Sharp is spot on to earn valuable point for Leeds United

Leeds United players mob Billy Sharp to celebrate his equaliser at Nottingham Forest.

Leeds United players mob Billy Sharp to celebrate his equaliser at Nottingham Forest.

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Leeds United rode their luck with opponents Nottingham Forest having two “goals” ruled out for controversial offside decisions, but Whites boss Neil Redfearn felt his side deserved a point from their trip to the City Ground.

Billy Sharp’s penalty nine minutes into the second half earned United a 1-1 draw after they were trailing to a first half injury-time goal from Matty Fryatt.

But Fryatt could have had a hat-trick as he had two more efforts ruled out for offside although replays showed he was level with Leeds defenders when the ball was sent to him.

Leeds were also grateful to a string of fine saves in the second half by Marco Silvestri, but had more chances themselves and were in control for decent parts of the game, leading to Redfearn announcing himself happy with an improved away display.

He said: “The way we applied ourselves, the way we battled and competed was excellent.

“The overall performance and the diligence we showed was really pleasing.

“We are turning things around, we are moving in the right direction. We are playing well at home and we were dogged today.

“What you find is that, if you keep working at it, the draws soon turn into wins away from home.

“We felt positive at half-time but we told the players to be upbeat in the way they played.

“It was a great run from Sam Byram to earn the penalty. I was pleased for Billy Sharp as well, because he worked so hard for the team and deserved his goal.”

Leeds showed their improvement early as Alex Mowatt got forward from midfield and saw a shot deflected narrowly wide.

Mirco Antenucci and Billy Sharp, restored to the starting line-up, both looked lively up front and had efforts on goal before Forest had their first serious attack.

One effort from Antenucci was deflected and brought out a fine save from home keeper Karl Darlow with the rebound falling to Jason Pearce, who blasted the ball over to miss a great opportunity.

Leeds breathed a sigh of relief with Fryatt netting from close range only to be ruled out by a linesman’s flag, but in first half injury-time their susceptibility from corners struck again.

Michael Mancienne was allowed a free header and his goalbound effort was touched in by Fryatt to make it 1-0 at half-time.

United were level early in the second half when Antenucci got on the end of Mowatt’s long ball and laid the ball back for full-back Byram, whose run into the box was halted by a foul from Danny Fox. Referee Roger East pointed to the spot and former Forest player Sharp put away Leeds’ first penalty of the season.

The hosts responded strongly to being pegged back as they enjoyed their best spell of the match, but the Whites survived with Jack Hunt shooting straight at Silvestri, who then made a great saved to deny Antonio.

Robert Tesche sent a free header over and another controversy saw Fryatt having another effort chalked off for a debatable offside decision.

Silvestri made more saves from Tesche, Henri Lansbury and Antonio as Leeds held on for a valuable point.

They could have snatched all three when the impressive Lewis Cook went on a fantastic long run and teed up Sharp, whose goalbound volley was only just kept out by Darlow.

Substitute Souleymane Doukara also went close late on as his effort was saved by the keeper.

Match facts

Nottingham Forest 1

(Fryatt 45)

Leeds United 1

(Sharp 54, pen)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sky Bet Championship

Attendance: 22,664

Forest: Darlow, Lichaj, Wilson, Fox, Hunt (Burke 70), Tesche, Mancienne (Paterson 89), Lansbury, Antonio, Fryatt, Blackstock (Assombalonga 41).

Leeds: Silvestri, Byram, Pearce, Cooper, Warnock, Cook, Bianchi, Mowatt, Adryan (Morison 66). Sharp (Tonge 77), Antenucci (Doukara 85).

Referee: Roger East.