Leeds 1-1 Middlesbrough: Becchio comes to the rescue Tim Hodge January 2, 2011 Match reviews 21 Comments A stoppage time Luciano Becchio volley rescued a point after a dismal performance at Elland Road. With Leeds dropping points from good positions in the last two games, most fans would have been quietly confident about notching up three points against a struggling Middlesbrough side. However the hectic festive schedule seemed to have taken its toll on the players whose lacklustre performance did nothing to relieve the aching heads inside Elland Road on New Year ’s Day. It was a funny game that we should be thankful for the point but having dominated large parts of the game, without really playing well, and with Ross McCormack failing to head in a golden opportunity in the last minute, it stills feels as if we should have taken all three points. The game started fairly brightly with some decent enough passing and a speculative long range attempt from Snodgrass that dipped over the bar. This was about as good as it got though as Leeds failed to make their early pressure pay whereas when Middlesbrough found their rhythm they were able to make it count. Middlesbrough’s Emnes was causing all sorts of trouble for stand in left back Andy Hughes and with little help – at least to begin with – from Max Gradel, it looked likely that we would be punished. The ‘Boro goal, however, came from a more unlikely source. David Wheater, despite being sandwiched by two Leeds players at the near post, was able to head a corner back across Kasper Schmeichel and the Leeds defenders to take the lead. The atmosphere inside Elland Road was disappointing and it did nothing to help the players who barely got going until the introduction of Lloyd Sam and Neil Kilkeny in the second half. Sam looked livelier than Gradel had and went close after a good solo run before flashing a shot wide, while Kilkenny helped the team find some rhythm with his passing. The equaliser came in the first minute of stoppage time as Leeds broke following a fluffed chance by Middlesbrough. A long ball ended up with McCormack challenging ‘Boro goalkeeper Steele, before the ball bounced for Becchio who did well to volley in from 12 yards. We could have stolen the win a couple of minutes later when substitute Sanchez Watt played a perfectly measured ball onto the head of the unchallenged Ross McCormack only for the Scot to inexplicably head wide from close range. It was a sickening moment and although, on reflection, we didn’t deserve three points, it would have done a lot to soothe the pain of recent slip ups against Leicester and Portsmouth. The draw stretches our unbeaten run to twelve games now and though there’s no doubt this has been a great string of results it would be nice to see us notch up a few more wins when we have the chance. Man of the Match A difficult decision as there weren’t many outstanding performers. Ross McCormack looked brilliant and frustrating in equal measure while Kilkenny showed that we may miss him more than we thought now that he’s off on international duty. Lloyd Sam looked lively when he came on and will have done no harm to his first team prospects. However, for doing what the rest of the team couldn’t do and saving a point for us, the man of the match has to be Luciano Becchio.