Leeds United 3 Norwich City 3 match report: 10-man Canaries cling on for a point
PUBLISHED: 18:09 29 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:39 30 April 2017
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Norwich City hung on for a point after leading 3-0 in a pulsating Championship contest against Leeds United at Elland Road.
Steven Naismith scored the opener and was then sent off in the final minute of normal time but Alan Irvine’s men repelled a late Leeds’ onslaught after looking set for an emphatic win.
Nelson Oliveira’s brace put the visitors 3-0 up but Chris Wood responded in first half stoppage time. Kyle Bartley pounced from close range four minutes after the break before Pablo Hernandez’s superb free kick cancelled out City’s advantage.
Naismith went for a lunging challenge on Ronaldo Vieira but Garry Monk’s side were unable to seal the victory.
Irvine named an unchanged line up from the side that beat Brighton 2-0 in the Championship. Timm Klose was included on the bench after his knee injury but Wes Hoolahan (hip) and Alex Tettey (back) remained in Norfolk. Paul Jones replaced Michael McGovern as back up to John Ruddy with the Northern Irish international missing the game on compassionate grounds.
Former Norwich stalwart Rob Green was in the Leeds ranks with Championship top scorer Wood leading the line for Monk’s men, who started the game two points adrift of the final play-off spot.
Ivo Pinto had Green scrambling across his line in the fifth minute but the long range shot veered wide.
Wood had two early sighters from Luke Ayling crosses but the prolific New Zealander was unable to climb high enough to test Ruddy.
Naismith stunned the vocal home crowd in the 28th minute when he gathered Alex Pritchard’s slip pass to crash a magnificent 25-yard shot past the despairing dive of Green into the top corner.
Oliveira went close to a second in the 33rd minute with a curling effort that beat Green but just evaded his far post.
But the Portuguese international was not to be denied and had the simplest of slots from close range a minute later to volley home Josh Murphy’s cut back after the wide player had burst past Pontus Jansson.
Oliveira then spurned a chance to double his personal tally almost from the restart, with Leeds listing badly at the back, but the striker’s guided finish from eight yards rolled wide after Pritchard was the latest to pick out the unmarked forward.
But another bizarre Championship half for Norwich this season still contained a couple more twists prior to the interval. Oliveira tried his luck again with a curling effort in the 45th minute this time too good for Green as it drifted inside his far post. Yet City were unable to hold on to a 3-0 half-time lead, with Wood diverting a cross past Ruddy in time added on.
Leeds surged forward after the interval and took four minutes to punish Norwich from a deep corner bundled home by Bartley, from Jansson’s initial flick, after Pritchard was unable to hack clear on the City goal line.
Oliveira’s free kick struck the Leeds wall after Pritchard was hauled down in a rare respite from the home onslaught.
Green then parried the striker’s low shot but Naismith was in an offside position as he attempted to poke the ball over the line from point blank range.
Ruddy shovelled Kemar Roofe’s shot around his near post at the other end with a superb reaction stop. Pinto then burst into the Leeds box but choked a shot at Green.
Pritchard’s clever free kick in the 72nd minute picked out Naismith but his half-volley was straight at Green. The ex-City keeper then bravely smothered Oliveira’s close range shot before Mitchell Dijks skied the follow up.
Leeds remarkably drew level after being three goals adrift when Hernandez conjured a dipping free kick past Ruddy from the angle of the Norwich penalty area.
Irvine made his first substitution in the 83rd minute when Cameron Jerome replaced Oliveira, but Norwich were forced to play out stoppage time with 10 men when Naismith was red carded for a lunging challenge on Vieira.
Bartley miscued a close range chance deep in time added on from seven yards out.
• Leeds: Green, Ayling (Pedraza 72), Bartley, Jansson, Berardi, Vieira, O’Kane (Phillips 82), Roofe, Hernandez, Dallas (Doukara 62), Wood. Subs (not used): Peacock-Farrell, Taylor, Coyle, Sacko.
• Booking: Jansson (foul on Pritchard, 63); Berardi (unsporting behaviour, 77)
• Goals: Wood (45), Bartley (49), Hernandez (78)
• Norwich: Ruddy, Pinto, Martin, Bennett, Dijks, Howson, Dorrans, Josh Murphy (Klose 90), Naismith, Pritchard, Oliveira (Jerome 83). Subs: (not used): Jones (GK), Whittaker, Wildschut, Jacob Murphy, Maddison.
• Booking: Dorrans (unsporting behaviour, 77)
• Sending off: Naismith (foul on Vieira, 89)
• Goals: Naismith (28), Oliveira (34, 45)
• Time added on: 1 minute / 6 minutes
• Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland)
• Attendance: 34,292