Referee Scott Mathieson and Blackpool defender Kirk Broadfoot were the panto villains as Leeds United failed to provide some festive cheer by ending their 46-year wait for a win at Bloomfield Road,
With the game poised at 1-1 in the second half Leeds striker Ross McCormack was about to race clean through onto Matt Smith’s flick only to be hauled back by Broadfoot.
Referee Mathieson saw the offence and decided it was inches outside the box so awarded a free-kick instead of a penalty. Amazingly he also decided it was only a yellow card offence even though the United man would have only had the goalkeeper to beat, leaving Broadfoot on the pitch when a more clear cut sending off offence would be hard to come across.
To compound this the official then let the Blackpool defensive wall stand no more than six yards away and it was no surprise that McCormack’s free-kick was blocked.
Broadfoot was later sent-off for an awful over the top tackle on Marius Zaliukas, but the 90th minute dismissal was too late to alter the result of a match that ended in a 1-1 draw.
United’s luck had also earlier been out as they had taken the lead through Lee Peltier’s first-ever goal for the club and looked comfortable in defence only for a Thomas Ince shot from outside the box to fly into the net off Zaliukas.
Precious little happened in a drab first half, but Leeds did take the lead from their best bit of football on 25 minutes when one wing back found the other, Danny Pugh crossing well for Peltier to head home at the far post.
Blackpool rarely threatened apart from a Broadfoot header over from an Ince corner.
The second half was livelier as Rudy Austin and Jason Pearce both sent efforts wide in the first four minutes and Jack Robinson and Broadfoot were off target with efforts for the hosts soon after.
Austin mis-hit a volley when well placed in the box for the Whites before keeper Paddy Kenny was forced into his first save, an easy one to gather Michael Chopra’s shot.
Ince’s fortunate equaliser came in Blackpool’s best spell, but the hosts were so lucky again when within two minutes McCormack was denied his big chance by Broadfoot’s grab that he essentially got away with.
McCormack hit a shot well wide from the edge of the box on 73 minutes and that was the last opportunity for Leeds as they were forced to defend more in the closing stages.
The hosts struggled to create clear chances, however, with their best effort an Ince shot that went close from the edge of the box.
Blackpool (Ince 65)
Leeds United 1
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Sky Bet Championship
Blackpool: Gilks; Broadfoot (sent-off 90), Cathcart, Mackenzie, Robinson; Basham, Ferguson; Ince, Gosling (Delfounso 63), Bishop; Chopra (Davies 82).
Leeds: Kenny; Lees, Zaliukas, Pearce; Peltier, Brown, Tonge, Austin, Pugh; McCormack, Smith.
Referee: Scott Mathieson.