Leeds 1 Reds 0
Leeds Utd 1 (Becchio pen 42)
It was such a shame that controversy ruled at Elland Road, after a closely contested Yorkshire derby was settled by a penalty that replays proved should never have been – even leaving summariser and Leeds legend Eddie Gray baffled as to how his former side were awarded the spot-kick on 42 minutes.
The Reds sprang from the off and saw the first effort of the match when Perkins fired just over from 25 yards on three minutes.
It should have been one and there was no question about it, and it should have been Jacob Mellis with his third Barnsley goal. Cywka was cleverly slipped in by Golbourne and his pullback found the former Chelsea man whose guided effort drifted just wide of Kenny’s left-hand upright.
Stones then danced through the Leeds defence on seven minutes and just before he pulled the trigger, was hacked down at the last minute. No card was shown but Barnsley had a free-kick 20 yards out just right of centre, and Harewood scuffed his effort wide.
It should have been two, let alone one, and Mellis was the man again to shoot at goal but his effort was straight at Kenny. Perkins picked out the Reds’ number 21’s perfectly-time run down the centre but volleyed straight at the Irishman when he probably could have taken the ball down.
The first yellow card came on 20 minutes for a Leeds man, Austin was booked for a tackle through the back of Cywka.
Leeds needed to do something to gain a foothold in the match and Warnock changed the system to a 3-5-2.
On 27 minutes the hosts’ first chance arrived with Becchio stooping low to head high over Alnwick’s crossbar from a wicked right-wing Diouf cross.
Ten minutes later Harewood showed great strength to get the better of Pearce and get to the ball but his low drive swept just wide of a stranded Kenny’s right-hand post.
Completely out of the blue, Leeds were awarded a spot-kick when Peltier charged forward, despite Barnsley’s protests that the challenge happened outside the box, Darren Deadman pointed to the spot.
Becchio stepped up from 12 yards and dinked it down the middle for 1-0 against the run of play. Replayed showed the challenge happened outside the box.
The goal had given Leeds some impetus and it was up to the Reds to stand strong to the end of the half, which included four minutes of stoppage time. Wiseman was clearly unhappy when the goal-scorer Becchio scythed him down, picking up a yellow card in the process.
Att: 22, 569
Referee: Mr D. Deadman.
Subs: Steele, Done, Clark, Kennedy.
Reds: Alnwick, Golbourne, Foster (Hassell 46), Dawson, Davies, Perkins, Wiseman, Harewood (Dagnall 67), Cywka (Etuhu 69), Mellis, Stones.
Subs: Ashdown, Drury, Green, Varney, Poleon.
Leeds: Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Pearce, Austin, Becchio (Gray 72), White, Brown, Tonge (Norris 53), Diouf, Byram.
The full time whistle brought relief to Elland Road, as the Whites found their first three points against Barnsley for the first time since the Reds’ Premier League campaign.
When Mellis sent in a delicious delivery in stoppage time, if Stones’ header had gone either side of Kenny it would have been 1-1 but the young defender was denied his second Barnsley goal.
The Reds had to settle for a free-kick rather than Dagnall heading into the penalty area as he was cynically hauled back down the right. Barnsley just couldn’t break Leeds down.
By the time 80 minutes showed on the clock the Reds had struggled to find the rhythm that had stood them in good stead for the first half.
Another change came as Dagnall replaced Harewood, who had really given a good account of himself, with 67 minutes played.
From the resulting corner Paddy Kenny came to his side’s rescue on 63 minutes when Harewood at the goal at his mercy only for the former Sheffield United man to throw himself to the right and deny the big striker a leveller.
A corner was forced when Cywka saw his shot deflected wide, Dawsonw as the man to skilfully flick the ball into his path from a Davies ball in.
Leeds seemed happy to sit in and frustrate the Reds, who needed a spark to get back into the match.
Bobby Hassell came on for Stephen Foster, a straight swap at the heart of defence, with Foster having perhaps suffered a reoccurrence of his back injury.