Leeds 3-3 Norwich: Match Report

29 April 2017 04:36

Leeds' play-off hopes all but over despite valiant fightback in Norwich draw

Leeds' outside Sky Bet Championship play-off hopes were all but ended by a breathless 3-3 draw with Norwich.

Having seemed top-six certainties from November to the start of April, a run of one win in six left Garry Monk's men knowing a win here was a must.

However, when they were 3-0 down after 44 minutes thanks to a Steven Naismith goal and a Nelson Oliveira double, that edict had gone badly wrong.

But a Chris Wood goal gave them hope, a Kyle Bartley one belief and a Pablo Hernandez one a leveller, before the clock and ultimately their woeful start caught up with them.

The result means - though mathematics dictate otherwise - Huddersfield, Reading, Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham will contest the play-offs while the Whites will enter the summer with, as usual, questions to answer.

Monk, who has worked so well to rebuild the club, has been told talks about his future must wait until June and the club's ownership remains in a state of flux.

That Norwich, without a manager for next season, have been linked with Monk, only added to the intrigue.

The Canaries were second-best until Naismith's out-of-the-blue opener 28 minutes in, the midfielder taking aim from 25 yards and beating Rob Green emphatically.

The goal sent Leeds into meltdown. Oliveira missed a fine chance to make it two and then slotted in in the 34th minute after Josh Murphy sprung the offside trap.

Oliveira, who made life for Bartley and Pontus Jansson particularly uncomfortable, then slotted wide, before converting a third after a brilliant Jonny Howson pass put him in.

The home crowd, stunned, barely realised that Wood then put away a Stuart Dallas cross on the whistle.

Leeds had no choice but to attack after the break and Hernandez should have made it 3-2 within minutes, firing wide from eight yards.

Soon it was 3-2. A Hernandez cross fell to Jansson and though his header did not make it, Bartley forced the ball in.

A deafening noise drove Leeds on but their exuberance left them open, Green saving well from Oliveira on the counter.

But when Gaetano Berardi was bundled over on the edge of the box, it allowed Hernandez the chance to curl in a brilliant 20-yard free-kick that drew Leeds level with 13 minutes left.

Naismith then saw red for a crude tackle on Ronaldo Vieira but, as the home fans shouted 'attack, attack', time ran out on Leeds.


Source: PA


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