Leeds United’s hopes of reaching the Npower Championship play-offs appear slim after they failed to find the net and lost to sixth-placed Middlesbrough.
A single goal from Curtis Main eight minutes from time proved enough for Boro to end their five-game losing streak in the league and open up an eight-point gap on the misfiring Whites.
The 1-0 result heaped pressure on Leeds boss Neil Warnock with sections of the travelling fans calling for him to go and there were signs of strain on the manager as he sarcastically applauded supporters at one point after they called for him to change his team.
Warnock stuck with the same starting line-up that failed to win at Wolves on Saturday with El-Hadji Diouf and Rodolph Austin back on the United bench after being rested and Ross Barkley left out all together, suggesting he will be returning to Everton after his failed loan spell.
United had a couple of half chances early on when David Norris was denied by home keeper Jason Steele and Luke Varney shot wide.
Varney went close again before the best chance of the first half saw Paul Green set up Ross McCormack only for the Scottish striker to be denied by former Leeds favourite Jonathan Woodgate, who cleared off the line.
Just before half-time Middlesbrough created their best opportunity when Mustapha Carayol was through, but Paddy Kenny raced out to make a good block.
Steve Morison was denied his first Leeds goal early in the second half when his header was cleared off the line. At the other end Kenny made a good save before Tom Lees cleared.
Grant Leadbitter went close with a free-kick and the Kenny was forced to make more saves as United were forced on the defensive again.
Boro came up with the winner in the 82nd minute when Main was left in space from a corner and sent a looping header beyond Kenny.
Main’s night turned sour five minutes later when he received two yellow cards in quick succession and was sent off by referee Keith Stroud. But there was too little time for United to take advantage, although substitute Habib Habibou got in a header that was well saved by Steele.
Leeds United 0
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Middlesbrough: Steele, Bikey, Friend, Williams, Woodgate (Halliday 66), Parnaby, Main, Leadbitter, Haroun, McEachran (Miller 74), Carayol (Bailey 89).
Leeds: Kenny, Byram, Lees, Peltier, Warnock, Green (Diouf 84), Brown (Habibou 89), Norris (Austin 84), Varney, McCormack, Morison.
Referee: Keith Stroud.