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Leeds United held to goalless draw by bottom club Barnsley
LEEDS United missed a glorious opportunity to close the gap on the Championship pacesetters when they were held to a goalless draw by bottom club Barnsley at a packed Elland Road.
It was a timely reminder to the bulk of the 31,031 pre-Christmas crowd that nothing can be taken for granted in this unremitting league.
Remarkably, it was the fifth time this season that the Whites came up against a manager taking charge of the opposition for the first, the Tykes’ Danny Wilson following Oscar Garcia (Brighton), Steve McClaren (Derby), Aitor Karanka (Middlesbrough) and interim boss Graham Barrow (Wigan).
Wilson got his tactics spot-on, deploying defender Bobby Hassell in front of a back four in a 4-1-4-1 formation with Marcus Tudgay as a lone striker. Leeds made little headway as their wing-backs found little penetration.
Instead, aimless long balls were pumped towards the head of the giant Matt Smith, who won his share of headers but nothing really dropped for in-form strike partner Ross McCormack.
Leeds’ midfield all picked up bookings as they struggled to match the fluency of their Barnsley counterparts – Luke Murphy’s card ruling him out of the Boxing Day trip to Blackpool.
After two early missed opportunities for Smith, chances were limited. Barnsley could have scored in the first half as Tudgay outmuscled Marius Zaliukas but screwed his shot wide of the advancing Kenny.
Five minutes from time Tudgay received a straight red card for a bad challenge on Zaliukas, but Leeds were unable to make their extra man count, even with six minutes of added time.
Although two points were dropped, Leeds actually moved up a place into fifth courtesy of Reading’s home defeat to Wigan.
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