Football: Frantic finale floors Leeds

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The Independent Online
Norwich City 2

Robins 61, Adams 90

Leeds United 1

Wallace 89

Attendance: 17,390

MIKE WALKER, the beleaguered Everton manager, said the other day that if he had wanted a quiet life he would have stayed at Norwich. Not surprisingly, the news of Everton's defeat at Southampton was greeted with delight at Carrow Road.

In fact, far from disappearing into their own backwater after the European heights of Munich and Milan, the Canaries are making themselves heard again. When Walker walked out on them last season, Norwich's world did seem to fall apart but they have emerged from the summer break with their self-belief restored.

These points, which lift Norwich to eighth in the table, were not won without drama. Indeed it is difficult to imagine a more breathtaking finale with two goals 16 seconds apart inside the last minute. Rod Wallace, diving to meet Gary Speed's left-wing cross at the near post, equalised Mark Robbins's 61st-minute opener, but then, just as it seemed that Leeds had got out of jail, Robins crossed for Neil Adams to head the winner.

'I'm very proud of my lads,' John Deehan, Walker's successor, said: 'This is the best we have played since I became manager.'

High praise considering that Blackburn had been beaten by the same score here a week earlier. But this was a triumph for discipline and organisation in which Jon Newsome, against his old team, defended outstandingly until a back injury curtailed his involvement. Ian Crook and Darren Eadie both showed tremendous courage, playing through the pain of injury after Newsome and Mike Milligan had to be withdrawn.

Leeds missed several opportunities, notably a header sent wide by Noel Whelan which should have given them a first-half lead, and a penalty, early in the second half, saved brilliantly by Bryan Gunn from Gary McAllister.

But they can also rue defensive errors which allowed Robins to nip between Carlton Palmer and John Lukic to shoot Norwich ahead and Adams to duck in between Palmer and Gary Kelly at the death.