Leeds United drop points despite Byram goal

Luke Varney gets a shot in for Leeds United against Peterborough. Picture: IAN HARBER

Luke Varney gets a shot in for Leeds United against Peterborough. Picture: IAN HARBER

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Leeds United missed yet another chance to close the gap on the top six when they were held to a 1-1 draw by lowly Peterborough at Elland Road.

The Whites were trailing early on and could have been further behind, but hit back through Sam Byram after the break and missed some golden chances to clinch a win that could have taken them to within three points of a play-off place.

Pacy striker Dwight Gayle was a real thorn in Leeds’ side all night and had already hit the crossbar with one effort before he fired Posh in front in the 15th minute with a terrific shot into the top corner after taking on Lee Peltier in the box.

Peterborough came close to a second when Paddy Kenny saved well to deny Lee Tomlin’s well struck 25-yard shot after he had run through the home midfield.

An easier save for Kenny from Gabriel Zakuani kept United in the game, but they went on to dominate the rest of the first half after finally getting a foothold in midfield.

However, despite plenty of pressure Leeds failed to find the net as Stephen Warnock hit a volley wide from Luke Varney’s cross, centre-back Jason Pearce - on as substitute for hip injury victim Tom Lees - somehow sent a free header from six yards over with the goal gaping, Paul Green shot straight at keeper Robert Olejnik and Steve Morison lazily shot over when well placed in the box to meet Green’s pass.

Morison went off at half-time injured - to be replaced by El Hadji Diouf, and Leeds carried on where they left off in the opening half with Varney and Pearce sending headers wide.

It seemed a goal had to come and it arrived on 57 minutes when Byram met Warnock’s corner at the back post to shoot home his fourth goal in senior football.

United swarmed forward looking for more and Varney had the ball in the net again only to be ruled offside.

They lived dangerously at the back at times and Warnock came close to being sent off for a pull back on Gayle after a misunderstanding outside the area with Kenny. Grant McCann sent the resulting free-kick over and hit another shot well over.

Gayle saw a 25-yarder well tipped over by Kenny and Peterborough felt hard done to when Tomlin was tripped by Peltier right on the edge of the box according to referee Simon Hooper when the Posh striker fell inside the area.

But Leeds should have won it late on as Varney shot wide from inside the box, Rodolph Austin hit a 20-yard shot straight at the keeper and Pearce again was off target with a golden opportunity from Green’s cross.

Match facts

Leeds United 1

(Byram 57)

Peterborough United 1

(Gayle 15)

Saturday, March 12, 2013

Npower Championship

Att: 24,240

Leeds: Kenny, Byram, Lees (Pearce 26), Peltier, Warnock, Green, Norris (Austin 81), Tonge, Varney, McCormack, Morison (Diouf 45).

Peterborough: Olejnik, Little, Bostwick, Zakuani, Payne, Ferdinand (Barnett), Swanson (McCann 63), Knight-Percival, Rowe, Tomlin, Gayle.

Referee: Simon Hooper.