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Leeds United undone by Clint Hill strike
Leeds Utd 0, Queens Park Rangers 1
Leeds manager Brian McDermott felt his side deserved to get away with a draw as they lost for the first time this season to a late Clint Hill goal for QPR.
Hill kept Rangers’ own unbeaten record intact as he connected with Joey Barton’s free-kick in a largely drab contest at Elland Road.
The visitors’ skipper struck in the 75th minute but Harry Redknapp’s men rarely showed the adventure expected of a side touted as favourites for promotion.
Yet it was good enough to secure a third league win from four matches this term, although McDermott questioned whether it was a deserved result.
The Leeds boss said: “Did we do enough to win? Probably not. Did we deserve to lose? Probably not.
“We got done at a set-play, which is disappointing to say the least, and we didn’t do enough with the ball. Without possession we were diligent and solid.
“I thought we should have had a penalty early in the second half but their disallowed goal should have been given. These things happen.
“No-one could fault the players’ effort. They kept going and showed real desire against a team that has cost a lot of money and the crowd didn’t get on our backs.”
Barton’s disallowed goal came in the ninth minute, even though Leeds defenders Lee Peltier and Scott Wootton were playing him onside.
Leeds had their penalty claim rejected seven minutes after the break when Ross McCormack’s driven cross struck defender Danny Simpson’s arm just inside the box.
The only goal of the game arrived when Leeds made a hash of goalmouth attempts to clear Barton’s free-kick and left back Hill was first to react, lashing the ball into the net from close range.
Unlucky Leeds captain Rodolph Austin hit the bar deep into time added on.
Barton, who recently rejected interest from Crystal Palace, earned high praise from assistant QPR manager Kevin Bond for his performance.
Bond said: “Joey has done very well for us. He missed both pre-season trips but forced his way into the side, has played all the matches and has been very focused.”
Asked whether Barton would still be at the club after tomorow night’s transfer deadline, Bond replied: “I really don’t know. Nothing would surprise me.”
Bond added: “I am really pleased with the result after a very tight game.
“We didn’t get the ball down and play as much as we can, so it was pleasing to remain unbeaten in the league, keep a clean sheet and get a win at a really difficult place against a team who I think will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.
“At the time we couldn’t see whether Joey was onside when his goal was disallowed but, after watching it again, he wasn’t offside. It was a difficult one for the officials but in the end it didn’t cost us.”