England

Leeds fan attacks Sheffield goalkeeper

Chris Kirkland
Sheffield's goalkeeper Chris Kirkland was treated after being shoved to the face.
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CRIME SCENE

Watch as a Leeds fan invades the field and hits Sheffield Wednesday keeper in the face.

Michael Tonge's goal earned Leeds a 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday in a derby marred by an attack on Owls goalkeeper Chris Kirkland.

The former England international, 31, had just conceded a 77th-minute equalizer to Michael Tonge when the incident happened, with a man running onto the field from the Leppings Lane End which was housing the Leeds fans, and appearing to punch Kirkland in the face.

The man then returned to the stand while trouble continued around him, with a number of other visiting supporters running on and off the field and stewards struggled to contain them.

Trouble had been brewing throughout the night, with a section of the away support throwing bottles on the field as they clashed with stewards and police, while the home fans stoked things up by singing songs that referenced the two Leeds fans who were killed in Turkey in April 2000.

The Leeds fans amongst the crowd of 28,582 also courted controversy by singing songs that referenced criminal charges against Wednesday manager Dave Jones which were eventually dropped, as well as seeming to salute Jimmy Savile, the former broadcaster who is now the subject of a criminal investigation for child abuse.

In terms of the action on the field, former Sheffield United midfielder Tonge, who spent a large chunk of his career under Neil Warnock, fired home a swerving 25-yard shot in the 76th minute to cancel out Jay Bothroyd's first-half header and deny Wednesday a first win in eight league matches.

Leeds boss Warnock, returning to his home city for the first time since former club Crystal Palace triumphed over the Owls at Hillsborough in an FA Cup tie in 2010, will have been grateful for Tonge's rescue act after his side stretched their unbeaten run to five matches despite being outplayed for long periods.

Wednesday have now failed to win any of their last eight league games, collecting only two points in the process and the pressure is mounting on manager Dave Jones.

Irish midfielder Paul Corry made his league debut for the Owls and defender Daniel Jones returned to the starting line-up, while Leeds were unchanged from the side that beat Barnsley last time out.

Wednesday made the more promising start. Chris O'Grady headed straight at Paddy Kenny in the sixth minute and the former Sheffield United goalkeeper let Bothroyd's fierce 20-yard drive slip through his hands and on to the crossbar soon after, with the ball bouncing down a yard from his goalline.

Wednesday skipper Anthony Gardner then spurned a gilt-edged chance when he headed Bothroyd's free-kick over the crossbar with only Kenny to beat as Leeds rode the early storm.

Leeds responded with a fine free-kick from another former Sheffield United player, Michael Tonge, whose curling effort from 25 yards following Gardner's foul on El-Hadji Diouf had Owls keeper Chris Kirkland scrambling to palm clear at full stretch.

Leeds were given a real let-off in the 23rd minute by referee Eddie Ilderton, who somehow failed to see Leeds forward Luciano Becchio handle the ball when diving in his own penalty area to head clear Bothroyd's 23rd-minute corner.

But Wednesday, belying their lowly status, secured the lead they deserved two minutes before the break.

Long-throw specialist Michail Antonio launched a missile into the Leeds box from the left and Bothroyd rose highest to head home unopposed, low into Kenny's right-hand corner.

Leeds midfielder Rodolph Austin, who arrived back in Leeds this morning following international duty with Jamaica, made way for David Norris at half-time.

Leeds were more purposeful after the restart and went close to an equalizer through another free-kick from Tongue after Gardner had been booked for his high tackle on Diouf.

But although the visitors spent longer periods in Wednesday's half, they failed to create any clear-cut chances and had it not been for Leeds skipper Lee Peltier's excellent block, Bothroyd's shot from Antonio's cutback would have found its target.

fans gone wild

FANS GONE WILD

Some people just can't enjoy a game without getting involved.

Peltier was replaced by forward Luke Varney, who spent three spells on loan at Hillsborough, in the 66th minute, but it was the home side who threatened again when Antonio's shot following a defensive mix-up was deflected for a corner.

The atmosphere turned ugly at the Leeds end with 20 minutes to go, with extra police required to quell an angry exchange between both sets of fans intent on throwing bottles.

Tonge's brilliant equalizer in the 76th minute following Aidy White's lay-off then prompted some Leeds fans to pour through fencing, with one supporter run round in front of Kirkland's goal before pole-axing the Wednesday keeper by pushing both hands into his face.

Kirkland required treatment before the game could resume and although Owls substitute Danny Mayor went close with a shot blocked by Jason Pearce in the closing stages, the home side had to settle for a point.

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