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Ross McCormack penalty ends Leeds United's pointless run
Leeds Utd 1, Ipswich Town 1
Ross McCormack ended Leeds’ five-match losing run with a perfectly executed penalty for his 19th goal of the season but the Whites were held to a draw by Ipswich at Elland Road.
David McGoldrick’s speculative shot had given Ipswich a 57th-minute lead but McCormack replied just five minutes later to rescue a point, although neither side reached great heights.
Leeds manager Brian McDermott had pleaded before the game for an end to uncertainty over the club’s proposed takeover.
But the deal was plunged into even more doubt after Andrew Flowers, a member of the Sports Capital consortium who are looking to take control, revealed that a revised offer had been rejected by current owners GFH Capital.
With Luke Varney expected to complete a move to Blackburn, Leeds handed El-Hadji Diouf his first start since September alongside McCormack, for whom West Ham had a substantial bid rejected last week.
Fresh from their win over Reading, Ipswich were looking to inflict further pain on a Leeds side without a win in their last seven matches and McGoldrick wasted a golden opportunity for Mick McCarthy’s visitors in the 19th minute.
Daryl Murphy found the former Nottingham Forest striker with a long, high ball into the box but McGoldrick sliced his shot badly wide.
Leeds were indebted to Jason Pearce for a goal-line clearance to deny McGoldrick the opening goal and, as Ipswich kept up the pressure, Tom Lees needed a timely tackle on Ryan Tunnicliffe, who then saw his low shot turned round a post by Paddy Kenny.
Leeds had to wait until the 35th minute for their only attempt on goal in the first half, Rodolph Austin’s long-distance strike bringing a full-stretch save from Dean Gerken.
Tunnicliffe had another opportunity immediately after the interval but his volley zipped just past Kenny’s left post, much to the home side’s relief.
With their fans becoming increasingly frustrated, Leeds needed a spark of inspiration but too often their approach play broke down in the final third of the pitch and when winger Cameron Stewart cut in from the left he shot wide of the far post.
Ipswich broke the deadlock when McGoldrick tried his luck from wide out on the left and Kenny was surprisingly beaten on his near post.
But the equaliser was not long delayed. Stewart was brought down to the left of goal by Ipswich captain Luke Chambers and McCormack blasted the resulting penalty to Gerken’s right for Leeds’ first goal in four matches.
McDermott made a double substitution, replacing Diouf and Michael Brown with Dominic Poleon and Alex Mowatt, and later introduced Lee Peltier for Sam Byram – while McCarthy replaced Paul Anderson with Frank Nouble – but the changes failed to produce a decider.