Becchio stuns Boro late on

Last updated : 01 January 2011 By Northern Echo

After Justin Hoyte had wasted a glorious chance to add to David Wheater's first half opener, Leeds United broke down the other end to grab a late, late equaliser.

Wheater had delivered a further reminder of his worth to Middlesbrough with an outstanding performance at the heart of the defence alongside the impressive Matthew Bates.

With the transfer window now officially open, January is going to be a big month for the big centre-back and he looked like starting it with a match-winning display against high-flying Leeds.

Leeds had been unbeaten in 11 matches before Boro's trip to west Yorkshire, but a first half header from Wheater with a hint of a wicked deflection proved the difference between the two teams.

A victory would have been the second in a row for Tony Mowbray's men, following on from the midweek win at Preston, but instead of sitting four points above the relegation zone they only sit two.

Middlesbrough had their moments early on, even though they lost midfielder Kevin Thomson through injury again. Both Wheater and Scott McDonald should have done better with perfect deliveries in to the penalty area, but the former's presence did end in the opener in the 20th minute.

After Leroy Lita had forced a corner, the creative Julio Arca floated over the kick and Wheater jumped to nod goalwards,

There was some debate over whether Becchio had helped the ball goalwards, but either way the bounce caught out Jonathan Howson on the line and Leeds had conceded.

From that moment on Middlesbrough grew in confidence. Arca, drifting inside from the wing role he was playing, narrowly missed the target with a couple of efforts from distance.

And even when Leeds stepped it up following the introduction of Lloyd Sam and Neil Kilkenny, Middlesbrough defended strongly to ensure goalkeeper Jason Steele was well protected.

But then, once Hoyte had got mixed up with Barry Robson after a neat run from Marvin Emnes, Leeds broke and Becchio was on hand to deliver.

LEEDS UNITED (4-4-1-1): Schmeichel; Connolly, Collins, O'Brien, Hughes; Snodgrass (Watt 77), Johnson, Howson, Gradel; McCormack; Becchio. Subs: Higgs (gk), Bruce, Paynter, Somma,

MIDDLESBROUGH (4-4-2): Steele; Hoyte, Bates, Wheater, Bennett; Emnes, Bailey, Thomson (Robson 25), Arca; McDonald (McMahon 78), Lita (Boyd 71). Subs: Kink, Coyne (gk), Hines, Tavares.

Source: Northern Echo

Source: Northern Echo