Late penalty cancels out Chris Wood's opener...
UNITED 1 (Wood 70), QPR 1 (Chery pen 87)
United team: Peacock-Farrell, Berardi, Bellusci, Cooper, Taylor, Bridcutt, Murphy (Diagouraga 83), Cook, Dallas (Coyle 85), Carayol (Mowatt 90), Wood. Subs: Grimes, Bamba, Adeyemi, Antenucci.
QPR team: Smithies, Perch, Onuoha, Hall, Angella, Hoilett (Chery 73), Luongo, Faurlin, Phillips, Washington (El Khayati 80), Mackie (Polter 25). Subs: Ingram, Robinson, Gladwin, Henry.
Referee: James Adcock
Att: 17,388 (342 QPR)
The midweek visit of Queens Park Rangers saw United head coach Steve Evans make five changes from the weekend’s defeat at Rotherham, including a debut for young goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell in place of the suspended Marco Silvestri.
Elsewhere, Luke Murphy, the goalscorer at the New York Stadium, returned to the starting line-up along with Liam Cooper, Stuart Dallas and Mustapha Carayol.
Ahead of kick-off on a glorious spring evening at Elland Road, both sets of supporters impeccably observed a minute’s silence in memory of Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight, 16 years to the day since the two United fans were tragically taken from us in Istanbul.
It was United who started the brighter of the two sides, dominating the possession during the opening 10 minutes and having the game’s first effort on goal through Dallas, only for Alex Smithies to gather his swerving half-volley from distance.
QPR looked to assert some pressure at the opposite end but Peacock-Farrell remained untested during the early exchanges as clear-cut chances remained at a premium.
The visitors were dealt a blow in attack after 25 minutes, though, with Jamie Mackie forced off through injury to be replaced by Sebastian Polter.
Sights of goal were proving to be scarce for both sides, although Carayol did force Smithies into a smart low save to hold his strike after a driving run towards the edge of the area.
QPR were being reduced to efforts from distance as Matt Phillps and Junior Hoillet fired wide before the latter saw a low attempt held by Peacock-Farrell on the stroke of half-time, capping a largely uneventful opening 45 minutes.
The two-sides re-emerged from the break unchanged and United looked to start the second half on the front foot, with Dallas seeing a strike deflected across the face of goal from a tight angle before Murphy drilled a low effort straight into the arms of Smithies after creating space on the edge of the QPR area.
United’s best opening came after 57 minutes as Carayol’s never-say-die attitude saw the on-loan winger somehow keep the ball in play and tee up the arriving Dallas, who was just unable to get the desired connection as his first-time strike flashed wide.
QPR then passed up a good opportunity as the substitute Polter headed wide after meeting a left-wing cross, and United were to soon make them pay as Chris Wood broke the deadlock on 70 minutes.
The striker, taking his tally to nine for the season and drawing level with Mirco Antenucci as the club’s top goalscorer, was at full-stretch to force the ball beyond Alex Smithies from close-range after latching onto Murphy’s floated ball over the top of the QPR defence.
On the balance of play, it was a lead which the hosts deserved, and QPR continued to be reduced to efforts from distance as Peacock-Farrell remained untroubled, clutching a low strike from Conor Washington from a wide angle.
But a late penalty proved to be United’s downfall once again, as substitute Tjaronn Chery hammered home an 87th-minute spot kick to snatch a share of the spoils for the hosts after Giuseppe Bellusci was adjudged to have tripped Polter inside the area.