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Bobby Thomas header denies Leeds chance to close on automatic promotion places

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 16 Dec 2023

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Leeds missed the chance to close the gap on the Championship’s automatic promotion places as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Coventry at Elland Road.

Second-placed Ipswich had drawn 2-2 at Norwich in the early kick off but Daniel Farke’s side failed to take advantage.

Crysencio Summerville opened the scoring with nearly an hour gone after being set up by Georginio Rutter.

Defender Bobby Thomas hit back with 66 minutes played as he rose highest to head home.

Leeds did not start at their usual fast pace which had seen them win seven Championship home matches in a row.

Ben Sheaf’s fine tackle denied Joel Piroe a chance to shoot as Leeds looked to add a goal to their early dominance.

Sheaf brought a save out of Illan Meslier with a shot from the edge of the area.

Tatsuhiro Sakamoto then shot wide from a similar position as Coventry created another opening.

Leeds twice went close as first Glen Kamara was crowded out in the Coventry area and then Rutter failed to get a touch to a low Dan James cross.

James fell in the Coventry area under pressure from Joel Latibeaudiere as they chased an Ethan Ampadu pass but referee Geoff Eltringham rightly ruled there was no contact.

Leeds were guilty of trying to be too cute at both ends of the pitch and Rutter’s touch which failed to put Archie Gray through with a run on goal was typical of that.

Rutter flashed a shot just wide, Thomas blocked the French striker’s low cross and Joe Rodon headed a corner off target as Leeds looked for an opening.

Ampadu blocked Sheaf’s pass and Summerville fed Rutter but his missed shot meant another chance went begging in a goalless first half.

Leeds began the second period camped in the Coventry half but were unable once again to turn their early dominance into a real chance.

Rutter’s shot was blocked in the area but he had a telling contribution to the opening goal after 57 minutes.

Ampadu fed Rutter and his clever touch and pass set up Summerville who curled a low shot around the dive of Brad Collins.

Collins pulled off a one-handed save to deny James who shot on the turn and Coventry made Leeds pay for wasted chances as Thomas headed home the equaliser.

Sakamoto’s cross from the right saw the defender rise highest in the area to head past Meslier.

Substitute Callum O’Hare should have made it 2-1 to the visitors but could not connect with a low cross.

Summerville’s attempt at a repeat of his goal was repelled by Collins who also denied Rutter twice in quick succession and James hooked just wide in stoppage time as Coventry held on.

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