Robert Snodgrass’ last minute equaliser ended Leeds’ run of five straight league defeats and condemned Leicester to a 1-1 draw after Matt Oakley had put the visitors ahead midway through the first half.
Oakley’s first half strike looked to have given Leicester their seventh straight league win, but the home side’s determination paid off when Snodgrass fired home in the 90th minute.
Leicester boss Nigel Pearson named an unchanged from the team that demolished Peterborough 4-0 last weekend.
Pearson’s opposite number Grayson made several changes to his side, recalling Casper Ankergren in goal and midfielder David Prutton. Grayson was also boosted with the returns of top goalscorer Jermaine Beckford and Andy Robinson to the side, both recently out with injuries.
It was clear to see that both sets of fans wanted the game more than usual, 33,580 turning up to watch the Boxing Day clash.
David Prutton had the first shot of the game for Leeds, but his effort went woefully wide of Martin’s goal much to the delight of Leicester’s travelling support.
Chances were becoming few and far between in a game that neither team wanted to lose, but the home side should have gone ahead through Luciano Becchio. The forward found himself in space to shoot after Martin’s floundering in the area, but unleashed his shot sraight into the post with the goal at his mercy.
Andy King had Leicester’s first proper chance of the game, but could only see his drive from range go wide of Ankergen’s post.
However, Leicester were celebrating moments later when Matt Oakley fired the ball home from the edge of the area with a fine finish. Great work from top scorer Matty Fryatt allowed Oakley the chance to shoot first time into the bottom corner, leaving Ankergren with no chance.
Leeds tried to hit back immediately through Frazer Richardson, but his dangerous effort was tipped agonisingly wide by ‘keeper David Martin.
Returning striker Jermaine Beckford had the half’s final chance, but saw his volley drop over the bar. It was clear to see that this was his first game back after a lengthy injury, with Leicester’s centre back pairing making light work of the striker throughout the game.
The second half produced Grayson’s first Leeds substitution when Prutton made way for Hughes on the hour mark in a bid for an equaliser.
A minute later Leicester were handed a golden opportunity with a free-kick on the edge of the area, but the chance was disappointingly wasted with Matty Fryatt’s weak effort.
A heated 20 minutes followed as Leeds pushed for an elusive equaliser, the game’s first bookings being produced by referee Mark Halsey. Leicester’s Mark Davies was booked for a poor challenge on Beckford, followed by a yellow card soon after for Leeds centre back Rui Marques for a foul on Fryatt.
Leeds made a double substitution with 15 minutes of the game remaining, with Snodgrass and Howson replacing Robinson and Douglas.
Leicester boss Nigel Pearson decided to freshen up his strike force with 5 minutes to go when Paul Dickov replaced Fryatt up front.
However, the killer blow was dealt in the final minute of the game when Snodgrass finished off an impressive Leeds move to hand the home side a deserved point. Grayson’s managerial nous paid off with his two substitutes combining, Howson laying off to Snodgrass to send the Leeds faithful into raptures.
It’ll be considered two points dropped for the Foxes, and rightly so, but the draw keeps them top of League One, two points clear of MK Dons.
City: Martin, Gilbert, Hobbs, Tunchev, Berner, Oakley ©, King, Davies, Dyer, Howard, Fryatt (Dickov 85).
Subs not used: Cisak, Morrison, Adams, Powell.
Leeds: Ankergren, Richrdson ©, Douglas (Snodgrass 77), Marques, Michalik, Prutton (Hughes 58), Beckford, Becchio, Sheehan, Delph, Robinson (Howson 77).
Subs not used: Lucas, Kilkenny.
Referee: Mr M Halsey
David Martin (5)
Looked a liability today with constant indecisiveness from crosses. Made a good save to deny Richardson in the first half.
Kerrea Gilbert (6)
A little isolated at right back at times and sometimes uneasy on the ball. However, stuck to his tasks fairly well and defended well enough.
Aleksander Tunchev (7.5)
Another solid performance from the centre back, very little got past him. Had Beckford in his pocket all game long.
Jack Hobbs (7)
Solid and decisive at the back, he won the ball often and rarely lost a header.
Bruno Berner (6)
I still don’t quite know what to make of him. If I had my way I’d replace him with Chris Powell at left back. Today he was sound enough at times, but a little erratic with his distribution.
Matt Oakley (7)
Another good display from the captain, with a superbly taken goal along the way which really should have given Leicester the win. However, too absent in the second half for my liking.
Andy King (6)
A good first half which included some good challenges in his battle against Delph and co. However, like Oakley a fairly anonymous second half.
Mark Davies (7.5)
Looks a very good player at this level. Confidence in abundance, if there’s no pass available he’s got it in his locker to beat a man and find valuable space.
Lloyd Dyer (5.5)
Rarely involved in the game at all; disappointing for a player who poses so much threat to opposition defences. Made one threatening run all game which came in the first half but offered little else.
Steve Howard (6.5)
Won the majority of his headers up front, but was given little service from both midfield and his fellow strike partner at times. A decent performance, and one that produced some hard work at times.
Matty Fryatt (6.5)
Some superb work to provide Oakley with his goal. A very hard-working performance from him, but it was disappointing to see his only effort on goal be a free-kick which failed to trouble Leeds at all.
Again, we couldn’t see the game out and we’ve dropped points because of it. In hindsight he could have added a bit more bite to the midfield later on to help see out the game.
His double substitution late in the game earned Leeds the draw they deserved from the match. I’m sure the fans will be fairly pleased with him today.