Norwich City 1, Leeds United 1

Defender Leon Barnett's first goal for Norwich City earned them a point from a rip-roaring Championship battle with Leeds United at Carrow Road.

Tricky left-winger Max Gradel put Leeds ahead in the 13th minute with a low shot that goalkeeper John Ruddy was unable to keep out.

Trailing at the interval, City dominated the second half but it took them until the 65th minute to draw level when Barnett rose to head home from a David Fox corner.

It was the Canaries' fourth successive draw but after bombarding Leeds for almost the entire second period, when a double substitution – including the introduction of Wes Hoolahan – helped give them the upper hand, they were unlucky not to collect all three points.

A pulsating game was watched by a crowd of 26,315, an all-seater record for Carrow Road and the biggest home gate since 1989.


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With Korey Smith ruled out by an ankle injury he suffered in the 3-3 draw at Reading, there was one change to the starting line-up, with a surprise recall for left-sided midfielder Andrew Surman, out of action since the end of August with a knee injury.

Manager Paul Lambert had said the day before the game that Surman was not yet fit to return, though he played in a behind closed doors game against Ipswich reserves earlier in the week, as did Michael Nelson, recalled to the substitutes' bench - his first involvement since August 21 - in place of calf injury victim Matthew Gill.

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Wes Hoolahan was omitted from the starting line-up for the second game in a row.

Leeds made one change to their starting eleven – no surprise as Luciano Becchio scored a hat-trick after coming on as a substitute against Bristol City last week to inspire a 3-1 win. Becchio replaced Davide Somma up front, with Somma on the bench.

Johnson, transfer-listed by Leeds on Thursday, had the first shot of the afternoon, a 30-yard effort that went wide.

City's first threat came from a Surman free-kick, Ward getting up highest but powering a header over the top.

A good block by Ward worked against City as the ball fell to Howson, who brought Ruddy into action for the first time with a curling left-foot shot.

A powerful shot by Fox looped out off Bruce to give City their first corner. Crofts got on the end of a poor kick by Fox but the ball rebounded off him straight out of play.

Fox's next corner was headed back by Holt for Barnett to let fly, Bruce again getting the block.

Gradel earned Leeds' first corner, Lappin getting his head to Kilkenny's kick and Ruddy having to make a catch as the ball looped into the air.

Leeds took the lead in the 13th minute through the dangerous Gradel.

McCartney's ball forward posed problems for City, Surman challenging Howson first before Barnett fouled Becchio on the edge of the Norwich area, but play was allowed to continue and Gradel, taking possession on the left corner of the penalty area, fired a low drive under Russell Martin's outstretched leg and through Ruddy's hands to open the scoring.

Johnson fired across the face of the goal as Leeds threatened again.

A blatant chop by Bruce on Holt on the edge of the Leeds area angered the home crowd, but Bruce immediately went down clutching his left knee. After a long pause for treatment, Bruce was shown the yellow card.

Chris Martin threaded the resulting free-kick low through a crowd of players but Schmeichel was safely behind it.

There was a lucky escape for Leeds in the 27th minute when Chris Martin's pass found Crofts and with the defence expecting the offside flag, Crofts was clean through against Schmeichel but took the ball too wide to get in a shot and the chance was gone.

As Leeds broke, Snodgrass went past Lappin only for his cross to be blocked by Ward, with the visitors appealing for handball but referee Russell awarding a corner.

City forced the game's 10th corner inside the opening half-hour, but Ward's header from Surman's kick was blocked by team-mate Crofts.

A stumble by Ward almost handed Leeds a second goal when Becchio cashed in on the error to set up Gradel for a shot that Ruddy had to tip over the top.

Gradel weaved his way into another shooting position after 37 minutes when he sidestepped Russell Martin but his shot was straight into Ruddy's midriff.

A challenge by Chris Martin on Johnson gave Leeds a free-kick on the edge of the Norwich area and it was taken quickly to Gradel, whose shot looped out off Ward for another corner.

Gradel was a handful for City and his next cross was flicked on by Howson, but just across the goal out of reach of Becchio.

• HALF-TIME: Norwich City 0, Leeds United 1

In the opening minute of the second half, Crofts' persistence set up Holt on the edge of the Leeds area and he swivelled to fire a shot just over the top.

City had begun the half brightly but a quickly taken free-kick by Fox was wasted as Crofts blazed his shot into the crowd.

City went close six minutes after the break when Lappin's cross from the left reached the far post and, as Bruce and Holt jumped for the header, it appeared the Leeds man may have got the biggest touch as the ball rattled the post and rebounded to safety.

Ward, having an excellent match, pushed forward to good effect and was only inches away from getting of a return pass as he tried a one-two with Holt.

City produced their best effort yet in the 58th minute when Surman and Crofts combined to set up Chris Martin, whose shot from the corner of the penalty area was curving just inside the post when Schmeichel dived to his left to push it round the post.

Lambert made a double change in the 62nd minute when Hoolahan and Jackson replaced Surman and McNamee.

Barnett picked up his fourth booking in City colours after a challenge on Becchio one minute later.

Hoolahan forced a corner out of Connolly after a touch from Chris Martin almost put him through and it led to the equaliser after 65 minutes – Barnett's first goal for the club.

Fox's corner, City's 10th of the match, was perfectly placed for the big defender to rise and thump a header past Schmeichel.

City had dominated the second period and with Jackson playing wide on the right and Chris Martin mostly patrolling the left touchline, they were stretching Leeds to good effect.

Johnson's header from a Snodgrass corner almost caused Ruddy problems but the 'keeper managed to smother the ball.

Kilkenny, who had been having a running dialogue with the referee, was finally shown the yellow card 13 minutes from time for upending Chris Martin.

Ward went forward again in the 82nd minute and forced Schmeichel into action as he dived to his left to save.

Holt and Hoolahan combined well and almost put Jackson through but Schmeichel raced out to grab the ball.

Jackson had another chance from Hoolahan's cross but snatched at it and shot over the bar.

Leeds made their first change five minutes from time when Sam replaced goalscorer Gradel.

A cross from Snodgrass was desperately close to dropping inside the far post as Ruddy looked a little uncomfortable.

Hoolahan curled a left-footer just wide as City looked for a late winner.

With two minutes left, McCormack replaced Kilkenny as Leeds made another change.

In the dying minutes, the Canaries forced an almighty goalmouth battle and after Ward had a shot saved by Scmeichel, Crofts hooked a shot just wide.

In stoppage time, a foul by Connolly on Chris Martin earned him a booking, but Hoolahan's free-kick was a poor one.

Leeds made one final change when Collins was sent on for Becchio.

• RESULT: Norwich City 1, Leeds United 1

• Norwich City: Ruddy; Russell Martin, Barnett, Ward, Lappin; McNamee (Jackson, 62), Crofts, Fox, Surman (Hoolahan, 62); Holt, Chris Martin. Subs (not used): Rudd, Nelson, Askou, Daley, Johnson.

• Leeds United: Schmeichel; Connolly, O'Brien, Bruce, McCartney; Snodgrass, Kilkenny (McCormack, 88), Howson, Johnson, Gradel (Sam, 85); Becchio (Collins, 90). Subs (not used): Higgs, Hughes, Paynter, Somma.

• Referee: Mick Russell (Hertfordshire)

• Attendance: 26,315

• Goals: City: Barnett (65). Leeds: Gradel (13)

• Bookings: City: Barnett (63). Leeds: Bruce (23), Kilkenny (77), Connolly (90).

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