Saturday, 12 March 2011
Leeds United 0 Ipswich 0
Swansea's defeat at Derby meant Leeds could have moved up to joint second in the table with a win but the hosts were frustrated by a host of wasted chances.
Billy Paynter, in particular, missed a host of opportunities and Town keeper Marton Fulop twice denied Max Gradel.
Lee Martin had Ipswich's best chance, the midfielder denied from close in as Town dug deep to snatch a draw.
It could prove a precious point for the visitors, too, as it moves them 12 points clear of the drop zone with 10 matches to play - but for Leeds it will certainly be considered two points dropped after they dominated much of the match and almost the entire second half.
The hosts were to be frustrated, though - just as they were the last time Ipswich visited Elland Road when they came away with a draw that all but relegated Leeds to League One in April 2007.
This time Town returned to Yorkshire looking over their shoulder at the drop zone against a Leeds side firmly in the hunt for promotion back to the Premier League.
Faced with the task of nullifying the Championship's top scorers and form home team, the visitors were at least able to field new signing Kieron Dyer and the fit-again Jimmy Bullard, while Leeds were unchanged on the back of two wins and an unbeaten league record at Elland Road stretching back to October.
And yet it was Ipswich who should have opened the scoring, Tamas Priskin put in on goal by Carlos Edwards inside the first 15 seconds of the match, only for the striker to fire wide of Kasper Schmeichel's upright.
It was to provide a glimpse of what to expect for the rest of the match from both sides, with Priskin wasting two more chances from decent positions and Leeds' Paynter - preferred to Luciano Becchio once again - particularly profligate for the hosts early on.
First the home frontman steered George McCartney's cross past the target when well placed and then, minutes after glancing a header wide from a short corner routine, saw his 16-yard snap-shot blocked well by Gareth McAuley when a firmer effort would surely have given Leeds the lead.
Gradel, too, had his chances - although the lively winger was unfortunate that his three shots on goal, all long-range, were twice saved well by Fulop, the other dipping inches wide towards the end of the first half.
Not that the visitors failed to pose a threat themselves, though, because either side of Priskin's skewed efforts on goal Martin brought a smart stop out of home keeper Schmeichel on the back of a fine Ipswich counter-attack.
If Ipswich could claim to have played their part in a lively first half, however, it was a different story in a second half, which was dominated by the hosts.
But, just as in the first 45 minutes, the Leeds players appeared to have left their shooting boots at home.
Jonathan Howson volleyed over, Robert Snodgrass clipped wide, Paynter saw a low shot saved on the stretch by Fulop and Andy O'Brien flashed wide from the edge of the area as Leeds created a host of chances without managing to convert.
Even the late introduction of Becchio and Barry Bannan failed to provide the necessary clinical finish to end the hosts' good build-up play and as the minutes ticked down, so did Leeds' momentum and ideas.
In the end they were forced to settle for a point that leaves them two points shy of second place but gives Ipswich a boost in their hunt for mid-table security by the end of the season.