Leeds United returned to the League One summit last night but it was hard not to feel sympathy for a Norwich City side beaten by Jermaine Beckford's goal deep into stoppage time. Beckford capitalised on a horrible mistake by Norwich keeper Fraser Forster who slipped and sent a goal-kick straight to the Leeds striker who duly struck the winner.
Beckford must have been the most relieved man in the ground, having missed an open goal when set up by Max Gradel moments earlier. It was cruel on Forster who had earlier made fine saves from Beckford and Robert Snodgrass as Leeds came belatedly to life in the closing stages. A sympathetic Paul Lambert, Norwich's manager, said: "[Forster] might not feel it but he will better for it. He is only a young kid, he produced two different-class saves."
Although Bradley Johnson had headed Leeds in front from a Snodgrass corner after 16 minutes, Grant Holt's tenth goal of the season after 38 minutes looked to have earned Norwich a deserved point. "We deserved to win it," Lambert argued. "We were absolutely brilliant."
Leeds remain the only team unbeaten in English league football but on this evidence, Norwich are fast shaping up as one of their main promotion rivals. Simon Grayson, the Leeds manager, admitted: "Norwich were excellent – it was the hardest game we've had."
Leeds United: (4-4-2) Higgs (Ankergren, 17); Crowe, Naylor, Bromby, Hughes; Snodgrass (Gradel, 79), Howson, Doyle, Johnson; Beckford, Vokes (Kandol, 73). Substitutes not used: Prutton, Kilkenny, Grella, Michalik.
Norwich City: (4-3-1-2) Forster; Otsemobor, Doherty, Berthel-Askou, Drury; Hughes (Gill, 90), Russell, Lappin; Hoolahan; Martin, Holt. Substitutes not used: Rudd (gk), Cureton, Adeyemi, McVeigh, Daley, McDonald.
Referee: K Friend (Leicestershire).Reuse content