Norwich City 1, Leeds United 0
SLIDESHOW: Chris Martin provided the perfect answer to Norwich City manager Paul Lambert after being dropped for the top-of-the-table clash with Leeds – by heading a magnificent winner less than two minutes from time to extend his side's lead to 11 points at the top of the table.
Striker Chris Martin provided the perfect answer to Norwich City manager Paul Lambert after being dropped for the top-of-the-table clash with Leeds - by heading a magnificent winner less than two minutes from time to extend his side's lead to 11 points at the top of the table.
Martin, introduced from the bench after 62 minutes, headed home a cross by fellow substitute Stephen Hughes for his 21st goal of the season to decide a hard-fought contest in which the Canaries seldom found their best form.
There was further drama in stoppage time when Leeds substitute Tresor Kandol was shown the red card within seconds of coming on to the field.
The eagerly-awaited clash in front of a Carrow Road full house was certainly no classic, but there will be few complaints from jubilant home fans after their side avenged their defeat at Elland Road in October in an equally thrilling finish.
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City boss Paul Lambert made two changes to his starting line-up. Adam Drury was recalled at left-back for his first appearance for two months at the expense of the on-loan Michael Rose, while Stephen Elliott was given his first start in attack in place of Chris Martin.
Defender Zak Whitbread was back on the bench, with Paul McVeigh the man left out from the 18 on duty at Swindon.
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Leeds boss Simon Grayson made five changes to the team that started Monday night's 2-0 defeat by Millwall.
With defender Patrick Kisnorbo ruled out by an Achilles injury, Neill Collins, on loan from Preston, made his debut.
Goalkeeper Shane Higgs and striker Jermaine Beckford were back after injury, defender Shane Lowry was back after his loan from Aston Villa was extended and there was a recall to the starting line-up for Neil Kilnenny.
Goalkeeper Casper Ankergren reverted to the number two role, and ex-Canary loan defender Leigh Bromby, Bradley Johnson and veteran striker Paul Dickov were also demoted to the substitutes' bench.
City began brightly and forced two corners in the opening two minutes. From the second of them, goalkeeper Higgs had to stretch to palm away Lappin's inswinging kick.
In the eighth minute, a shot from Beckford took a ricochet off Doherty and flew wide for a corner.
Two minutes later Drury and Elliott combined to set up a shooting chance for Lappin, but his right-foot shot was a yard wide.
Leeds had a problem immediately afterwards when Becchio was caught on the head by a high boot by Nelson and collapsed on the floor. Both physios were out immediately and the City club doctor was among a cluster of people in attention before Becchio was stretchered off after a four-minute delay, to be replaced by Grella.
Play resumed with a free-kick to Leeds, but Snodgrass put the ball straight out of play behind the Norwich goal.
A slip by Andy Hughes as he tried to cut out Holt's pass almost let Lappin in but as he fired low into the six-yard box, the ball struck Hoolahan, who was ruled offside.
Leeds were having plenty of possession with City struggling to regain their early momentum, but Kilkenny was well off target with a long-range effort.
Holt did well to force Naylor to concede a corner as he pursued a ball from Drury, but Lappin's kick was easily cleared.
City were guilty of giving the ball away in their own territory and both Hoolahan and Russell Martin made unforced errors that kept them under pressure.
Ten minutes before the break, Smith was caught in possession and Beckford struck a long-range effort, but Forster was right behind it.
Naylor was booked for bringing down Holt on the edge of the Leeds area eight minutes before the break. After some deliberation, Russell Martin took the resulting free-kick but his deflected effort was headed away by Andy Hughes.
Two minutes later, Snodgrass caught Drury in the face with his arm, a challenge that infuriated the home crowd, and he was shown the yellow card while the full-back was being treated.
Beckford was penalised for a bad challenge on Nelson that forced the defender to jump smartly out of the way, but escaped with a word from referee Probert.
Holt hooked a shot high over the top rather hastily after Smith battled to set up the chance.
t Half-time: Norwich City 0, Leeds United 0
In the opening minute of the second half, Smith was booked for a foul on Doyle.
City struggled to get going but forced a corner 10 minutes into the half when Russell Martin's first-time cross was cut out, Doherty heading wide from Lappin's kick.
As Leeds hit back, a shot from Grella took a deflection but went safely through to Forster.
As City broke, Smith and Hoolahan set up Elliott on the right side of the area, but he ballooned his shot into the crowd.
Grella squandered a good opening after 58 minutes when he weaved into the area but scuffed a left-foot shot weakly at Forster.
With an hour gone, Doherty rescued a dangerous situation with a calm header back to Forster as Beckford chased a long through-ball.
After 62 minutes, Elliott was withdrawn and Chris Martin restored to his familiar role in attack alongside Holt.
Two minutes later, Snodgrass was not too far off target with a swerving effort after Nelson headed clear a cross from Lowry.
Andy Hughes needed attention after taking a cross by Hoolahan full in the face. The resulting corner was a poor one, but Russell retrieved possession and struck a right-foot shot that gave Higgs a rare slice of the action.
Still City looked shaky at times and after Doherty did well to deny Beckford a shooting chance, Grella set up Howson for a right-foot shot that flashed just wide.
Holt picked up his ninth booking of the season with a rash challenge on Snodgrass on the halfway line.
With 18 minutes left, Lambert made his second change by replacing Hoolahan with McNamee.
There was a yellow card for Lowry for a bad challenge on McNamee and soon afterwards Drury was booked for a trip on Beckford.
A fine through-ball by McNamee set up Chris Martin on the right but his shot was charged down and City were again grateful to Doherty for some timely tidying up.
There was a double change as Stephen Hughes replaced Smith and Leeds sent on Bradley Johnson for Kilkenny.
With less than two minutes left, City finally broke the deadlock with a magnificent goal by substitute Chris Martin.
Holt's header to Stephen Hughes sent the midfielder racing away down the right and his perfect cross was met with a superb diving header by Martin, giving Higgs no chance.
There was real drama in stoppage time when Kandol replaced Andy Hughes for Leeds but was sent off in a matter of seconds for what may have been a head butt.
t Result: Norwich City 1, Leeds United 0
t Norwich City: Forster; Russell Martin, Doherty, Nelson, Drury; Russell; Smith, Lappin; Hoolahan; Holt, Elliott.
Subs: Rudd, Rose, Whitbread, Stephen Hughes (for Smith, 85), McNamee (for Hoolahan, 72), Oli Johnson, Chris Martin (for Elliott, 62).
t Leeds United: Higgs; Andy Hughes, Naylor, Collins, Lowry; Doyle; Howson, Snodgrass, Kilkenny; Beckford, Becchio.
Subs: Ankergren, Kandol (for Andy Hughes, 90), Bromby, Bradley Johnson (for Kilkenny, 86), Gradel, Grella (for Becchio, 15), Dickov.
t Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)
t Attendance: 25,445
t Goal: Norwich: Chris Martin (89)
t Red card: Leeds: Kandol (90)
t Bookings: Norwich: Smith (46), Holt (71), Drury (77). Leeds: Naylor (37), Snodgrass (41), Lowry (76)