Town came into this one on a four-game unbeaten run and looked set for a hard-fought win thanks to a goal early in the second half by the excellent Danny Haynes.
Haynes hit the bar before limping off injured and Leeds then took control, pegging Town back and forcing a series of corners and from one referee Phil Crossley saw a handball and David Healy drove home the penalty.
The match was played at a fast pace throughout, with play switching from end-to-end although in the first half there were few clear-cut chances.
Gary Kelly curled an early 20-yard free-kick over before the speedy Haynes beat his marker and saw his snap-shot from a tight angle tipped over by Neil Sullivan.
Jason De Vos and Richard Naylor got their heads to Jim Magilton corners but couldn't find the target before Shane Supple got down swiftly to parry Richard Cresswell's shot on the turn.
Supple saved a low Liam Miller drive and made his best stop of the half when the ball spun up in the box to Rob Hulse, but the Town keeper was out swiftly to block at point-blank range.
Town went ahead on 48 minutes when Supple raced out of his area to head clear, Matt Richards played the ball on and Haynes was suddenly clear and kept cool to slot low past Sullivan.
Haynes had a shot blocked after a neat passing build-up but aggravated an earlier knock and had to go off midway through the second period leaving the field to a standing ovation.
That turned the game as Ipswich seemed to try and contain Leeds and the visitors took up the invitation and pegged the hosts back for much of the rest of the game.
Jonathon Douglas had a shot blocked from an Eddie Lewis knock-down and then, with three minutes left, came the controversial moment which gifted the visitors the chance to level.
Lewis swung in a right-wing corner, De Vos raised his arm but seemed to miss the ball, it struck Owen Garvan in the chest and he hooked it away only for Mr Crossley to point to the spot.
Garvan was booked for arguing before Healy kept cool to send Supple the wrong way to earn the visitors a point.