Referee Barber missed the incident and did not even caution the defender for a blatant foul just outside the box.
Instead substitute Antoine Sibierski's late equaliser prevented The Whites from climbing out of the Premiership's bottom three.
Leeds had looked set to record another vital victory in their bid to stave off the threat of relegation until Sibierski's late intervention.
But the point they picked up still extended their unbeaten run to four matches in which they have accumulated eight much-needed points.
Head coach Kevin Blackwell, deputising for caretaker manager Eddie Gray who was at his daughter Natalie's wedding, was disappointed to come away with only a point.
"Such was the confidence we could have won, and it was disappointing to come so close to doing so," he said.
City's late fightback provided grounds for optimism for manager Kevin Keegan, even though it is now nine games since his side last recorded a victory.
It could well have been worse as City appeared to be heading towards another damaging defeat.
Keegan said: "The great thing is that we kept going and we at least deserved a point.
"We dominated the match as can be seen by the statistics which showed we had 70% possession."
Leeds took the lead in the 24th minute following a horrendous blunder by David Sommeil as the French defender was caught in possession.
Aussie striker Mark Viduka stole the ball, raced clear and rounded David Seaman before slotting the ball into the empty net. He had earlier missed a sitter from only two yards out.
Lacklustre City's only chance of the opening half came shortly before the break when Claudio Reyna's drive was cleared off the goal-line by Michael Duberry.
City lacked conviction in the first 45 minutes but, in fairness, they showed plenty of spirit in the second half.
Joey Barton's long-range effort hit an upright while a succession of other chances went begging.
And it was no surprise when Sibierski popped up to head the equaliser in the 82nd minute from a Sun Jihai cross.
Leeds stay in the relegation zone on 16 points despite a fourth unbeaten match in a row, but defender Lucas Radabe was carried off on a stretcher in the 72nd minute with a torn hamstring.