The Boxing Day showdown between Leeds United and Leicester City at Elland Road ended in a 1-1 draw with Robert Snodgrass' added-time goal earning the point for the home side.
With over thirty-three thousand in attendance, Simon Grayson's first match in-charge of Leeds was far from inspiring as his side continued the same dowdy approach that cost Gary McAllister his job. While last years League One Player of the Year Jermaine Beckford returned along with Andy Robinson from injury, Leeds attack was far from potent and rarely was the agressor. Although Leeds came close fifteen minutes in as Luciano Becchio nailed the post it was the visiting Foxes who took the lead as Matt Oakley scored at the twenty-fourth minute. While Leeds hunted for an equalizer their pace and transitional movement was slow and predictable, allowing Leicester City to mark defensively with ease. Seventy-seven minutes overdue, Jonny Howson was introduced and along with Robert Snodgrass who had come in a minute early, Leeds midfield showed the confidence and vision to find the leveller. Finally a minute into added time local-boy Jonny Howson chipped the ball to Robert Snodgrass, who then fired the ball into the net.
Following the match Simon Grayson noted his pleasure with the result:
"I was pleased with the result in the end. I felt if we'd have started like we finished we could have won the game.
"I'm smiling because we got a point against the league leaders when it didn't look like we would get one. They are a good team.
"And it's the first point of a new start for us. It's a point we can build on and try and get things going again.
"It'll be a gradual thing, but the main thing is instilling confidence and belief because they are a talented group.
"We have something to build on now."
The draw leaves Leeds in ninth place in the table a full fifteen points behind first place Leicester City. With pre-season goal of ninety points a dream long since forgotten, Leeds must start winning the tough matches and not let up if it is to get into the playoff round. The task of automatic promotion is unlikely as they must make up thirteen points in the remaining twenty-four matches and will require not only a near perfect run by Leeds but second half problems by Leicester City and the MK Dons who are at second-place with forty-six points.
While it is certainly noteworthy that the losing streak has been halted, any celebration should be a short one because this was far from a quality performance and showed the same tactical flaws that has cost the club the first half of the season. If Leeds is to be successful it will need to play aggressive, with confidence and be bold in the attack. Leeds returns to action against seventh place Stockport County on Sunday in a desperate need for points.