Danny Collins scored a last-minute equaliser as West Ham salvaged a point in a frantic finale at Leeds.
The Whites broke the deadlock in a dour game through Luciano Becchio's close-range header seven minutes from time.
But on-loan defender Collins, making his first start since joining from Stoke, nodded home Mark Noble's corner.
The late strike extends West Ham's unbeaten run to eight matches but Sam Allardyce's side lose ground on the Championship top two.
Results elsewhere meant neither manager at Elland Road could be especially pleased with the result of a much-hyped contest that failed to live up to expectations.
Victories for Southampton and Reading leave West Ham three points below the automatic promotion places, while Leeds stay 10th with only an outside chance of making the play-offs.
Elland Road's first full house of the season was the arena for a tantalising clash between the division's two biggest sides, but the game failed to spark in the early stages.
Nicky Maynard wasted the first half's only genuine chance when his heavy touch allowed Leeds goalkeeper Andy Lonergan to smother the ball at his feet.
The Hammers then had penalty appeals turned down after the ball appeared to strike Michael Brown's hand in the box.
The visitors continued to look the stronger side after the break, with substitute Carlton Cole causing the Leeds defence problems, and the former England striker arched a header just over the bar from a Noble free-kick.
Robert Green was then forced to make his first save in the 70th minute when he showed terrific reactions to turn away a Paul Connolly header.
Connolly was involved again as Leeds fashioned an opening goal with 83 minutes on the clock. When Robert Snodgrass crossed to the back post, Connolly headed against the bar and the ball fell to Becchio who nodded home.
But the lead would only last seven minutes as West Ham secured a deserved point when Collins connected with Noble's well-taken corner.
Leeds manager Neil Warnock:
"We should have won. You've got to win games like that, I can't remember ever being this disappointed. I probably have, but I can't remember.
"I said to the referee: 'When you watch Carlton Cole blatantly push Darren O'Dea over [before West Ham's goal], you've got to see that'. O'Dea was going to head the ball [away]."
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce:
"When Leeds scored we were in our best spell of attacking. It was unfortunate that we slipped up but we came back, got the draw and have to accept that it's a good point.
"We're all a little bit edgy but we're confident we can take the final step and start winning more games than we draw."
Full Time The referee blows his whistle to end the game.
The ball is swung over by Gary O'Neil.
Carlton Cole challenges Darren O'Dea unfairly and gives away a free kick. Andy Lonergan restarts play with the free kick.
Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Mikael Forssell misses to the left of the goal.
Assist on the goal came from Mark Noble.
89:18 Goal scored
Goal - Danny Collins - Leeds 1 - 1 West Ham Danny Collins finds the net with a headed goal from close range. Leeds 1-1 West Ham.
George McCartney sends in a cross, save made by Andy Lonergan. Mark Noble takes the inswinging corner,
The assist for the goal came from Danny Webber.
82:42 Goal scored
Goal - Luciano Becchio - Leeds 1 - 0 West Ham Luciano Becchio finds the net with a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Leeds 1-0 West Ham.
Danny Webber takes a shot.
Corner taken right-footed by Robert Snodgrass, clearance by Kevin Nolan.
Mark Noble takes the direct free kick.
Substitution (West Ham) makes a substitution, with Ravel Morrison coming on for Jack Collison.
Unfair challenge on Matthew Taylor by Paul Connolly results in a free kick.
Foul by Mark Noble on Mikael Forssell, free kick awarded. Andy Lonergan takes the direct free kick.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Adam Clayton by Carlton Cole. Andy Lonergan restarts play with the free kick.
Michael Brown gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jack Collison. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Mark Noble from right channel, Darren O'Dea manages to make a clearance.
Substitution (Leeds) makes a substitution, with Mikael Forssell coming on for Ross McCormack.
Substitution Danny Webber comes on in place of Aidan White.
Gary O'Neil takes a shot. Save by Andy Lonergan.
The ball is swung over by Matthew Taylor, Abdoulaye Faye takes a shot. Save made by Andy Lonergan.
Booking Booking for Michael Brown for unsporting behaviour.
Foul by Michael Brown on Gary O'Neil, free kick awarded.
Gary O'Neil concedes a free kick for a foul on Michael Brown. The ball is delivered by Ross McCormack, Paul Connolly takes a shot. Save made by Robert Green. Corner taken by Robert Snodgrass.
Paul Connolly gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Matthew Taylor. Matthew Taylor sends in a cross, Carlton Cole produces a header from inside the area that goes over the bar.
Matthew Taylor takes a inswinging corner to the near post. The referee penalises Kevin Nolan for handball. Andy Lonergan restarts play with the free kick.
Michael Brown challenges Carlton Cole unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Mark Noble from left channel, clearance made by Tom Lees. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Mark Noble, Abdoulaye Faye produces a header from close range which goes wide of the left-hand post.
Shot by Luciano Becchio from outside the box goes over the net.
Direct free kick taken by Robert Green.
Booking Paul Robinson receives a caution.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Paul Robinson on Mark Noble.
Carlton Cole sends in a cross.
The referee blows for offside. Robert Green takes the indirect free kick.
Mark Noble fouled by Robert Snodgrass, the ref awards a free kick. Danny Collins takes the direct free kick.
Substitution Carlton Cole comes on in place of Nicky Maynard.
The referee penalises Jack Collison for handball. Andy Lonergan takes the direct free kick.
Adam Clayton gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on George McCartney. Mark Noble crosses the ball in from the free kick.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Joey O'Brien on Luciano Becchio. Ross McCormack crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left wing.
Aidan White has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the target.
Unfair challenge on Robert Snodgrass by Gary O'Neil results in a free kick. Andy Lonergan takes the free kick.
Nicky Maynard is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Andy Lonergan.
Long range effort from Gary O'Neil misses to the left of the target.
The referee gets the second half underway.
Substitution Gary O'Neil joins the action as a substitute, replacing James Tomkins.
45:00 +3:26 Half time
Half Time The whistle is blown to end the first half.
Free kick awarded for a foul by James Tomkins on Adam Clayton. Darren O'Dea restarts play with the free kick.
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Matthew Taylor from the right by-line, save made by Andy Lonergan.
Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Matthew Taylor, clearance by Luciano Becchio.
Inswinging corner taken by Mark Noble from the left by-line, clearance made by Tom Lees.
Luciano Becchio is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Danny Collins restarts play with the free kick.
James Tomkins gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Michael Brown. Free kick crossed by Robert Snodgrass, clearance made by Kevin Nolan.
Adam Clayton has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the left of the target.
Adam Clayton fouled by Matthew Taylor, the ref awards a free kick. Andy Lonergan takes the free kick.
Unfair challenge on Mark Noble by Adam Clayton results in a free kick. Abdoulaye Faye takes the direct free kick.
The assistant referee flags for offside against Kevin Nolan. Andy Lonergan takes the free kick.
Matthew Taylor is adjudged to have handled the ball. Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Robert Snodgrass.
Ross McCormack takes a shot. Blocked by Mark Noble. Corner taken by Ross McCormack, comfortable save by Robert Green.
James Tomkins delivers the ball.
Effort from the edge of the area by Kevin Nolan goes wide of the right-hand post.
Booking Booking for Mark Noble for dissent.
Michael Brown challenges Kevin Nolan unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Abdoulaye Faye.
Kevin Nolan challenges Michael Brown unfairly and gives away a free kick. Andy Lonergan takes the direct free kick.
Tom Lees takes a shot. Blocked by Danny Collins. Corner taken right-footed by Ross McCormack from the left by-line, clearance made by James Tomkins.
Unfair challenge on Adam Clayton by James Tomkins results in a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Paul Connolly from right channel, clearance by Kevin Nolan.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Kevin Nolan on Michael Brown. Darren O'Dea takes the free kick.
Ross McCormack is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Robert Green.
Matthew Taylor fouled by Adam Clayton, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Robert Green.
Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Robert Snodgrass, save by Robert Green.
James Tomkins concedes a free kick for a foul on Adam Clayton. Andy Lonergan restarts play with the free kick.
Adam Clayton fouled by James Tomkins, the ref awards a free kick. Andy Lonergan takes the direct free kick.
Joey O'Brien gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Luciano Becchio. Direct free kick taken by Paul Robinson.
The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.
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