Championship: Leeds United rescue 1-1 draw against Birmingham at St Andrew's
Last Updated: 13/09/14 8:24pm
Alex Mowatt grabbed a 1-1 draw for Leeds against Birmingham in the Championship at St Andrew's on Saturday.
Birmingham had appeared to be heading for only their second win of the season following a 37th-minute goal from Wes Thomas but Leeds staged a late revival to salvage a draw,
Earlier Birmingham had been inspired by the inclusion of Brek Shea, brought to the club on a three-month loan from Stoke. Shea provided a persistent threat and in his pink boots the American international created the chance from which Thomas grabbed the opening goal.
Leeds, who completed an easy double over Birmingham last season, displayed few indications they could repeat that as they were subjected to long spells of pressure until they found some late attacking form.
With both teams languishing in the lower reaches of the table and seeing the game as an opportunity to grab a valuable win, it developed into a cut-and-thrust encounter.
Neither attack had been prolific this season and it was clear both were lacking in menace again.
The introduction of Shea was an inspirational move as he quickly demonstrated a potential threat down the left with some clever, confident play.
The fair-haired US player popped up to produce a powerful swinging long-range drive which Marco Silvestri saved with some ease.
Leeds had a lucky escape in the 16th minute. Goalkeeper Darren Randolph delayed his clearance and advanced well out of the penalty area before launching a long, high clearance which the retreating Giuseppe Bellusci nearly put into his own goal with a glancing header.
Birmingham may have enjoyed most of the attacking play but the lack of real goal power was evident as Leeds usually mopped up any threat of danger.
Even when Clayton Donaldson managed to create space for himself, he conspired to guide his low shot from the left wide of the far post.
But in the 37th minute Birmingham's attacking superiority paid off when Thomas latched on to a pass from Shea, and turned past Bellusci before whipping in a shot from the left which not only opened the scoring but broke the post supporting the net, holding up the game for eight minutes.
Shea was involved again two minutes into the second half when his header from David Cotterill's free-kick sailed just over the bar.
Leeds were forced into a rearguard effort, looking to score on the occasional break.
The West Yorkshire side finally had the Birmingham goal in their sights when 19-year-old midfielder Mowatt struck a long-range effort which had Randolph flinging himself to his left to bring off a good save.
It was the introduction of Rudolph Austin which appeared to lift Leeds and there was more purpose about their play.
Their equaliser came in the 76th minute when Tommaso Bianchi's cross was poorly cleared by Neal Eardley and Mowatt took full advantage to hammer an angled low shot past Randolph.
Birmingham teenager Demarai Gray took over from Shea and led Leeds a merry dance. He waltzed through on one occasion only to be booked for diving in the penalty area after a tackle by Bellusci.