Grayson happy to take long view despite Leeds' short-term failings
Leicester City 2 Leeds United 2
Monday 27 December 2010
Two years ago to the day, Simon Grayson was appointed as Leeds United's manager as they struggled in League One. It's a mark of their progress that Grayson can mark his anniversary with Leeds sitting pretty towards the top of the Championship, yet still feel frustrated at this result.
As a sixth win on the bounce appeared on the cards, Leeds were given a jolt even those frustrated Leicester City fans would have seen coming.
In total control with less than 20 minutes remaining, Leeds somehow squandered a win here after late goals from Paul Gallagher and Andy King.
"We dictated play against a top team who will be a major force in the second half of the season," said Grayson. "It shows just how far we have come, that we are disappointed. Two years ago we were struggling in a division and managed to get out of it.
"We first set out to consolidate but there's big expectancy levels here. Our fans deserve Premiership football with the numbers they turn out in, home or away, but whether it's this year or next, the club deserves to be back up there."
Leeds dominated for long periods, so it was no surprise when Max Gradel opened the scoring in the 19th minute, the smallest player on the pitch meeting Neil Kilkenny's cross after Kyle Naughton's slip. Leicester offered little and, as they huffed and puffed, Robert Snodgrass struck home a fine 55th-minute strike that flew past Chris Kirkland. But they were given a reality check when Gallagher struck home in the 72nd minute to throw the hosts a lifeline.
Snodgrass appeared to be fouled, but as referee Tony Bates allowed play to continue, Darius Vassell broke free to be hauled down by Kasper Schmeichel. Bates incurred the wrath of the Leicester supporters as he handed the Leeds stopper a yellow, rather than the red card most were expecting.
But just four minutes later King struck his wonder goal to stun the visitors, the Leicester captain finding space 25 yards out and his dipping volley sailed over Schmeichel's head for the leveller few saw coming.
"We showed we can fight," said the Leicester manager, Sven Goran Eriksson. "We didn't lose that game as we showed a lot of character. To come back like we did was good for the future. We have to do better if we want to talk about promotion. We have to work hard and believe what we're doing. But we need to get in some fresh players."
Leicester City (4-4-2): Kirkland; Naughton, Davies, Hobbs, Cunningham; Abe (Dyer, 65), Wellens, King, Gallagher; Vassell, Howard (Bednar, 65) Substitutes not used Weale, Morrison, Oakley, Waghorn, Moussa.
Leeds United (4-5-1): Schmeichel; Connolly, Collins, O'Brien, McCarthy; Snodgrass, Kilkenny (Faye, 90), Howson (McCormack, 85), Johnson; Gradel; Becchio (Paynter, 85) Substitutes not used Higgs, Bruce, Sam, Bromby.
Referee A Bates (Staffordshire).
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