Date: 8th April 2018 at 9:21am
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Leeds United head coach Paul Heckingbottom felt his side lacked quality in the final third, as they had to come from behind to earn a point against Sunderland.

Pablo Hernandez scored an equaliser for Leeds with just 18 minutes remaining after Paddy McNair had given Sunderland an early second-half lead.

Leeds hit the woodwork three times but they owed a lot to goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell, who kept Leeds in the game with a string of fine saves including two outstanding saves in injury time to deny Ashley Fletcher and Callum McManaman.

Heckingbottom felt Leeds wasted their best opportunities with a lack of conviction and quality in the final third of the pitch.

“The game had everything in it, but it wasn’t the result we wanted,” Heckingbottom told the Leeds official website.

“Having gone behind, when we did make changes we were really going to open the game up, because of the players we had available and luckily for us it got us back in the game.

“Both teams had chances to score and we knew it was going to be like that because at this stage of the season Sunderland were going to throw everything at us, it was like a cup final.

“We had moments in the game, but there was a little lack of quality or the wrong decision made in the final third.

“I thought that was the trend in the game and even when it opened up, we didn’t have as many efforts on goal as we would have liked, simply because of the final pass or the reluctance to get a shot away.

“The hardest thing in the game is to put the ball in the back of the net and we needed to get more bodies in the box.”

Leeds had chances in the first half. Ronaldo Vieira hit a post and Hernandez was denied what would have been a superb goal by the outstretched knee of Sunderland goalkeeper Lee Camp.

Ashley Fletcher also hit the woodwork for Sunderland in the first half as his close-range header hit the crossbar.

McNair opened the scoring for Sunderland in the opening minutes of the second half when he smashed the ball past Peacock-Farrell from a tight angle.

Sunderland had chances to double the lead with McNair twice going close as well as chances for George Honeyman and Aiden McGeady.

Leeds drew level with just 18 minutes remaining when a sweeping move eventually found Hernandez and he cut in from the left before curling a ball into the opposite corner of the net.

Ezgjan Alioski and Samu Saiz both hit the woodwork for Leeds in the final ten minutes as they searched for a winner but their chances of three points were dealt a blow in the final minute of normal time when Gaetano Berardi was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Callum McManaman.

Peacock-Farrell ensured Leeds claimed a point as he firstly produced an instinctive save from close range to deny Fletcher’s header and then another reflex save denied McManaman.

Leeds must now prepare for two tough away games in the next week. Preston North End are first up on Tuesday night followed by a trip to Aston Villa on Friday evening.

 

 

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