Yorkshire Evening Post 20/12/14
NEIL REDFEARN hailed a dogged performance from his Leeds United side, who started to put several painful recent episodes on the road behind them with a gritty point in a 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest.
Leeds battled back from a 1-0 interval deficit to claim a share of the spoils in front of the TV cameras after Billy Sharp, playing against one of his former clubs, netted a 54th-minute penalty in his first start since September 16.
United started the game in 20th position in the Championship and suffered a further blow moments before the break when Matty Fryatt latched onto Michael Mancienne’s header to net from close range.
It was another poor concession from Leeds, but to their credit, Redfearn’s side manufactured a leveller in the second half with Roger East showing no hesitation in pointing to the spot after Danny Fox brought down Sam Byram.
Sharp blasted home the penalty, just his second goal since joining Leeds.
That said, Leeds were indebted to a couple of controversial calls from the officials with goals in the 21st and 61st minutes from Fryatt chalked off due to offside, with replays showing that both goals were onside.
But even accounting for that controversy, Redfearn felt his side were full value for a point, with the head coach believing that in Lewis Cook, Leeds possessed the stand-out player on the pitch on the day by a country mile.
Redfearn said: “I thought the players were excellent with the way we applied ourselves and competed and battled and fought.
“I thought we deserved to keep a clean sheet in the first half and the goal wasn’t good from our point of view.
“But I thought the overall performance and the diligence and the way we went to a 4-4-2 to see out the game made it a really good away performance.
“We have got it right at home and have picked up results and played well. But we were dogged today, which was a good sign. What you will find is that eventually you will turn those draws into wins away from home.
“We came in at half-time and it was a positive spin as we had done well. We were upbeat and wanted to make sure we were on the front foot and positive in the second half and we did exactly that.
“It was a great run from Sam Byram to get brought down for the penalty and I was pleased for Billy Sharp. I thought he earned his penalty as he worked so hard for the team.”
Saluting the performance also of keeper Marco Silvestri, who made some key saves, particularly in the second half, he added: “Some of the saves were out of the top-drawer. We have some young guys who are outstanding talents.”