LEEDS UNITED 2 - 0 BURTON ALBIONAlbion's away day woes continued as Leeds United left it late but ultimately ground out a 2-0 victory over the Brewers thanks to Chris Wood's 83rd minute penalty and substitute Souleymane Doukara's stoppage time breakaway effort.
The Brewers had more than matched their illustrious hosts over the course of the game and arguably could and should have been in front having hit the Leeds woodwork and seeing a Ben Turner header cleared off the line in the early stages but three goalless away games have yielded just one point when the performances have deserved so much more.
Wood broke the deadlock when referee Jeremy Simpson penalised Ben Turner for a challenge on Doukara as the substitute burst into the box. It looked a marginal decision but Wood made no mistake and having been denied his shot on goal by Turner for the penalty Doukara bagged himself a goal deep into added on time as the home side countered from Burton's free kick on the edge of the Leeds penalty area. For Albion a 2-0 defeat was a bitter pill to swallow having played their part in another thrilling Championship encounter.
Tom Naylor dropped to the bench for the visit to Elland Road. With both Naylor and midfield partner Jackson Irvine walking the disciplinary tightrope of four yellow cards it was probably a sensible decision to leave one of them out to avoid both picking up a one match suspension due to accumulated yellow cards. The experienced Lee Williamson was drafted into the midfield with the rest of the side unchanged from the 2-nil victory over Birmingham last time out at the Pirelli. After missing the last two games through illness Stuart Beavon returned to a strong looking bench as the Brewers looked to end Leeds six game unbeaten home record.
Burton kicked off and started positively winning a corner inside 60 seconds of the game starting. Matty Palmer swung in the corner kick and Ben Turner got up superbly to head towards goal. The home side were grateful to have Eunan O'Kane stationed on the post to head away off the line with Rob Green in the Leeds goal looking like he was nowhere near it.
Leeds responded with a lightning burst down the left from former Oxford frontman Kemar Roofe who tried to pick out Wood in the middle, Kyle McFadzean getting in an important clearance to prevent the danger. Albion were straight on the attack again with Jamie Ward tricking his way into a good crossing position on the left and aiming for the near post where Chris O'Grady got there at the same time as Green to force the ball behind.
The home side began to exert some pressure with Pablo Hernandez showing promise down the Leeds right and winning a corner off Turner that built up some pressure on the Burton goal through a succession of corners, Luke Ayling firing in a shot that was blocked inside the area by Irvine after Jon McLaughlin had punched clear under pressure inside his six yard box.
Hernandez switched to the middle on 14 minutes and was played through on goal from a direct ball over the top of the Burton defence which had pushed up. Fortunately Kyle McFadzean had the pace to stick with him and was able to do just enough to enable McLaughlin to come off his line and snuff out the threat.
Leeds went close to opening the scoring on 23 minutes when Hadi Sacko was allowed to race away down the right. Looking for the run of Roofe inside the six yard box the winger tried to pick out his colleague but McFadzean was on hand once again to get in a vital block that enabled Williamson to do the clearing up.
The home support began to crank up the atmosphere as they showed their frustration at a few refereeing decisions that did not go their way, with Ben Turner incurring their ire as he was fouled twice by Chris Wood with referee Jeremy Simpson giving Albion the benefit of the decisions.
Burton hit the woodwork on 36 minutes as they looked to make the most of a free kick on the left. Lloyd Dyer was flattened as he met Turner's header and when Palmer swung in the free kick Turner got up highest to challenge forcing Leeds skipper Kyle Bartley to send a looping header against the face of the bar with Green only really reacting after the ball had hit the bar, palming it out for a corner under pressure at his near post.
It was end to end stuff as half time approached. Turner had to resume defensive duties when Sacko had him one on one but the big Burton defender showed all his experience to make his challenge at exactly the right time, blocking the cross before it could cause any real danger.
The first card of a keenly fought first half went to O'Kane on the stroke of half time. Leeds surrendered possession allowing Akins to make a burst through the middle only to be upended inside the centre circle with referee Simpson brandishing a card that could hardly be argued.
Half time: Leeds United 0-0 Burton Albion
Ward did not reappear for the second half as Stuart Beavon came on as the players emerged after the break. The experienced frontman quickly had a chance to make the best possible impression muscling his way into a shooting position to get on the end of a headed knock down from O'Grady only to lift his first time shot over the angle of post and bar.
An excellent chance went begging for Albion on 50 minutes as Beavon made an intelligent run onto Palmer's free kick and got his cross into the box. O'Grady headed back across the danger area and Turner was there with a great chance to head home but he could not keep his header down.
It was turning into a very open game and as Albion attacked Leeds looked very capable on the counter although all too often things broke down around the final pass.
When they did get it right the home side they were inches away from breaking the deadlock. Ayling was allowed to burst forwards from his right back berth and slipping the ball through to Roofe it looked all set for 1-0 only for Roofe to slide his shot marginally past the post.
Akins was booked for a clumsy challenge on Roofe that allowed Leeds to pile a free kick into the Albion box but once again Turner was ther man on hand to clear the danger as Hernandez swung the ball into the edge of the area.
The home side sensed a goal was coming and John Brayford had to get in a vital header to prevent Wood getting a free header to Hernandez's cross before McLaughlin showed safe hands to hold on to Roofe's low shot from 15 yards.
Albion's defence was looking a little stretched at times as Leeds cranked up the pressure on the pitch and the home fans did the same with the atmosphere from the stands. Brayford got in another excellent block before Hernandez lashed a fizzing drive over the bar as the game headed towards the final twenty minutes.
O'Grady flashed a header over the bar on 73 minutes as Palmer tried to pull the strings from both corners and free kicks and as the clock continued to run down Leeds made a change with Roofe making way for Souleymane Doukara.
Pontus Jansson went in the book for a rather late and clumsy challenge on Beavon which gave Palmer another chance to try and conjure something up. Before he had chance to take it Albion introduced Naylor for Williamson. When the free kick did come in the ball was fired disappointingly straight into the defensive wall.
82 minutes were on the clock when Leeds were awarded a penalty. It looked a very harsh award as Doukara burst into the box and was challenged by Turner with what looked like a well timed tackle. Referee Simpson saw it differently and gave Leeds the penalty and booked Turner in the process. After a slight delay following objects being thrown on to the pitch WOOD stepped up nervelessly to smash the ball home from 12 yards.
Leeds sent on Ronaldo Vieira for the closing moments in place of Hernandez as Albion looked for an equaliser. They almost got it too as a long throw from Turner was flicked on by O'Grady with Naylor firing a low shot straight at Green.
Leeds almost grabbed a barely deserved second as a hurried clearance from McLaughlin landed at the feet of Kalvin Phillips, the midfielder lashing a shot straight at McLaughlin who calmly beat it away but worse was to come for Nigel Clough's men.
With the game deep into five minutes of added on time Albion had half shouts for a penalty of their own when Beavon seemed to be shoved off the ball before the Brewers were awarded a free kick right on the edge of the box when Palmer was upended. Leeds manfully blocked three shots on goal from Palmer, Irvine and Naylor before breaking up the pitch through Wood who played Doukara through on goal. When Brayford challenged him just inside the box it looked like the chance had gone but the substitute picked himself up to poke the ball over the line for Leeds second goal. It was undoubtedly harsh on Albion who deserved better from another excellent away performance but once again one that they left with no reward for their not inconsiderable efforts.