A Jermaine Jenas strike at the very end of the first half denied Leeds United a priceless victory at Queens Park Rangers.
The former England midfielder took advantage of a brief lapse in United’s defence to cancel out Ross McCormack’s free-kick and hold Leeds to a draw in London.
United were hoping to make up serious ground on the Championship’s top six but have now taken two wins from 12 games with two months of the season remaining.
Brian McDermott’s side almost made the perfect start when Richard Dunne was penalised for a foul on McCormack inside QPR’s box in the 11th minute.
The striker shaped up for his 24th goal of the season but Robert Green outwitted him, diving to his left to save a low penalty with one hand.
But McCormack made amends within three minutes when he dipped a free-kick over QPR’s wall and beat Green with the aid of a big deflection.
United dominated the first half with their most comprehensive away display of the season and Jack Butland did not have a save to make until he claimed Jenas’ weak header on 41 minutes.
Wickham came close to second goal for Leeds but pulled a shot narrowly wide and another chance for McCormack was averted by a deflection which carried the ball behind.
But Rangers grabbed a lifeline on 45 minutes when Jenas ran into space 18 yards from goal and picked out the corner of Butland’s net.
The United keeper kept the score level right at the start of the second half when he got his right leg to a shot from Armand Traore but Wickham was inches away from a debut goal on 63 minutes when a mistake by QPR allowed him to shoot. His finish beat Green but carried beyond the far post.
The match began to lose its way in the final 20 minutes, however, and Green’s late save from a Wickham header was followed by an offside flag which denied Clint Hill an injury-time winner for Rangers.
Queens Park Rangers: Green, Hughes, Onuoha, Dunne, Hill, Traore, Jenas (Carroll 82), Henry, Hoilett (Keane 62), Morrison (Benayoun 85), Doyle. Subs (not used): Murphy, Yun, Sendles-White, Maiga.
Leeds United: Butland, Peltier, Lees, Pearce, Warnock, Murphy (Brown 81), Austin, Stewart (Mowatt 70), Kebe (Byram 90), Wickham, McCormack. Subs (not used): Smith, Hunt, Wootton, Cairns.