NEIL REDFEARN has paid tribute to the character of Luke Murphy and felt he got his just rewards after crowning an impressive display by firing a late equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Birmingham City.
The result may have extended Leeds’ run without a win to eight games, but they at least avoided the psychological blow of a third successive home defeat on a day when they actually moved up a place to 20th spot in the Championship table.
But for large parts of the game, it looked like being another desperate afternoon for Leeds, who trailed for the vast majority of proceedings after Paul Caddis put Blues ahead with an eighth-minute penalty, awarded after captain Liam Cooper brought down Clayton Donaldson.
But Murphy rescued a share of the spoils for Leeds, side-footing home his first goal for United since last April after the visitors failed to clear Sam Byram’s cross.
It ended United’s goal drought from open play, which had almost lasted 12 hours.
On Murphy, who has now started United’s last three games after being on the fringes for most of the season, head coach Redfearn said: “To be fair to Luke, he has come in after having his nose pushed out for a while.
“But his atittude has been fantastic. I thought last year when he came in for a little bit of criticism for being a big-money signing that he never hid.
“He wants the ball all the time and never hids and always gets it. If he makes a mistake, it doesn’t faze him and he keeps getting on it.
“I admire that grit and determination.”
United showed resolve to secure a point which could yet prove to be a priceless one in their battle against the drop and Redfearn says he was pleased for hi side’s efforts for most of the game.
While Birmingham were awarded a penalty, two calls for late spot-kicks for Leeds were rebuffed by referee Dean Whitestone, firstly when Byram appeared to be tripped by ex-United loanee Paul Robinson and then in stoppage-time for a perceived handball offence from substitute David Edgar.
Redfearn said: “We played well, but did not have the rub of the green and needed to be a bit more steady in front of goal and we had enough chances to win two or three games.
“If the equaliser had come five minutes earlier, we might have gone onto win the game.
“But in the end, it was a positive outcome, with a good equaliser and was on the back of momentum and the players getting the crowd going, which was good.
“We have got to take that into Tuesday.”
On the penalty calls for Leeds, he added: “All I would say is if he was going to give a penalty like he did with the decision for Birmingham, he could have really given us the decision (for Byram foul).
“But I don’t really want to talk about the referee and they have a job to do and I appreciate that.”