LEEDS United and Sheffield Wednesday had to settle for a share of the spoils as Saturday lunch-time’s Championship derby ended all square 1-1 at Elland Road.
The result was United’s fourth league draw in succession with head coach Uwe Rosler still seeking the first win of his tenure ahead of next Saturday’s trip to Derby County.
Wednesday could have gone top with victory but, in a tight Championship, the point lifted them temporarily to eighth.
Marco Matias gave the Owls a 37rd-minute lead when his fine volley crashed in off the crossbar but brilliant work from Stuart Dallas gave Chris Wood a 61st-minute tap-in to equalise with his second goal in two games.
United’s fans received a boost in the pre-match build up with news emerging of the Whites apparently agreeing a fee with Watford for attacking ace Fernando Forestieri with a fee believed to be in between £3m and £4m.
The irony is that Sheffield Wednesday were also believed to be after the player.
But it was the Owls who would have gone temporarily top with a two-goal victory and head coach Carlos Carvalhal made six changes to the line up which drew 1-1 at home to Reading on Wednesday.
In came Liam Palmer, Vincent Sasso, Kieran Lee, Jose Semedo, Modou Sougou and Atdhe Nuhiu with Jack Hunt, Alejandro Lopez and Ross Wallace dropping to bench.
Loovens and Joao were both missing through injury while Lewis McGugan’s partner had just given birth to their first child.
United head coach Rosler, meanwhile, showed his attacking intent by again starting with two upfront in Chris Wood and Mirco Antenucci - the two players whose goals seemingly had United home and hosed leading 2-0 at Bristol City on Wednesday.
Defensive lapses saw that contest end in a 2-2 draw and Rosler made two changes at the back with Giuseppe Bellusci swapped for Liam Cooper at centre-back and Gaetano Berardi coming in for Scott Wootton at right back.
Rosler also kept his faith with ‘keeper Marco Silvestri - critcised by some for his performance at Bristol and mindlessly attacked by a small minority on social media.
And an eagerly-awaited Yorkshire derby took just 58 seconds to heat up when Kalvin Phillips was booked for his first challenge in pulling back Lee in the centre-circle.
Wednesday then had their first effort on goal four minutes later when Matias drove straight at Silvestri from range before the same player’s pass deflected into the box and almost falls kindly for Nuhiu before Silvestri gathered.
But Leeds hit back with a Phillips effort blocked before Stuart Dallas cut inside to hammer a powerful over the bar.
But chances in what was becoming a scrappy contest were few and far between with Berardi becoming the second United player in the book after jumping into Matias on the touchline.
Mirco Antenucci then lifted the crowd somewhat with his powerful effort from range which went just wide while Antenucci cleverly left a dangerous Berardi cross to fool the Wednesday defence but nobody from United was there to pick up the pieces.
But just as the half looked to be petering out towards a goalless draw, Wednesday took the lead as Sasso’s long ball found Matias who cleverly cut inside before producing a clever rising volley that had Silvestri beat all ends up and went in off the bar.
Amidst chants of “we want six” from the away end, the goal left United shell-shocked and there was no immediate response with Wednesday then forcing a corner from which Lees was booked for pulling Antenucci’s shirt.
At the other end, Leeds broke and went close as Dallas cut inside and shot just wide but the Whites were struggling to really break Wednesday down with Antenucci’s shot that flied over the bar proving the final half-chance of a disappointing half for the hosts.
Rosler opted to make no changes at the break and Leeds began the second half brightly with Bamba given a free header from a corner that was directed straight at Price.
But the half again became scrappy with Wednesday’s Sougou booked for a tackle on Phillips seven minutes in.
Byram then won the Whites a potentially dangerous free-kick on the edge of the area but Phillips wastefully put it into the side netting and that was his last act as Rosler withdrew him and Byram for Luke Murphy and Alex Mowatt in a bid to provide some much needed spark.
From their next attack, Mowatt blazed over as frustration around Elland Road started to grow but just minutes later Leeds were level through Chris Wood after fantastic work from Dallas.
The winger danced his way into the Owls area from the left flank and got himself to near the byline before producing a fine low cross that Wood stabbed home for his second goal in two games with 62 minutes on the clock.
Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal responded by swapping Jack Hunt for the booked Sougou and the Owls went on to force two corners where danger which was eventually averted after Palmer had wasted a good chance.
At the other end, a looping Wood header went just wide whilst Wednesday’s Sam Hutchinson picked up his customary booking for handball but from the resulting free-kick Mowatt thundered an effort straight at Price.
Owls goalscorer Matias was then withdrawn for Jeremy Helan with 15 minutes to go - a surprising change - and Leeds had the better of the game’s final stages.
Wednesday’s Helan was booked for a foul on Murphy and as the Owls made their final change in bringing on Alejandro Lopez for Jose Semedo, Rosler made his final substitution as the excellent Dallas made way for Souleymane Doukara with five minutes to go.
A couple of late corners gave United’s fans hope, as did the announcement of five minutes of injury time.
But there was to be no late drama as both sides had to settle for a point in a division that at this stage is looking as open as ever.
Leeds United: Silvestri, Berardi, Cooper, Bamba, Taylor, Adeyemi, Phillips (Murphy 57), Byram (Mowatt 57), Dallas (Doukara 85), Antenucci, Wood. Subs not used: Turnbull, Wootton, Bellusci, Erwin, Doukara.
Sheffield Wednesday: Price; Palmer, Lees, Sasso, Wiggins; Lee, Semedo (Lopez 85), Hutchinson, Sougou (Hunt 63); Matias (Helan 75), Nuhiu. Subs not used: Bus, De Havilland, Wildsmith, Wallace.
Referee: Mike Jones.
Attendance: 22,597 (1,313 away).