The Whites top scorer, watched by Scotland manager Gordon Strachan, kept his nerve to put away a 62nd minute spot kick for his 19th goal of the season and give his side a valuable point after their recent troubles.
The night was not looking too bright before this after Leeds had fallen behind five minutes earlier from a Paddy Kenny blunder as he allowed David McGoldrick’s speculative long shot to squirm under his body.
Fans were demanding to know what was going on with the team and the atmosphere in Elland Road’s smallest crowd for a league game this season was turning decidedly ugly with barracking of several players before McCormack finally gave the fans something to cheer about.
There was no sign of the improved display in the previous game against Leicester as United struggled to put moves together with wingers Jimmy Kebe and Cameron Stewart struggling again to impose themselves on the game in the opening half and no real punch up front with El Hadji Diouf brought in to replace the about to depart Luke Varney.
Diouf’s lack of match sharpness was clear and United’s only two decent efforts in the first 45 minutes were a long range effort by Rudy Austin saved by keeper Dean Gerken and a McCormack header wide when he was well placed.
Ipswich were only marginally better with McGoldrick hitting a volley wide and having a shot cleared off the line by Jason Pearce and home keeper Kenny getting down well to save from Ryan Tunnicliffe’s long range strike.
Tunnicliffe volleyed a decent chance wide in the first minute of the second half before Stewart suddenly sprung to life for Leeds, cutting in from his left wing to send a shot wide from the edge of the box.
A calamity of errors gave Ipswich their goal on 57 minutes after Kebe weakly lost the ball and it was quickly transferred to McGoldrick, whose shot from outside the box somehow beat Kenny.
But Leeds responded and soon levelled when Stewart showed good pace on a burst into the box and was brought down by right-back Luke Chambers. Referee David Webb pointed to the spot and McCormack blasted the ball into the net for a crucial equaliser.
For the next 10 minutes United poured forward looking for a winner with McCormack having a goalbound shot blocked and another effort well saved by Gerken.
Substitute Dominic Poleon looked lively after coming on for Diouf and Alex Mowatt also made an impression after replacing Michael Brown, but Leeds struggled to put in a big finish and had to settle for a point.
Leeds United 1
(McCormack 62, pen)
Ipswich Town 1
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Sky Bet Championship
Leeds: Kenny; Byram (Peltier 88), Lees, Pearce, Warnock; Kebe, Brown (Mowatt 63), Austin, Stewart; Diouf (Poleon 63), McCormack.
Ipswich: Gerken; Chambers, Smith, Berra, Cresswell; Anderson (Nouble 72), Skuse, Tunnicliffe, Tabb; Murphy, McGoldrick.
Referee: David Webb.