LEEDS UNITED 1 BARNSLEY 0

Derby tussle: Tomasz Cywka for the Reds against Leeds

Derby tussle: Tomasz Cywka for the Reds against Leeds

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BARNSLEY dominated the first half but were beaten by a 42nd minute Becchio spot kick.

The sizeable Reds following inside Elland Road helped create a cracking atmosphere as the two sides went down the pre-match handshake line.

Barnsley threatened first, with Harewood touching the ball to Perkins and the tiny midfielder smashing a great 20-yard drive inches over the crossbar. The visitors ought to have broken the deadlock in the fifth minute.

A super move down the Leeds left culminated with Cywka crossing invitingly for Mellis who somehow volleyed a shot wide from the edge of the six-yard box.

Perkins floated in a perfectly-weighted pass to Mellis who was hovering unmarked close to the penalty box, but as the former Chelsea youngster swivelled and volleyed in a well-struck shot, Kenny had managed to place himself ideally and clutched the ball comfortably.

Leeds midfielder Austin as he slid in clumsily on Cywka and earned himself a well-deserved yellow card.Down the Reds’ left Diouf skipped neatly past Golbourne and crossed in superbly for Becchio, but thankfully the Leeds hit-man could only thump his diving header over from eight yards.

Austin drove a shot over from the acutest of angles, and Warnock’s men were eyeing a route back into contention. As is so often the case the dominant team went on to pay for their missed chances, with Leeds breaking the deadlock three minutes from half-time.

There was a hint of controversy following the award of the penalty from which the hosts scored. It was a clumsy block by Foster to halt the onrushing Peltier, but the Reds bench complained that the offence occurred outside the box.

The man in the middle was in no doubt though, and up stepped BECCHIO to cheekily chip home his spot-kick in true Pirlo style.

HALF-TIME

Leeds.............1

Barnsley........0

Foster was replaced by Hassell at half-time, with fans left wondering whether that was a tactical move or down to his troublesome back.

Leeds looked like they’d had a rocket from boss Warnock at the interval and they looked like a different side early in the second period. Austin powered in a super shot from almost 30 yards which forced Alnwick into a smart stop, then Becchio came close to registering his tenth goal of the season.

He raced in to meet White’s cross from the left, but scuffed his shot and Alnwick was able to gather the ball reasonably comfortably.

Some of Barnsley’s passing was now going slightly astray as Hill and Flitcroft became ever more animated on the touchline.

The visitors did respond though, and were certainly not out of this one yet, with still a quarter of the game to go. Cywka twisted and turned before playing in grafter Dawson, only for the Reds’ midfielder to see his low drive deflected wide for a corner-kick which came to nothing.

Hill’s men went mighty close with 20 minutes remaining. After Mellis’s inswinging corner-kick wasn’t cleared, the ball fell perfectly for Harewood barely three yards out, but he was denied by a brilliant point-blank stop from Kenny.

Time was running out for Barnsley and after that an equaliser looked less and less likely.

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