United settle for a point at the Riverside...
BORO 0, UNITED 0
Boro: Given, Friend, Chalobah. Varga, Main (Adomah 72), Graham, Woodgate, Butterfield (Ledesma 77), Kamara (Tomlin 67), Omeruo, Leadbitter. Subs. Konstantopoulos, Whitehead, Morris, Atkinson.
United: Butland, Peltier, Pearce, Wootton, Warnock, Murphy, Austin, Stewart, Kebe, Hunt (Smith 82), McCormack. Subs. Cairns, Zaliukas, Brown, Tonge, Mowatt, Poleon, Smith.
Referee: A Taylor
Booked: Leadbitter (Boro), Wootton (Leeds).
Att: 20,424 (3,211 Leeds)
United manager Brian McDermott made a total of five changes to his side for the lunchtime kick off at Middlesbrough. The changes saw United's new loan signing Jack Butland make his debut for the club in the place of the injured Paddy Kenny, also Sam Byram was unable to recover from a hamstring strain so Lee Peltier came into the starting line-up.
Two further changes were the inclusion of Scott Wootton, replacing Tom Lees who missed out for family reasons, and Noel Hunt came in from the start. Cameron Stewart also returned to the starting eleven having missed the trip to Brighton last time out.
The opening 15 minutes belonged to the home side as United struggled to gain a hold on proceedings. The home side threatened on several occasions without causing Butland any trouble.
United managed to create an opening just minutes later after Jimmy Kebe worked the ball well in midfield. Kebe played in his fellow winger Stewart who played a great ball across the box, but the ball had too much pace and it evaded the onrushing Hunt.
There was little in the way of quality shown by either side as the game edged towards half time. With five minutes of the half remaining Luke Murphy sent a shot just wide of the upright after some good pressure in the Middlesbrough box. It was the closest either side had come to a goal.
There was still time for the home side to test Butland before the half was up when Jacob Butterfield tried his luck from distance. The England international goalkeeper showed his qualities by palming the strike over his crossbar.
At the start of the second half United almost handed the lead to the home side. Following a cross from Kei Kamara there was a mix-up between Stephen Warnock and Butland, but the United keeper did well to keep the defender's touch from crossing the line.
Moments later United had a half chance to take the lead themselves. An advnaced Peltier crossed into the box but Kebe's glancing header went wide of the mark.
The lively opening to the half continued when Middlesbrough's Danny Graham went for the spectacular. Following a Kamara miss-hit the striker went for an overhead kick, but Butland was equal to his effort and saved well.
On the hour-mark the United defence came under pressure from the Middlesbrough attackers. The ball found its way to the feet of Graham but the forward's strike from an angle flew over the bar.
The following minutes offered little in the way of action but United mounted an attack with 20 minutes of the game remaining. Great attacking play from Stewart opened up the home defence and his deflected cross fell to Murphy but his strike was blocked. Moments later Ross McCormack tried his luck but his powerful strike went just wide.
In the 78th minute Butland was called into action when Middlesbrough substitue Albert Adomah broke the offside trap. The forward broke the defensive lines and looked certain to score but United's loan man pulled off a fantastic save to keep the game goalless.
With the game drawing to a close it was United that looked the more likely as the away side pilled the pressure on Middlesbrough. The only thing missing for United was the final killer ball.
With United's pressing forward the home side looked to break with a counter-attack. United were let off as Grant Leadbitter blazed his effort over the bar as Jason Pearce rushed to pressure the midfielder.
With three minutes added on after the 90 it was the home side who had a great chance to win the game but Adomah's strike flew passed Butland's near post and the game ended in a stalemate.