Leeds United 1-1 Southampton: Whites held by stunning James Ward-Prowse free-kick

Leeds United were held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton at a sun-soaked Elland Road on Saturday afternoon.

By Flora Snelson
Saturday, 2nd April 2022, 5:06 pm
Updated Saturday, 2nd April 2022, 5:08 pm

Jack Harrison gave a deserved lead with a scrappy close-range goal as, boosted by the return of several key players, the Whites put in a dominant first-half display.

Southampton bit back, though, through a delicious free-kick by set piece magician James Ward-Prowse just after half-time.

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Neither side could find a winner so the points were shared at Elland Road. With relegation rivals Watford and Burnley both suffering 2-0 defeats, United inch a little closer to safety by pulling eight points clear of the drop zone.

With Patrick Bamford sidelined for six weeks with a plantar fascia rupture, Jesse Marsch opted to put winger Dan James up front as Raphinha returned from a COVID infection to replace the Welshman on the flanks, while Liam Cooper made his first start since December after recovering from a hamstring injury.

As a makeshift attack, James and Rodrigo linked up well, with the Spaniard seeking the stand-in number nine with long balls with varying degrees of success.

Diego Llorente and Mohammed Salisu squandered chances for the respective sides, the Leeds defender heading wide from a corner while the latter failed to net with space inside the Whites' penalty area.

Che Adams holds off the challenge of Diego Llorente. pic: Marc Atkins.

The home crowd cheered in the 21st minute after Jack Harrison netted the ball from a scrappy corner, but referee Anthony Taylor chalked the goal off for a push by Rodrigo in the build-up.

Harrison gave the Whites the lead just before the half hour mark after Raphinha beat Kyle Walker-Peters and Oriol Romeu on the right wing. Saints 'keeper Fraser Forster could only get a fingertip to the Brazilian's cross and Harrison was there to poke it home.

Illan Meslier got down to make a fine save in the 35th minute. After flooring Mateusz Klich with a clever turn, Che Adams found himself with space right on the penalty spot, but the Whites' 'keeper stopped his effort to send United into half time with a 1-0 lead.

Saints levelled the scores shortly after half-time after a driving run by Walker-Peters drew a foul by Ayling on the edge of United's box. Free-kick mastermind Ward-Prowse beat the wall and placed the ball into Meslier's top corner.

Jack Harrison opens the scoring for Leeds United. Pic: Stu Forster.

Armando Broja almost gave the visitors the lead moments later, beating United's defence to a Valentino Livramento cross and firing wide.

With the introduction of Phillips and Gelhardt around the hour mark, the Whites refound their rhythm and the visitors' pressure eased, though United were unable to create an abundance of clear-cut chances. The home crowd screamed for a penalty midway through the second half when Raphinha was scythed down in the box by Diallo but Taylor said play on.

Taylor gave the Elland Road faithful more to complain about in the game's dying minutes, giving nothing as Diallo brought down Gelhardt as the teenager was attacking the area.

Leeds XI: Meslier, Ayling (88 - Struijk), Llorente, Cooper, Dallas, Klich (66 - Phillips), Forshaw, Raphinha, Rodrigo, Harrison, James (58 - Gelhardt).

Southampton celebrate James Ward-Prowse's equaliser. Pic: Marc Atkins.

Unused subs: Koch, Klaesson, Cresswell, Summerville, Greenwood, Kenneh.

Southampton XI: Forster, Livramento, Bednarek, Salisu, Walker-Peters, Diallo, Romeu (64 - Stuart Armstrong), Ward-Prowse, Elyounoussi, Adams (86 - Tella), Broja (90 - Long).

Unused subs: Stephens, Adam Armstrong, Caballero, Perraud, Smallbone, Valery.

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