FORMER European Cup finalists Leeds United failed to beat York City for the third successive pre-season.

The Minstermen fought out a 1-1 draw against their League One neighbours, who sent a full-strength squad and 2,287 fans for the KitKat Crescent fixture.

Onome Sodje’s first-half goal cancelled out a Jermaine Beckford effort to ensure honours ended even again, following last summer’s 0-0 draw.

City also beat a Leeds reserve side 2-0 in 2006 and might have snatched victory in last night’s match had substitute goalkeeper Alan Martin not pushed Adam Boyes’ 85th-minute strike around a post.

Earlier, Beckford had called City ’keeper Michael Ingham into action after just two minutes with the former Sunderland stopper reacting smartly to tip over the striker’s header from a Frazer Richardson cross.

Moments later, Sodje headed over from a deflected Lee Elam cross at the other end but Andy Hughes narrowly missed the target from 30 yards for Leeds on 19 minutes.

A combination of last-ditch defending by Huntington and Leeds ’keeper Casper Ankergren prevented Martyn Woolford netting for the Minstermen and David McGurk headed over from the resulting corner.

Leeds forged ahead on 25 minutes, however, when Beckford was given the freedom of City’s six-yard box to meet an accurate right-wing cross by Hughes and beat Ingham from close range.

Utility man Mark Greaves, playing in midfield having operated as a defender against Tadcaster missed the target with a header and volley after taking up good positions in the visitors’ penalty box to meet crosses from the tidy Elam and Ben Purkiss.

Northern Ireland international Ingham needed to be alert on 41 minutes when he headed clear after Beckford had sprung the City offside trap in pursuit of Jonathan Douglas’ cleverly-lofted through ball.

Two minutes later, City were back on level terms when Ingham’s long punt upfield was helped on by Craig Farrell and Sodje’s speed and determination saw him collect the ball ahead of Leeds defender Robert Bayly.

Having first fired between Ankergren’s legs, Sodje then showed his predatory instincts to net with his second attempt, pouncing on the loose ball after it had clipped the Danish ’keeper’s ankle.

Leeds fans entertained themselves by repeatedly hurling a plastic dustbin into the air during the half-time break while manager Gary McAllister disposed of his whole starting XI for the second period, giving new signings Enoch Showunmi and Andy Robinson their first outings.

City, who had played with trialist Elam and Woolford as out-and-out wingers in the first half, switched from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 with Walker making five changes at the break and a further six before the final whistle.

Ex-Luton and Bristol City striker Showunmi showed neat footwork on 47 minutes to tee up a 20-yard chance for Jonny Howson that was saved by Ingham.

At the other end, Farrell curled a 30-yard free-kick inches wide before referee Jon Moss was almost left red-faced by a strange sequence of events.

The man in the middle petulantly admonished his frantically flagging assistant with a dismissive wave of his hand despite Richard Brodie having been blatantly wrestled to the ground by Leeds defender Lubomir Michalik but, just seconds later, Moss penalised Danny Parslow for a trip on the edge of the box.

However, the powerful Robinson, who hugged the left touchline to good effect, failed to beat Josh Mimms from the free-kick.

Both teams then had late opportunities to win with Alan Sheehan driving narrowly over from 20 yards after a training ground corner routine had seen Robinson’s flag-kick cushioned into his firing range by Neil Kilkenny.

City’s 17-year-old striker Boyes then forced a low save from Martin after electing to shoot early having been released by strike partner Brodie.

With forward Daniel McBreen also watching from the sidelines again and Farrell, Sodje and Woolford all having departed by that stage, City should certainly lack little in firepower next season.


York City 1, Leeds United 1.

York City: Ingham (Mimms, 60), Purkiss (Radcliffe, 60), McGurk (Beadle, 86), Kelly (Parslow, 46), Robinson (McWilliams, 65), Elam (Rusk, 46), Greaves (Hogg, 46), Wilkinson (Henderson, 46), Woolford (Shepherd, 80), Farrell (Boyes, 66), Sodje (Brodie, 46).

Leeds United (first-half): Ankergren, Richardson, Parker, Douglas, Bayly, Huntington, Prutton, Sweeney, Beckford, Weston, Hughes.

Leeds United (second-half): Martin, Gardner, Sheehan, Michalik, Westlake, Kilkenny, Howson, Johnson (Elliott 87), Carole, Showunmi, A Robinson.

Referee: Jon Moss.

Crowd: 4,405 (2,387 from Leeds).