Barnsley again raised their game to leave Elland Road with a deserved point after frustrating Leeds United in a game short on festive cheer.
In front of a huge expectant crowd of 31,031, the Whites drew a blank as they were held to a disappointing goalless draw.
Leeds started well enough, but lost their creative edge as the game wore on and could not take advantage of having an extra man after Barnsley had striker Marcus Tudgay sent-off six minutes from time.
It took United only three minutes to create their first chance as Matt Smith chested down a ball into the box well only to find keeper Jack Butland out to quickly to make a fine save at point blank range.
Smith was through again soon after from Ross McCormack’s clever through ball, but his shot was weak and Butland made a comfortable save.
Barnsley settled into the contest to play some good passing football in midfield and Bobby Hassell hit a volley not far over from the edge of the box.
They still looked edgy at the back and after failing to clear a cross the ball was played back in for Smith to get a header in, but it was another weak effort easily dealt with by England man Butland.
Paddy Kenny was called into his first serious action when he tipped over a header from Tudgay then the same Barnsley striker went through after getting the better of Marius Zaliukas only to fire a good chance wide.
McCormack hit a shot wide from the edge of the box, but Leeds struggled in the run up to half-time, prompting manager Brian McDermott to make changes at the break, putting Michael Tonge on for Alex Mowatt in midfield and replacing Lee Peltier at right wing-back with Sam Byram.
The Whites looked more pumped up at the start of the second period as Danny Pugh’s brilliant effort from wide out was tipped over by Butland and Tonge’s shot from distance was well held by the keeper.
McCormack could only shoot straight at Butland after the ball dropped to him on the edge of the box and the frustration grew.
McCormack had another chance on 63 minutes after latching onto a corner knocked down to him, but he headed the ball over and could not to his 17-goal tally for the season.
Barnsley’s first chance of the half came on 70 minutes as Tudgay shot into the side netting then Jim O’Brien’s shot was easily saved by Kenny before the Tykes settled for a point in the closing stages.
The visitors defended much better than in the first half and were comfortable at the back with United generally running out of ideas.
United did have one more half-chance as Smith did well in the box only to see his angled shot go inches wide of the far post.
They had an extra man after Tudgay got a straight red from referee Keith Stroud for a lunge that left Zaliukas needing treatment, but still saw the game out easily enough even through six minutes of added time.
Despite the disappointing result and display Leeds have climbed the table up to fifth, above Reading who lost at home to Wigan.
United boss McDermott admitted his team did not play well.
He said: “It wasn’t a great day at the office, but we will take the point and move on.
“I’ve seen games like that go against you as you get frustrated at 0-0. What you have to do in games like that is get a result and we did that.”
Leeds United 0
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Leeds: Kenny; Lees, Zaliukas, Pearce; Peltier (Byram 45), Murphy (Poleon 79), Mowatt (Tonge 45), Austin, Pugh; McCormack, Smith.
Barnsley: Butland; Wiseman, Ramage, Crainey, Nyatanga; O’Brien (Scotland 83), Perkins, Hassell (Dawson 63), Mellis, Cywka (Etuhu 67); Tudgay (sent-off 84).
Referee: Keith Stroud.