JONATHAN Kodjia scored a late penalty to deny Leeds as Aston Villa preserved their unbeaten home record with a 1-1 draw in a pulsating Championship clash.

Leeds were on course to collect another three points in their fight for promotion courtesy of Pontus Jansson’s header in the early stages of the second half.

But the visitors were forced to settle for only one after stand-in centre-back Liam Cooper handled and Kodjia dispatched his spot-kick for his ninth goal of the season.

The result was still enough to lift Leeds up to fourth in the table, with Villa moving to within five points of the top six.

For the first time in the league this season, Leeds were without key defender Kyle Bartley and they were nearly caught cold at the back, Jansson rescuing the situation after Kalvin Phillips had gifted Kodjia possession at the edge of the box.

The visitors withstood early pressure but Villa went close twice in a matter of seconds. Robert Green was forced to tip a Jordan Ayew free-kick from the left behind and then scrambled across his goal to ensure James Chester’s header dropped wide.

Villa suffered a blow just after the restart when Jack Grealish hobbled off, former Leeds captain Ross McCormack coming on as his replacement.

Leeds took the lead on 53 minutes when Jansson headed home Stuart Dallas’ corner with Mark Bunn under pressure from Kemar Roofe. Villa were fortunate not to fall two goals behind when a Jansson volley from another corner smashed the top of the crossbar.

Kodjia got Villa going again but Leeds were looking just as likely to grab the second goal.

But the hosts were given a lifeline when Cooper handled a cross into the box and Kodjia sent Green the wrong way with five minutes to play.

Leeds went agonisingly close to a winner when Hadi Sacko saw his deflected effort loop over Bunn and onto the crossbar, while Kodjia was brilliantly denied by Green at the other end.

But in the end both sides were forced to settle for a draw, only Leeds’ third of the campaign.