Coventry City 1 Leeds United 1

Micky Adams will have a clear conscience the next time he encounters Neil Warnock on the touchline.

The Sheffield United boss, knowing that his Coventry counterpart is a lifelong Blade, last week called on the Sky Blues to make sure they put as much effort into beating Leeds as they had in taking three points off his side.

Coventry may not have succeeded - they fell just four minutes short - but it was not for the want of trying and Leeds, as most sides do these days, left the Ricoh knowing they had been in a game.

The reason Coventry didn't match their result against Warnock's men was down in part to referee Clive Oliver but also the fact that, on the evidence of the two performances, Leeds are a more fluent side playing with more belief.

Oliver's contribution was as telling as it was interesting and was, genuinely, a tale of two halves. In the opening 45 minutes the Northumberland official let play flow, sometimes playing a rugby-style advantage to ensure some degree of continuity in a highly competitive game.

But Leeds were not happy with some of his officiating.

Paul Butler had to be shepherded away as the players trooped off at half time while manager Kevin Blackwell expressed his views below stairs.

Whether it hampered Coventry or not, there was no question that Oliver's attitude was changed after the break. He seemed prepared to sound his whistle for misdemeanours which would previously would have gone unpunished and as a result the game became more heated.

Then, in the dying moments, Andrew Whing went to block a cross with his arms raised and when the ball struck him, Oliver pointed straight to the spot and David Healy converted.

On the balance of play, Coventry could have few complaints but the nature of Leeds' comeback did not sit well with the home side.

Gary McSheffrey, the City scorer, said: "It was a dubious penalty. Defenders have to come to block crosses but it was point blank range and we are disappointed.

"We saw their players surrounding the referee and we did think they would try to get to him. He came out with a different attitude for the second half and gave fouls against us for silly little things."

The result also marred what should have been a memorable day for McSheffrey. His 26th minute strike - which rounded off a superbly crafted move - was his 50th for the club and again underlined his emergence as one of the leading strikers in the division.

He should, however, have been celebrating his 51st goal when just minutes after finding the net he worked an opening all by himself only to fire the ball wide his right foot.

There was no question that Coventry deserved their lead. Leeds had come at them with far more purpose and poise than their Yorkshire rivals had the week before, but slowly Coventry began to wrestle midfield control.

Michael Doyle harried for all his was worth in midfield and the combination of his grit and Don Hutchison's guile was a potent weapon.

That second goal would certainly have been telling, and there was always that lingering feeling that Leeds knew they had a good chance to earn something from the game.

They forced Coventry back from the restart and Adams' men began to sit too deep and had to rely on some desperate defending at times.

When Leeds did find their way past Richard Shaw and Robert Page, they found Marton Fulop in fine form and it looked as if the Hungarian would have another clean sheet, until the visitors' pressure - on City and perhaps the referee - bore fruit.