All Whites striker Chris Wood scored a 95th minute goal to secure a point for Leeds United in their 1-1 draw against Newcastle United at St James' Park this morning (NZT).

The 25-year-old salvaged the solitary competition point for Leeds with a volley from six yards out, a goal that could yet prove to be vital in Leeds' Premier League promotion ambitions, while also putting a potentially significant dent in Newcastle's Championship title aspirations.

The goal was Woods' 25th of the season, putting him further ahead in the race for the Championship Golden Boot, an award he is frontrunner for as he leads the next highest goalscorer - Dwight Gayle of Newcastle - by three goals.

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez was left raging after Woods' injury time equaliser, especially as good officiating had appeared to help his side on their way to victory.

Advertisement

Last time out at St James' Park, Newcastle were the victims of a decision which has seen the match officials axed from all fixtures since. But this time they got the closest of calls spot on.

It was against Burton 10 days ago that Matt Ritchie's converted penalty was disallowed for encroaching and - incorrectly - a free-kick was awarded to the visiting team. Newcastle eventually won that night but the fallout for Keith Stroud and his assistants - whose interpretation of the rules was wrong - has been severe.

Not this time, though. The game was goalless midway through the second half when home captain Jamaal Lascelles turned a header on target from close range.

Goalkeeper Rob Green dived to scoop the ball clear and it looked as if the danger had been averted. Not so, and assistant referee Philip Dermott flagged for a goal, correctly spotting that the effort had crossed the line, but only just. Without the aid of goal-line technology it was some call.

But Newcastle had started slowly, they usually do on their own patch.

Leeds sought to take advantage and Alfonso Pedraza saw his dipping strike clatter off the underside of the crossbar before Kemar Roofe followed up with a header which goalkeeper Karl Darlow saved on the line.

At least that scare served to snap the hosts from their early slumber and Ritchie was denied an opening goal when his low blast was blocked by Wood, the striker making a crucial intervention inside his own six-yard area.

Newcastle playmaker Jonjo Shelvey had been starved of the ball during those early exchanges and so attempted to stamp his mark with a shot direct from a corner. It was a devilish effort which had Green scrambling across his goalmouth and paddling clear, embarrassment saved in the nick of time.

Ritchie then went close on two occasions after combining with lone frontman Aleksandar Mitrovic - both strikes were deflected wide - but the closest Newcastle came to a breakthrough was four minutes before half-time.

Leeds were careless in possession at the back and that allowed Yoan Gouffran to pounce with his shot testing the base of the post before Ritchie connected with the rebound only to see his low smash diverted over by the sliding Pontus Jansson.

From the resulting corner centre-back Chancel Mbemba - unmarked just four yards from goal - headed straight at Green, who instinctively slapped the effort over the crossbar.
They may have started the half on the front foot, but Leeds finished it very much on the retreat.

And so the second period began in much the same manner, Ritchie dropping a free-kick towards the bottom corner where Green smothered at the foot of the post.

This relentless assault on the visiting goal was showing no sign of letting up and penalty appeals were waved away when Mbemba, attempting to connect with a far-post corner, toppled to the turf following a grappling match with Luke Ayling.

The Toon Army have long since been frustrated by a home campaign which has been functional as opposed to flourishing, but this was as exciting as it's been, at least in terms of attacking intent.

Former England stopper Green was keeping his side in the game but he had Jansson to thank for preserving parity on 64 minutes.

Ritchie's cross was headed back towards his keeper by Ayling but Green lost his foot race with Mitrovic and the Serbian lobbed over the goalie only for Jansson to recover and head from the line.

But Green could not prevent Lascelles' nod from creeping over the white paint moments later and there was nothing opposite number Darlow could do to keep out Wood's strike at the death.