Leeds United headed for the King Power Stadium on Tuesday night to face Nigel Pearson's Leicester City. Neil Warnock was able to name an unchanged side despite Luke Varney being a doubt in the build-up to the game after an accidental collision with Stephen Warnock at the weekend.
The game looked set to follow the trend of recent United away games when after some early promise from Leicester, the Whites started to settle into the game. There were efforts from Sam Byram and David Norris in the early stages of proceedings but both attempts were easily dealt with by former Leeds United number one Kasper Schmeichel.
Paddy Kenny was to be tested more thoroughly. Before the half was out Kenny was to tip the ball over the bar expertly on two occasions. The first effort was by new Leicester hot-shot Chris Wood when his effort seemed to take a deflection that was destined to loop over Paddy Kenny into the net. Luckily for United though, the former Sheffield United shot stopper was equal to it and tipped the ball over excellently. The second important save from Kenny came directly from a free-kick. Anthony Knockaert curled in the free-kick which looked to be creeping into the back of the net but Kenny was once again able to get up and knock the ball over for a corner. These two excellent saves did come after a slight mistake from Kenny though. A shot came in from just outside the box and from what seemed a routine save, Kenny allowed the ball to simply bounce off him. Fortunately the rebound just evaded the on rushing David Nugent who was unable to reach the ball in order to steer it in and Kenny escaped humiliation.
Another theme which seems to be appearing in many of United's recent displays is David Norris getting himself into goal scoring opportunities. The hard working midfielder got on the end of Sam Byram's cross and attempted a volley. The effort went wide and it was to be United's last meaningful attack of the first period. Despite the first half being fairly even, it is perhaps reasonable to say that the home side just edged it with their attempts on goal testing Paddy Kenny while Kasper Schmeichel wasn't really troubled by the Whites endeavours on the Leicester goal.
Schmeichel was picking the ball out of his net shortly after the half-time interval though when Sam Byram made no mistake in smashing his volley past him. It was a terrific goal and it certainly made the travelling United faithful very happy. Luckily they don't need a drum to make noise unlike the home fans at the King Power Stadium. Neil Warnock's men really took the second half by the scruff of the neck after the opening goal and there were to be long range attempts from David Norris, Ross McCormack and Paul Green. Schmeichel palmed all of the efforts away though, perhaps making somewhat of a meal of it in the process as he clawed the ball away from goal.
With much of the second half still to play after Byram's brilliant opener, United did well to stay in control of the game and with the clock ticking, it was hard to see the Foxes grabbing that equaliser. However, Chris Wood was presented with a great chance when the ball fell to the New Zealand international on the edge of the box. His shot, hit on the half-volley, appeared to be on route to the net until his Leicester City colleague got himself in the way and guided the ball just wide of the United net. It was a heart-in-mouth moment for the travelling Leeds fans who moments later could and should have been celebrating another goal and all three points. Paul Green cleverly slotted the ball through to David Norris (yes, him again) who found himself one on one with Kasper Schmeichel. Norris could have perhaps opted to take the ball round the keeper but instead decided to take his shot early. In typical Schmeichel fashion, Kasper made himself big and made a good stop. The ball came back to Norris who this time beat Schmeichel but saw Michael Keane turn the ball away on the Leicester City goal line.
The immediate feeling was that we were going to live to regret that miss and that was indeed to be the case. United had held on to their lead for over half an hour of football, what was four minutes of added time? Leicester managed to win themselves a number of corners for which the goalkeeper Schmeichel felt the need to join in with. The first few were dealt with and Kenny again made a decent save, this time from Andy King who tried to hook the ball into the net. It was from that corner that Nigel Pearson's side had their equaliser. The ball was sent deep to the back post and Michael Keane, who minutes earlier had prevented Norris from stretching the lead, rose the highest and he put his header into the net.
I don't think I can put down in words just how frustrating it was to watch. I would go as far as saying that United performed brilliantly in that second half. There was going to be so many positives, it was going to be the fourth clean sheet in a row, it was going to be the first away win since December 1st, we were going to make up some serious ground on the play-offs because most of the results have gone our way. But no it was not to be. After the debacle at Wolves, where a late Paddy Kenny error cost Leeds two points, United were at it again and have claimed a draw from the jaws of victory. Sam Byram scored a great goal and his all round play was very good. United's other full back Stephen Warnock put in a good performance as well and seems to get better with each game he plays in a white shirt. Ross McCormack made up for his penalty miss at the weekend and put in a good shift for the Whites. His close control was fantastic and he looked to provide United with more opportunities when they were on top in the second half. It's not happening for Steve Morison in a Leeds United shirt though. The former Norwich front man is struggling to make an impact and at times didn't look interested at the King Power Stadium.
We should have beaten Wolves, we should have beaten Middlesbrough, we should have beaten Blackburn and we were so close to beating Leicester. Imagine where we would be now if we had got what should have from those games. It's the same what ifs with Leeds United and they are the reason we will probably looking at another season in the second tier of English football unless we can turn these away draws into wins.