Leeds 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1
Ross McCormack reminded Scotland manager Gordon Strachan of his talents with a fine solo goal to earn Leeds a point against Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday.
McCormack, for whom Leeds have rejected two recent bids from Sky Bet Championship rivals Middlesbrough, skipped round Wednesday defender Kamil Zayatte and finished with a low shot under goalkeeper Chris Kirkland early in the second half.
His brilliant effort, which cancelled out Wednesday’s first-half opener from Zayatte, made his omission from Strachan’s Scotland squad for the midweek defeat against England at Wembley all the more puzzling and maintained Leeds’ unbeaten start to the season.
Wednesday, chasing their first win of the campaign after successive 2-1 defeats to QPR and Burnley, were grateful to register their first point from a derby clash that took time to come to the boil.
A disappointing crowd of 23,766 for a game televised live on Sky Sports had to wait until the 26th minute for the first shot on goal when Wednesday midfielder Liam Palmer dragged his angled effort across the face of goal.
It was a disjointed contest with Leeds striker Dominic Poleon offering the home fans a modicum of excitement after twice breaking free to run on goal before being crowded out.
Leeds midfielder McCormack produced a rare moment of class in the 32nd minute when he evaded his marker and forced Wednesday goalkeeper Kirkland to tip over a deft chip from the edge of the penalty area.
But the visitors broke the deadlock four minutes later.
Jeremy Helan’s deep corner was headed back across the six-yard box by Michail Antonio and Zayatte was free to steer his header beyond Leeds goalkeeper Paddy Kenny.
Wednesday were inches away from a second goal in first-half injury-time when Antonio’s header from another deep corner, this time from Chris Maguire, bounced the wrong side of the post.
Leeds midfielder Luke Murphy curled a shot over the crossbar early in the second half before McCormack lit-up Elland Road with a sublime solo goal in the 54th minute.
The Scot ran on to Luke Varney’s pass, skipped round a wrong-footed Zayatte and slid the ball under Kirkland from just inside the area.
Wednesday boss Dave Jones sent on substitutes Reda Johnson, for his first appearance of the season, and summer signing Jacques Maghoma in quick succession with 20 minutes remaining.
Leeds counterpart Brian McDermott responded by sending on big striker Matt Smith for Varney, but the visitors threatened to regain the lead when Antonio’s thumping low shot was well saved by Kenny.
The Leeds goalkeeper kept out another drive from Antonio in the closing stages as both sides went in search of the winner and at the other end McCormack’s stoppage-time free-kick crashed into Wednesday’s defensive wall to ensure it ended all-square.