with Leeds looking more dangerous but Cardiff hitting the back of the net.

The visitors had the first opportunity as Paul Radchubka made a smart stop from Aaron Gunnarsson’s low drive, although Marshall bettered that with a point-blank save from Andy Keogh’s downward header.

The Bluebirds took the lead on 17 minutes courtesy of some terrible defending from O’Dea, who dithered over a straightforward clearance before tumbling in the style of John Terry: Mason exploited his incompetence to round the keeper and slide home the finish for his third goal in as many games.

O’Dea did not last much longer, substituted for Patrick Kisnorbo just after the half-hour mark as he continued to make basic mistakes, possibly rattled by his error.

As the half progressed Leeds looked the more likely as Marshall saved well from Snodgrass’s header, while Paul Connolly put in a couple of superb low crosses from the right that deserved sharper movement from his forwards.

The second half continued to show a pro-Leeds swing as the hosts applied increasing pressure on the Welsh side, Marshall saving well from Snodgrass and the previously quiet ex-Bluebirds striker Ross McCormack.

Cardiff were struggling to get out of their own half: it took 19 minutes of the second half before they had any kind of effort, Peter Whittingham firing well wide after Gunnarsson’s long throw. They were defending well though, with Leeds not really breaking them down and their chances largely coming from distance.

One such effort, from Adam Clayton, forced a decent save from Marshall, who was having a fine game between the sticks for Cardiff.

The corner that followed yielded two of Leeds’ best chances, as Clayton saw a volley blocked wide and Marshall made the save of the match and possibly the season to keep out Jonny Howson’s downward header from the next set piece.

Malky MacKay responded to Leeds’ increasing dominance by withdrawing the tiring Mason and bringing experienced striker Kenny Miller into the fold after his head injury, the thinking being that the Scotland international would defend better from the front and keep the ball higher up the pitch.

But Leeds got their equaliser almost immediately afterwards as Snodgrass poked home from close range after defender Tom Lees flicked on a high ball. There was a touch of confusion between Marshall and defender Mark Hudson, the only real defensive lapse from Cardiff punished by the Scotland midfielder.

That woke Cardiff up as Whittingham and substitute Filip Kiss had half-chances, but Leeds were also looking for a winner as Lloyd Sam was brought into the fold, putting some dangerous balls in from wide.

They almost got a second when Lees flicked his header wide from closer range after arriving unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box.

Cardiff were still dangerous though, as Gunnarsson headed over from close range after Hudson met a corner from the right.

Three minutes added time were signalled, during which the game opened up a touch, although without much consequence as the spoils were shared.

Reda Maher (on Twitter @Reda_Maher) / Eurosport

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