Last-gasp Healy earns point
By Alex Dunn
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
David Healy's last-gasp penalty earned a 1-1 draw for Leeds at West Ham.David Healy's controversial penalty in injury time was enough to earn Leeds a point as they fought out a 1-1 stalemate at West Ham.
The Northern Ireland striker looked to have won the decision when he crumpled under Steve Lomas' minimal contact, after the home side had bossed the second half.
A Luke Chadwick goal seemed to have earned West Ham a third consecutive victory but Healy's late intervention brought much-needed relief to Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell.
Two sides with loftier ambitions than their present Championship status drew a sell-out crowd to Upton Park on a cold Friday night in East London.
Three years ago and a Leeds victory over West Ham took them to the summit of The Premiership but such is their fall, that survival in English football's second tier is now a priority.
Schooled on a tradition of stylish football, the West Ham faithful have also been critical of Alan Pardew more than once this term and in the first period, it was their Yorkshire visitors that shaded the proceedings.
Still it was Sergei Rebrov, once an £11 million striker, that threatened to break the deadlock as early as the second minute when his snap-shot from the edge of the box brought a smart stop from Neil Sullivan.
The Ukrainian's effort was failed to be built on and it was Brian Deane that went the closest to registering, when he clipped the West Ham bar with a curling effort after Darren Powell's backpass had left Stephen Bywater wholly exposed.
Deane's strike partner, the lively Healy, then conjured a chance with an opportunistic lob from distance but Bywater was equal to it - as Leeds' previously maligned Sean Gregan began to boss the midfield with a powerful display.
Healy's daisy-cutter forced another stop from Bywater before Anton Ferdinand was left the most relieved man in Upton Park after his awkward tackle upended Danny Pugh in the box but referee, Mike Pike, declined to concur with Leeds' appeals.
The last action of a half in which West Ham struggled to penetrate, saw Gregan connect sweetly but without real conviction as Bywater grasped possession at his near post.
Teddy Sheringham's introduction from the bench brought with it a touch of class to a game short of guile and it was the Londoners that bossed possession for much of the second half.
It would take just four minutes for Leeds' current slump to intensify when, after Marlon Harewood had made a mess of Matthew Etherington's devilish delivery, Matthew Kilgallon's inadvertent intervention only played the ball into the path of Chadwick who poked home from close range.
The goal buoyed the home side and save for an ugly Deane shank from Healy's clever cut-back, Leeds were largely on the periphery for the rest of the contest.
Bright approach play from Sheringham and Harewood deserved more than Lomas' indecision when he was played in, while Paul Butler seemed to know little of Powell's header that struck him full in the face to prevent West Ham doubling their advantage.
With Leeds stretched in their pursuit of a leveller, Sheringham brought a double-handed parry from Sullivan with a trademark header, as West Ham finally began to play with the fluidity one would expect from a squad that houses such capabilities.
However, in the final minute, Powell survived a penalty appeal when the ball seemed to strike his hand, before Lomas failed to garner similar leniency from referee Pike.
Healy slotted home with poise and aplomb to leave the home side bitter and send those who had made the long trip south, home with a smile.