YEP Jury: Heart, spirit and patience key to Leeds United’s epic point at Newcastle

Chris Wood celebrates his goal at Newcastle United.

Chris Wood celebrates his goal at Newcastle United.

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Our YEP Jury give their verdicts on Leeds United’s 1-1 draw at Newcastle United and look ahead to the visit of Wolverhampton Wanderers tomorrow.

DAVID WATKINS

Pontus Jansson.

Pontus Jansson.

The dream is still alive! This was not the best performance we have seen from Leeds this season by a long chalk but that may well have been the biggest moment of the season so far when Chris Wood popped up to silence 50,000 Geordies! It was definitely the most celebrated!

Apart from a lightning start when Alfonso Pedraza smashed a shot against the bar, Leeds were largely on the back foot against a top quality Newcastle side that is clearly already as good as promoted.

Leeds didn’t help themselves by once again giving up the ball too cheaply on far too many occasions and when we did get the ball wide we found, as we already knew, that the quality we have out there is limited.

But we defended as we have done all season, heroically, and none more heroic than Pontus Jansson who threw himself in front of everything Newcastle launched at us.

Rob Green also deserves a mention for another top quality display with at least one stunning point blank stop. Opportunities to shine elsewhere were limited by a lack of ball and Pablo Hernandez and Kemar Roofe didn’t reach the heights they showed against Preston.

Newcastle outshot Leeds by 22 to just four but due largely to that heroic back division only four of the Toon’s efforts hit the target.

Newcastle had an astonishing 19 corners to nil for Leeds! It was that one-sided, but Newcastle were outplayed in three departments – heart, spirit and patience.

When Jamaal Lascelles put the home side ahead I doubt many Leeds fans thought we’d get a point but the players clearly had the belief that there might just be one chance and as we’ve seen so often this season, if it falls to Chris Wood he’s capable of sticking it in the net.

The atmosphere was already fantastic even as we contemplated a narrow defeat but when Wood scored the Leeds end erupted in a celebration the likes of which will be hard to replicate even if we get the chance at Wembley next month. That goal may just prove to be the key to securing a play-off place and who knows what our destiny might be after that. We need to follow this up with a win against Wolves but the players’ confidence ought to be sky high.

Man of the match: Pontus Jansson.

KEITH INGHAM

Sometimes it’s just better to accept what you get through hard work and determination – Friday’s 1-1 draw might just be the result that takes Leeds United where this season’s hard work deserves them to be.

Yes, we were lucky it came when it did and from a source we have been so grateful for all season. Any awards and plaudits that come the way of Chris Wood are fully warranted. He’s immense.

For the early part of the game Leeds gave as good as they got, Alfonso Pedraza and Kemar Roofe were desperately unlucky to see their efforts denied, first by the woodwork then a instinctive save by Karl Darlow in the Newcastle goal. Gradually the home side put Leeds under pressure but were met by a blue, yellow and Green wall which repelled every effort they could throw at them.

The second half was like a ‘black and white’ wave, Leeds struggled to hold on to possession and it was only a matter of time before the defiant Green was beaten by a Jamaal Lascelles header, he nearly saved that too! Then in the very last minute of added time, Pablo Hernandez’s pass found Roofe who clipped the ball into the box for Wood to volley the equaliser and send 3,000 fans in the ‘gods’ at St James’ and a pub in Keighley, into lively celebrations.

It wasn’t pretty and I still can’t believe that Leeds came out of the game with anything, but after Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield and Fulham winning, the point felt like a win. Four games to go!

The only downside was Pontus Jansson’s booking, one more and he’s suspended for three games.

Men of the match: Rob Green, Kyle Bartley and Pontus Jansson, immense at the back.

STEPHEN CLARK

There may not be a more significant moment this season than Chris Wood’s last-gasp equaliser against Newcastle on Friday night.

With results elsewhere going against us, Leeds’ play-off hopes were under severe threat and a defeat would have left us within striking distance of the chasing pack.

However the confidence boost that the point gained at the death in Newcastle will have given the team should now see us kick on and ensure that we are in the top six. A win against Wolves tomorrow will ease the nerves even more. It is our home form that has been the bedrock of our promotion push. I fully expect us to pick up the points and make it a very happy Easter.

Man of the match: Pontus Jansson.

GARY NEWBOULD


Leeds United secured what could well be a priceless point in the final minute of injury time against Newcastle United courtesy of yet another fine Chris Wood finish.

A good opening from the Whites saw Alfonso Pedraza only denied by the width of a crossbar, whilst the home side also rattled a post.

The second half saw the home side dominate and just after the hour mark they took the lead through Jamaal Lascelles. Previous Whites sides would have crumbled but not this one. They dug in and were rewarded at the death for a point that should provide great confidence for the final four regular fixtures of the season.

It now looks like it’s between four sides for three play-off positions so it is absolutely vital that United don’t waste the momentum and ensure that they get maximum points from the visit of Wolverhampton Wanderers tomorrow afternoon.

Man of the match: Pontus Jansson.

MATTHEW EVANS

Goals like Chris Wood’s, in the final minute of Friday’s game, make it appear that this United side are almost allergic to losing. It’s a trait that has seen us score more goals in the last 10 minutes of games than any other side.

This was a result built from the back and on impressive fitness levels that allowed us to keep going for the full 90 minutes plus.

Happy with the point, Leeds will be relieved that they won’t meet Newcastle in the play-offs. They have shown just what can be achieved with a large budget.

For Leeds, after good results for our fellow play-off challengers this weekend, a win against Wolves tomorrow is all the more important.

Man of the match: Rob Green.

MIKE GILL

Going into the game against Newcastle, the Whites had three motivators – Garry Monk, Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham! This was an epic struggle that somehow typified Monk’s men this season. Gritty, fearless and resilient. They fought to the very end. Collectively the best defence we have seen for many years. Definitely a point won rather than two points dropped.

Man of the match: Rob Green.

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