Leeds United 2, Norwich City 2

Substitute Davide Somma struck to thwart Norwich City's hopes of a famous victory over Leeds United in a full-blooded promotion battle at Elland Road.

Somma's 75th-minute volley gave the hosts a point after goals from Henri Lansbury and Wes Hoolahan had helped the Canaries overturn a 1-0 deficit.

But City were indebted to a marvellous save by goalkeeper John Ruddy deep in stoppage time for ensuring they returned home with a point.

For City and nearly 3,000 travelling fans, it was an excellent point after a first half in which were pegged back for much of the time.

Leeds dominated the opening half and took the lead in the 17th minute when Luciano Becchio, who had already struck the woodwork, knocked the ball home at the far post after Max Gradel's cross had been nodded on.


You may also want to watch:


City levelled in first-half stoppage time, however, when Lansbury scored for the third time in four matches after skipper Grant Holt had knocked down a cross from Andrew Crofts.

The Canaries looked much more threatening after the break and after Holt had struck the post, they went ahead after 68 minutes through Wes Hoolahan, threading a shot home from a Crofts pass.

Most Read

But substitute Somma levelled the scores after 75 minutes, one minute after coming on, with a fine volley to set up a nail-biting finish.

And City were indebted to Ruddy late in stoppage time when he produced a marvellous save to deny substitute Billy Paynter a late, late winner.

It was a marvellous contest played out in front of a crowd of more than 31,000.

City boss Paul Lambert made two enforced changes to the team that started the 2-1 win over Reading with three senior players now set to be sidelined for a while.

With Leon Barnett facing surgery on a hamstring injury and out for the rest of the season, Zak Whitbread returned in defence.

And striker Chris Martin was another absentee through a hamstring injury, his place in attack going to Aaron Wilbraham.

The Canaries were also reduced to six substitutes with Simon Lappin a late withdrawal from the squad, rushed to hospital on Friday night with appendicitis.

Leeds were unchanged after the 2-0 win at Bristol City with American defender Eric Lichaj, on loan from Aston Villa, making his home debut at right-back in the continuing absence of Paul Connolly.

The pitch had to be cleared after steady snowfall during the morning, but conditions had improved by kick-off.

Leeds skipper Howson almost gave them the lead after three minutes when Kilkenny's header set him moving and he ran at the City defence before firing a low left-foot shot just past the post.

A fifth-minute free-kick was then even closer to providing the opening goal after Ward fouled Gradel wide on the Leeds left. Snodgrass took the kick and Becchio was unchallenged as he met it with a firm header that struck the post and rebounded into Ruddy's arms.

Leeds were pushing forward again and Ward had to make an important header to clear Howson's cross after good footwork from the Leeds captain.

City's first attempt on goal in the 11th minute was a speculative effort from Wilbraham from just outside the Leeds area but it was well wide.

Another promising move was spoilt by a poor cross from Crofts that went straight out of play.

A foul by O'Brien on Holt gave City a free-kick 15 yards into the Leeds half. Fox's kick was helped on by Crofts and Wilbraham was only just away from getting on the end of it as Leeds cleared for a corner.

Fox's kick was too long but Lansbury hooked it back with an overhead kick and as Hoolahan chased it, he was brought down by Gradel. Fox's free-kick was a poor one, though, and Leeds were able to clear.

The home side went ahead in the 17th minute, though, through Becchio, his 15th goal of the season.

Gradel's cross was headed on by Snodgrass and Becchio knocked the ball home at the far post. City were appealing for handball and it appeared the ball may have gone in off his shoulder rather than his head as he challenged Drury.

Ward was just off target with a glancing header from Fox's free-kick as City looked for a swift reply.

But as Leeds broke again, it took a timely challenge from Russell Martin to halt Gradel's progress just inside the Norwich area.

Midway through the half, Hoolahan shot wide from 20 yards after Holt had nodded on Ruddy's long kick, but Schmeichel had not been unduly troubled.

Snodgrass took a whack when he got in the way of Lansbury's swinging boot, but was able to continue without treatment.

Schmeichel was finally forced into action on 35 minutes when he leapt to his left to keep out a 25-yard drive from Fox after the midfielder moved on to a pass by Ward.

Leeds very nearly made it 2-0 on 37 minutes when Lichaj broke in far too much space on the right and his low cross was met by a shot by Howson that was blocked by Russell Martin, Howson's immediate follow-up effort hitting the bar.

Fox tried his luck from long range again and was only just off target with a screaming right-foot shot.

Holt needed treatment six minutes before the break after a challenge by O'Brien left him on the turf.

Whitbread came to City's rescue next with an important challenge on Howson.

Lansbury was booked a minute before the break for shooting into the crowd after the referee had already blown for a free-kick.

Wilbraham got a header to Ward's cross but was unable to get any power behind his effort and Schmeichel saved easily.

City equalised in first-half stoppage time with a splendid finish by Lansbury, his third goal in four matches.

Crofts' centre to the far post was nodded back by Holt and Lansbury drilled a low shot through Schmeichel's legs from the corner of the six-yard box.

• HALF-TIME: Leeds United 1, Norwich City 1

Ward was shown the yellow card five minutes after the break for a high challenge on Howson, although he appeared to toe-end the ball away from the Leeds man. Snodgrass curled the resulting free-kick wide.

Ruddy saved from McCartney's left-foot shot as Leeds threatened again, but there were groans as Kilkenny fired high into the crowd moments later.

Hoolahan almost caught out Schmeichel with a stinging shot that the keeper fumbled wide, but Leeds were soon pressing again and Howson had a clear opening, his shot diverted wide by Whitbread's challenge.

Ruddy got an important hand to a cross by Snodgrass to concede a corner, taken by the same player, with Becchio's glancing header clearing the bar.

Gradel shot wide from a useful opening after Ward had only partially cleared another Snodgrass cross.

Gradel wriggled through on 65 minutes but the sting was taken out of his left-foot shot by a deflection and Ruddy gathered easily.

Johnson was booked for a foul on Hoolahan and City almost snatched the lead from the resulting free-kick.

Wilbraham helped on Fox's kick and Holt produced an excellent flick that struck the post and bounced to safety.

But City went one better ahead on 68 minutes and took the lead with Hoolahan the scorer.

Crofts picked out Hoolahan in space on the right side of the penalty area and he threaded his shot through a crowd of players where Lichaj could only help it into the net just as it was crossing the line.

Leeds made their first change after 74 minutes with Somma replacing Kilkenny and City followed suit by putting Surman on in place of Lansbury.

Within a minute, Somma had made his mark by putting Leeds level. A cross from the left from Bruce was nodded back by Becchio for Somma to beat Ruddy with a well-struck volley.

Surman won a corner on the left as City hit back, but as Fox's kick came in, Johnson was caught by Ward's follow-through as he connected with the ball.

Somma almost scored with a far-post header as the game swung from end to end.

Both sides made changes in the first minute of stoppage time with Paynter replacing Becchio and Tierney on for Drury.

A foul by Whitbread on Gradel gave Leeds a free-kick, which Gradel got up to take but as Johnson met his cross to the far post with a header, Ruddy collected easily.

With three minutes of stoppage time played, though, Ruddy saved the day for City when he brilliantly turned a shot by substitute Paynter past the post.

• RESULT: Leeds United 2, Norwich City 2

• Leeds United: Schmeichel; Lichaj, Bruce, O'Brien, McCartney; Snodgrass, Kilkenny, Johnson, Gradel; Howson; Becchio.

Subs: Higgs, Bromby, Parker, Sam, Somma (for Kilkenny, 74), McCormack, Paynter (for Becchio, 90).

• Norwich City: Ruddy; Russell Martin, Ward, Whitbread, Drury; Fox; Crofts, Lansbury; Hoolahan; Wilbraham, Holt.

Subs: Steer, Tierney (for Drury, 90), Korey Smith, McNamee, Surman (for Lansbury, 74), Jackson.

• Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire)

• Attendance: 31,601

• Goals: Leeds: Becchio (17), Somma (75). City: Lansbury (45), Hoolahan (68)

• Bookings: Leeds: Johnson (66), McCartney (70). City: Lansbury (44), Ward (50)

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus