NEIL Redfearn admitted that Leeds United were all but assured of Championship survival and urged his side to finish the season in style after upsetting the league’s promotion fight again.
Leeds came through a pulsating finish to inflict a 2-1 defeat on Ipswich Town on Wednesday night and effectively confirm their status as a second-tier club for next term.
A low-key match came to life spectacularly in the final 19 minutes as goals from Alex Mowatt and Billy Sharp either side of Freddie Sears’ equaliser saw Leeds take the scalp of another team with designs on a top-six finish.
United have already completed home-and-away doubles over league leaders Middlesbrough and Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth, and Derby County were beaten at Elland Road before Christmas.
An 84th-minute penalty failed to rescue Ipswich as goalkeeper Marco Silvestri – at fault for Sears’ effort – pulled off a brilliant save to deny Championship top scorer Daryl Murphy.
Leeds are now on 44 points, 13 ahead of Wigan Athletic in 21st, and Redfearn said: “You want to be safe mathematically because people can put runs together but it’s a big ask for the third bottom side (Wigan) to go on that sort of run now. There’s only 11 games left and they’re going to have to win half their games which they haven’t done all season. But you never say never.
I’m totally and utterly p****d off. We should never have lost that game.Mick McCarthy
“From our point of view we want to finish the season well anyway. We’d like to have a really good run-in and take this into next season.”
Silvestri took the praise after his timely intervention but Redfearn said: “The game was won and lost in midfield. We absolutely dominated that area. As it was going it looked like it was going to be 0-0 but it really opened up in the end. I thought we were the better side.”
Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy vented his frustration afterwards.
“I’m totally and utterly p****d off,” he said. “We should never have lost that game.”