Ross hands boss birthday treat
BIRTHDAY boy Dave Jones was handed the perfect present as fellow Sheffield Wednesday stalwart Lewis Buxton returned to inspire a hard-fought draw at Leeds United.
Summer signing Kamil Zayatte powered the Owls in front in the first-half only for the centre-back to let in Ross McCormack for the second-half equaliser.
But it was the presence of steely defender Buxton, who had been struggling with shin splints, which most impressed 57-yearold Jones after his side scooped their first point of the season.
“We’re just trying to get everyone fit and I thought Lewis was fantastic considering he’s been out since the end of last season,” said Jones. “He’s had no preseason, so they all showed character which is what you’re looking for when it’s all hands to the pump.
“We’ve had to draft in the kids and at this moment of time the kids might not be ready, especially in a battle like this.
“It’s a difficult place to come – if you’d asked us if we’d have taken a point before the game I’d have took it but I still think we had a few chances to win.
“We started the second-half a bit sloppy and it was a poor goal to give away fiddling about on the half-way line.
“Kamil made it a bit too easy for Ross, he came charging out and he’s better than that.”
Clear cut chances were at a premium early on but Dominic Poleon started to pull the Owls’ defence apart – and could have earned a penalty after an apparent tug from Buxton midway through the first-half.
McCormack, who is subject to transfer interest from Middlesbrough, then weaved some magic to set the game alight on the half-hour mark, executing a fine lob, thwarted by Chris Kirkland’s fingertips.
But Elland Road was stunned into silence five minutes later when former Hull City man Zayatte – latching on to Michail Antonio’s flick – looped a header beyond the outstretched Paddy Kenny.
Zayatte, however, was left flatfooted after the restart as McCormack pushed the ball past him on 58 minutes and finished for his second goal of the season.
The game was entrenched in a midfield battle but Antonio forced Kenny into a smart save while desperate defending at the other end denied McCormack his double and a Leeds win.
But after trailing at half-time United boss Brian McDermott conceded he needed to inject a few words of confidence as McCormack came to the fore.
He said: “We were sloppy early on and at half-time I told them that we didn’t want to wait for anybody to make a differ- ence, and some of them grabbed it second-half.
“Ross McCormack is a perfect example, a terrific finish with real pace and real quality. He was doing a few interviews at the end of the match and when he came in the dressing room everyone clapped him as he walked through the door. He deserved that.
“At this stage of the season the most important thing is to keep collecting points and we’re trying to find a way to get the results we need with the personnel we’ve got.
“That point might be really important to us, you never know – I never take a point for granted.” To comment on this match go to http://boards.footymad.net/
MOMENT OF MAGIC: Leeds United striker Ross McCormack scores his side’s crucial leveller
scores HAVE THAT: Kamil Zayatte