Football: Rangers put Leeds further in the red

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The Independent Online
Leeds United. . . . . . . . .1

Queen's Park Rangers. . . . .1

THE pursuit of Manchester United became a little more forlorn for Leeds last night as Queen's Park Rangers restricted them to a point before the largest crowd of the season at Elland Road. They deserved no greater reward for a disappointingly limp performance in a match of few redeeming moments and the gap they must endeavour to close when they confront the champions at Old Trafford on Saturday has widened to 14 points.

The Londoners had Les Ferdinand back in their vanguard after serving his suspension but played with much less adventure than one expects from them. Leeds forced them to defend for long periods yet lacked a cutting edge, although their cause was undermined midway through the first half when Rod Wallace sustained an injury.

The withdrawal of Wallace placed greater responsibility on David White on his Leeds debut. His contribution was bright and positive, initially at least. At 26, he should still have good years ahead of him but it is hard to imagine him adding particular distinction to the Bremner succession after being given the No 4 shirt most recently worn by David Batty.

Rangers enjoyed some luck when Gary McAllister, the Leeds captain, put the ball in the net from a 20-yard free-kick, then hit an upright when the referee, unhappy about the positioning of the wall, ordered a retake. But they were noticeably more ambitious in the second half, having been suitably chastised by their manager Gerry Francis, and went ahead with slightly more than an hour gone.

The full-back Clive Wilson made a penetrating run into the Leeds half and supplied a sweet pass to Clive Sinclair on the right flank, which the winger matched with a fine, low cross met with force and precision by Michael Meaker at the far post.

Even when Leeds drew level it was with a hint of fortune, the referee awarding a goal in spite of Rangers' protests, judging that Steve Hodge, lunging at Brian Deane's flicked header, had forced the ball over the line before Stejskal could grasp it.

Leeds United (4-4-2): Beeney; Kelly, Fairclough, Newsome, Dorigo; White, McAllister, Hodge, Strachan; Deane, Wallace (Sharp, 24). Substitutes not used: Pemberton, Lukic (gk).

Queen's Park Rangers (4-4-2): Stejskal; Bardsley, Peacock, Yates, Wilson; Sinclair (Impey, 89), Wilkins, Holloway, Meaker; Penrice, Ferdinand. Substitutes not used: Brevett, Roberts (gk).

Referee: M Reed (Birmingham).

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