Norwich City visit provides reminder of long Leeds United journey back to the big time

Leeds United are in the midst of some long away days.
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Fresh from Tuesday’s venture to Arsenal, the trek to Norfolk is next for today’s clash against Norwich City.

Back in the 90s when the two sides were in the old Premiership, United’s record at Carrow Road was awful, three visits and three defeats between April 1993 and October 1994.

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But the Whites finally recorded victories at Norwich when the two sides met in the Championship with the 3-2 epic of November 2016 a particularly memorable success.

CARROW ROAD CRACKER: Ronaldo Vieira, centre, is mobbed by his Leeds United team mates after his last-minute winner which sealed a 3-2 victory at Championship hosts Norwich City back in November 2015. Picture by Simon Hulme.CARROW ROAD CRACKER: Ronaldo Vieira, centre, is mobbed by his Leeds United team mates after his last-minute winner which sealed a 3-2 victory at Championship hosts Norwich City back in November 2015. Picture by Simon Hulme.
CARROW ROAD CRACKER: Ronaldo Vieira, centre, is mobbed by his Leeds United team mates after his last-minute winner which sealed a 3-2 victory at Championship hosts Norwich City back in November 2015. Picture by Simon Hulme.

Leeds broke the sequence of three defeats in a row at Carrow Road with the 1-0 win of August 2005 in what was United’s second season back down in English football’s second tier.

Rob Hulse had bagged the only goal of the game to sink a Canaries side who had followed Leeds down from the Premier League the following year.

Both clubs would then drop even further down the pyramid, Leeds relegated to League One in May 2007 and Norwich then going down in 2009.

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The two clubs then went up in tandem in the Spring of 2010, Simon Grayson’s Whites promoted as runners-up behind champions Norwich who went up again the following season as Championship runners-up.

But the Canaries were back in the second tier for the 2014-15 campaign and again for two consecutive seasons from 2016-17 - the campaign in which teenager Ronaldo Viera’s 90th-minute winner sealed victory in a five-goal thriller for the Whites.

Leeds were in their sixth consecutive season in English football’s second tier and had finished the previous season in the familiar position in 13th place under Steve Evans who was then replaced by Garry Monk in the summer.

Sixteen games into the season, the 3-2 win at Norwich put Leeds sixth, Monk’s side having rocketed up the table from third-bottom by amassing 22 points from their last ten games.

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Norwich were going in the other direction under boss Alex Neil and the reverse against the Whites left them fifth and just one point above Leeds having been top in the middle of October.

The Canaries went ahead in the 24th minute when an Alex Pritchard corner was met by Robbie Brady whose flicked header sailed over Rob Green who got a hand on to his effort but could not stop the ball finding the back of the net.

The hosts took their lead into the break but Monk’s side drew level three minutes before the hour when Pontus Jansson produced a fine headed finish to a Pablo Hernandez corner that was sent back across goal and left ‘keeper Michael McGovern a spectator as it looped into the right corner of the net, despite the presence of a man on the line.

McGovern then produced a good save to keep out a half volley from the edge of the box as Leeds pushed for a second but there was nothing McGovern could do in the 74th minute as Chris Wood fired Leeds ahead After good work from Hadi Sacko.

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Leeds worked the ball to Luke Ayling who laid on a precise pullback for Wood who did the rest by applying a neat rising finish past the stranded McGovern.

Leeds had turned the game on its head but Norwich drew level with just two minutes left when Kyle Lafferty ghosted in at the far post to convert a cross from Wes Hoolahan from a tight angle, knocking the ball back across Green into the bottom right.

A Carrow Road thriller was set to end all square but Leeds and Vieira had other ideas as Monk’s side struck for a third time in the 90th minute.

Leeds were awarded a free kick some 30 yards out and Eunan O’Kane laid the ball off for Viera who took a couple of touches before letting fly with a raking drive from fully 30 yards out that flew past Pritchard into the bottom left corner.

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"Over the course of the game I thought we were the better team and got what we deserved in the end," said Monk.

"I think the first 20 minutes was the best start to a game we have had since I have been here. We looked sharp, should have put some of our chances away and then found ourselves behind when we conceded a really poor goal.

"I told the lads at half-time that if they repeated those first 20 minutes in the second half there was a result to be had and full credit to the lads, they went out there and did just that.

"That's one for the fans to enjoy. It's a great result, but there is nothing to be won yet. We know we are not the finished article yet, but we are making good progress."

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Thank you Laura Collins