Aston Villa 1 Leeds United 1: Woodwork thwarts Whites in Villa draw

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LEEDS United were twice denied by the crossbar as Jonathan Kodjia’s 86th-minute penalty denied the Whites a ninth win in 11 league games in a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa.

After a goalless first half, Pontus Jansson’s bullet header gave United a 54th-minute lead and the Swede then volleyed a thunderous effort against the bar just one minute later.

Alan Hutton and Stuart Dallas chase the ball.' Picture Bruce Rollinson

Alan Hutton and Stuart Dallas chase the ball.' Picture Bruce Rollinson

Villa were then awarded an 86th minute penalty when Liam Cooper handballed in the area and Jonathan Kodjia smashed home the spot kick to draw the hosts level.

But United were again denied by the woodwork just two minutes later when Hadi Sacko’s effort deflected on to the bar and dropped into the six-yard box before being hacked away to safety.

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Pontus Jansson celebrates his opening goal in front of the travelling fans.' Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Pontus Jansson celebrates his opening goal in front of the travelling fans.' Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

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Villa made a ferocious start and Leeds were let off the hook in the second minute when an awful back pass from Kalvin Phillips let in Jonathan Kodjia but Pontus Jansson saved the day with a sliding tackle.

Then, just four minutes later, Phillips again lost possession to Kodjia whose shot from 20 yards drew a fantastic one-handed save from Rob Green.

Aston Villa v Leeds United

Aston Villa v Leeds United

The closest Leeds came in the early stages was when a 17th-minute cross from Stuart Dallas sailed wide to a few gasps from the Villa Park crowd.

The Leeds away end then looked on in anguish when Jansson went down injured in the 19th minute but the Swedish centre-back soldiered on after receiving treatment.

Leeds briefly looked threatening when Souleymane Doukara played a nice one-two with Hadi Sacko but Villa again twice went close in the 32nd minute.

First Jordan Ayew’s free-kick was tipped just over the bar by an in-form Green and from the following corner a header from James Chester looped just wide.

But Leeds then began to threaten themselves including twice from Hadi Sacko with two crosses from good positions on the right wing both scrambled away by Villa’s defence.

But it was United’s turn to scramble a chance away in the second minute of first half injury time when Kodjia’s cross from the byline was crucially flicked away by Luke Ayling.

At the other end, a speculative effort from Dallas flew over the bar and that was the signal for half time.

Neither side made any changes during the half time break but Villa then lost Jack Grealish to injury four minutes after the interval which paved the way for Ross McCormack to come on against his former side.

McCormack almost made an immediate impression as his stinging low shot was parried away by Green.

But just two minutes later United took the lead when Sacko’s run down the right flank earned Leeds a corner taken by Stuart Dallas.

The winger’s inviting delivery found the head of Jannson whose powerful effort contained too much gusto for ‘keeper Mark Bunn and crept into the net to give United a 1-0 lead.

Villa were left stunned but Leeds went for the jugular and just one minute later another fine attack down the right wing, this time from Roofe, earned Leeds another right-sided corner.

Dallas again found Jansson who unleashed a fierce volley that smacked the crossbar before heading over.

Villa were on the ropes but after Phillips dragged a chance wide just after the hour mark, Green needed to show strong hands to beat away a goalbound shot from Kodjia in the 67th minute.

At the other end, a chip from substitute Pablo Hernandez, on as a 57th-minute substitute for Dallas, dropped just over the crossbar in the 74th minute.

For Villa, a 20-yard effort from Ayew flew wide of Green’s post but a better chance was presented to Leeds with 12 minutes to go when Sacko raced through but opted to shoot and saw his effort smothered when he could have squared to Chris Wood, introduced for Roofe in the 69th minute.

Leeds were on the cusp of another memorable victory but Villa continued to pummel balls into the Whites box and in the 85th minute one such delivery was met by Liam Cooper’s hand.

After much deliberation, Villa were awarded a penalty and Kodjia clinically beat Green by slamming the ball home down the left hand side.

But Leeds were then again denied by the crossbar just two minutes later when Sacko was presented with a one on one and saw his effort deflected on to the woodwork, with the ball then dropping into the six yard box before being hacked away to safety.

At the other end, as part of a frantic finish, Green made another fine save to deny Kodjia his second.

Villa then scrambled away a Leeds corner in the first minute of added on time and the game ended with the home side attacking looking to nick a cruel victory but honours were left even as Leeds moved fourth in their final game of 2016.

Leeds United: Green, Ayling, Cooper, Jansson, Berardi, Phillips, Bridcutt (Vieira 82), Sacko, Roofe (Wood 69), Dallas (Hernandez 57), Doukara. Subs no: Silvestri, Denton, Mowatt, Antonsson.

Aston Villa: Bunn, Hutton, Chester (c), Baker, Amavi, Bacuna, Jedinak (Gestede 78), Westwood, Grealish (McCormack 49), Kodjia, Ayew (Adomah 78). Subs not used: Elphick, Agbonlahor, Gardner, Gollini.

Referee: Roger East.

Attendance: 37,078.