Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s 3-3 draw with Norwich City.
Like so many other games this season this was a game of two halves.
After a lively enough start, Leeds conceded to a cracking goal from Steven Naismith their nemesis on 28 minutes. Six minutes later, Nelson Oliveira doubled Norwich’s lead with a simple tap in. He piled on the agony with a curling shot just before half-time. Even when Chris Wood pulled one back a minute later it didn’t look as if United would be in the hunt.
Once again, however what appeared to be a different team came out in the second half. Within four minutes, Kyle Bartley had scrambled one home from a corner and Elland Road sounded like Elland Road again. Could they do it?
Memories of that famous game against Bristol Rovers came flooding back. Pablo Hernandez pumped up the volume another notch when he found the net with a beautifully taken free-kick on 78 minutes.
Pandemonium broke out and United pressed for a winner. Fulham were drawing so a win became essential. Rob Green kept the exposed defence in the game and when Naismith was sent off for clattering Ronaldo Vieira and six minutes were added, you felt that a win was still possible. Sadly it wasn’t to be, but you couldn’t fault the Whites for their effort.
When Garry Monk and the players returned for the lap of honour most of the 34,000 plus crowd stayed behind to give their heartfelt applause to a manager and team who have given a lot of pleasure this season.
For once the lap had some meaning unlike the last few seasons when it was almost embarrassing – as it might have been on Saturday if we had lost by two or three goals.
Will we have the same manager next season?
Which players will we manage to retain?
Who will we sign?
Well first, we need to round the season off at Wigan. It’s a shame that we are not still in contention but it is what it is.
Yes, it was disappointing in the end but strong foundations have been laid both on the pitch and behind the scenes.
Leeds could take a leaf out of Brighton’s book by licking their wounds and attacking the Championship with renewed gusto next season.
Man of the match: Kyle Bartley.
Leeds’ season looks like being a season of ‘might-bes’ – the 3-3 draw with Norwich condemned the team to another season in the Championship.
Leeds started well and it put Norwich on the back foot, but as in a few games recently it counted for nothing as the away side glided through their gears and it wasn’t long before Steven Naismith, Nelson Oliveira (2) had given them a three-goal lead, to say they dominated Leeds in this period is a understatement. But as in a few games this season Leeds dusted themselves down and in first- half injury time Chris Wood scored his 29th goal of the season. Many fans were making their ways to the exits when the half-time whistle was blown.
The second half summed up the season for me, so near but so far. They tore into Norwich and it was no surprise they added a second within minutes of the re-start, Kyle Bartley getting the final touch after a goalmouth scramble.
With just over ten minutes to play Leeds were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the Norwich area, Hernandez sent the ball over the wall and into the top corner sending Elland Road into orbit. However, Leeds couldn’t force that all- important winner.
It was, mind you, a superb game to end a very good home campaign by Leeds United.
Man of the match: Eunan O’Kane.
Leeds United’s Elland Road campaign ended in glorious failure with an epic 3-3 draw against Norwich City.
Needing a win to have any hope of remaining in the play-off hunt, the Whites nerves got the better of them. They were all over the place as a classy Norwich side tore them apart and raced into a 3-0 lead.
However, when the chips were down, this team didn’t give in. Chris Wood grabbed one beack before half-time to raise the team’s spirit. Then Leeds produced one of those hair-raising performances, roared on by those fans who kept the faith. Kyle Bartley bundled the ball into the net at the start of the second half and stirred the whole ground to roar the team on.
When Pablo Hernandez scored with a glorious free-kick with 10 minutes to go the miracle was within touching distance. But like the top six place they were chasing, the winner remained tantalisingly out of reach.
Man of the match: Gaetano Berardi.
The curtain came down on this season’s home Championship campaign with a topsy-turvy draw against the Canaries.
Gaetano Berardi replaced Charlie Taylor in the starting line up from a week earlier at Burton.
After 44 minutes a once again stage-struck United were 3-0 down and well on the way to a hiding before Chris Wood pulled back what appeared to be at most a consolation goal on half-time.
However bags full of character and second-half goals from Kyle Bartley and Pablo Hernandez set up a grandstand finish but it was too little, too late and the Whites have agonisingly missed the play-offs in the final stretches of the season.
Man of the match: Gaetano Berardi.
Another valiant effort by a young side that got itself into a mess is probably all the evidence we need that we are not ready yet either for the play-offs or the Premier League. Three goals down in the blink of an eye and looking bewildered we eventually showed spirit in spades to grab an unlikely point. Had we shown the same application against Wolves or Burton the point would probably have been enough but we didn’t and we can only put that down to our lack of experience. It’s as good as over now so thoughts will turn to next season or more correctly, the summer. If we can now build on the squad and set up we have created and avoid the usual summer clear out then may be we can last the distance next time instead of falling at the last hurdle. Fingers crossed that the powers that be will do the right thing.
Man of the match Pablo Hernandez.
A bitterly disappointing end to a very promising season. Towards the end of October and beginning of November our campaign took an upswing on the back of two characterful comebacks against Norwich.
Our third such game, on Saturday, marked the end of our play-off hopes and only the players can know what happened to cause them to concede three goals before they really began to compete,
It’s fascinating how quickly things can turn at Elland Road but now all of the talk is about retaining Garry Monk and his key players and not having to unstitch a season’s worth of excellent work. Surely Monk won’t be allowed to leave but, at Leeds United, nothing would surprise you.
Man of the match: Eunan O’Kane.