Leeds miss chance to reclaim top-six spot

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LEEDS United missed a chance to climb back into the Npower Championship top six when they could only draw with ten-man Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

Palace lost striker Sean Scannell when he was red carded for his second bookable offence just before half-time, but they were leading from an early Chris Martin goal and held on for a point after United equalised just after the hour mark through substitute Robert Snodgrass.

The result saw the Whites slip to 11th place in the table, but they remain only one win off a play-off place.

United’s assistant manager Glyn Snodin had no complaints with the result.

He said: "We thought we did well. We tried to get the ball out wide and make the extra man count.

"We got the goal in the second half and thought we could push on and go and win the game.

"But Palace are good on the break, even with 10 men, and when Wilfried [Zaha] came on.

"They came out in the first half and put us on the back foot. They had a few early shots and then went 1-0 up after six minutes, like they did last season, so it was a good point for us.

"They started the second half well, but they also had men behind the ball and sometimes it is hard to break them down.

"We had the game plan - to make sure we kept on getting the ball wide and not to go central and hopefully we would get the result."

Leeds have never enjoyed trips to Selhurst Park and soon found themselves behind as Carling Cup semi-finalists Palace took a sixth-minute lead as Martin cut inside on the left side of the penalty area and arrowed an angled shot into the bottom corner beyond keeper Andy Lonergan.

United looked to hit back, but Danny Pugh blasted Adam Clayton's corner over from six yards to waste a great chance and home keeper Julian Speroni pulled off two fine saves to deny Clayton and Tom Lees.

Palace were reduced to ten men on the stroke of half-time when Scannell, already booked for a foul on Andros Townsend, was shown a second yellow card by referee David Coote for a clumsy challenge on Pugh.

Leeds looked to make their extra man count after the break and Ross McCormack, back in the starting line-up at the expense of Ramon Nunez, saw a close range effort blocked by Paddy McCarthy. Speroni then saved again from Lees' header.

Snodgrass, back in the squad after an appendix operation, came on for defender Aidan White, with Pugh moving back into the defence, and within seven minutes came up with a goal with a confident finish after being set up by McCormack.

United continued to press, but could not find a winner as Snodgrass, Pugh and Clayton were all off target with efforts from distance and Speroni made another big save to deny substitute Mikael Forssell from close range.

Match facts

Crystal Palace 1

(Martin 6)

Leeds United 1

(Snodgrass 63)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Npower Championship

Attendance: 17,796

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Dumbuya (McShane 67), McCarthy, Gardner, Wright, Parr, Dikgacoi, Scannell (sent-off 45), Ambrose, Easter (Murray 82), Martin (Zaha 70).

Leeds: Lonergan, Thompson, Lees, O'Dea, White (Snodgrass 56), Brown, Clayton, Pugh, Townsend, McCormack, Becchio (Forssell 79).

Referee: David Coote.