Stuart Dallas described a 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town as “a good point to build on” after his equaliser averted defeat at Portman Road and consolidated Leeds United’s play-off position.
Leeds edged seven points clear of the clubs beneath the Championship’s top six by recovering from an early Freddie Sears goal in Suffolk.
Sears drew first blood after only nine minutes as Ipswich took control on a difficult pitch but Dallas struck just before half-time to bring Leeds level and United survived a number of Ipswich chances after the interval to claim a draw.
Leeds, who remain fifth in the table and above Sheffield Wednesday on goals scored ahead of the clubs’ derby at Elland Road next weekend, moved further ahead of seventh-placed Norwich City after Alex Neil’s side lost at Burton Albion.
Dallas admitted that United had “settled for a point” towards the end of a competitive contest at Portman Road but said: “It was important that we came here and didn’t get beat.
“Obviously we wanted to win the game but if you can’t win it then you’ve got to make sure you don’t lose and we showed again that we’ve got a great determination.
“There were a few tired legs and I think in the end we kind of settled for a point but it’s a good point for us and it gives us something to build on.
“Coming here isn’t easy, against a good Ipswich team, a physical team, and on a pitch that wasn’t really suitable for playing football. We dug in.”
Dallas turned home a shot from point-blank range on 42 minutes, sliding in front of Ipswich right-back Jordan Spence to finish after Chris Wood flicked on a cross from Hadi Sacko.
The effort was United’s only shot on target and Ipswich striker David McGoldrick hit the crossbar midway through the second half as the hosts enjoyed the best of the opportunities.
Dallas failed to find the net in the first half of this season but the Northern Ireland international has claimed three goals in the past two months and he made the most of head coach Garry Monk’s decision to start him ahead of Kemar Roofe.
“It’s a ball to the back post and I gambled on Woody who’s flicked it on,” Dallas said.
“As soon as the cross was made it was between me and the full-back (Spence).
“I guess it was all about desire and hunger and who wants it first. I was able to get there.”