Leeds United 2 Norwich City 2: Lewis' late strike puts Leeds eyes back on the ball

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The Independent Football

Delia Smith was welcomed to Elland Road with her favourite steak and kidney pie, but Leeds United's promotion ambitions would be better served by a slice of something rather more humble. Football is not just about basking in success, taking great satisfaction in your rivals' failure is a central part of its pull.

By all means, keep the supporters informed of Sheffield United's latest brush with the self-destruct button, but there is an appropriate time and place.

So there was no excuse for the stadium PA man to excitedly announce that the Blades were en route to their sixth winless game in seven at Coventry just after Rob Hulse had poked Leeds ahead. "Some idiot put the Sheffield score out over the tannoy," Sean Gregan, the Leeds defender, said. "It didn't help us at all."

Sam Ellis, the Leeds assistant manager, said: "It was done with the best intentions. But I'd have to say that it was ill-advised."

Clearly stung by Leeds apparently concentrating on events elsewhere, neat second-half finishes from Andy Hughes and Paul McVeigh looked to have secured a first away win of the year for Norwich.

Eddie Lewis claimed not to have heard the first-half announcement, the United States international instead concentrated on curling home a stunning injury-time free-kick equaliser after Gary Doherty had climbed all over Paul Butler 25 yards out. It stretched to nine Leeds' unbeaten run and cuts to five their deficit on the second-placed Sheffield United - at one stage that gap was 17 - and Leeds have a game in hand before they face Sheffield at Bramall Lane next month. Lewis said: "We've been saying all along it's going to go down right to the end. For the first time it's in our hands."

Pitiful before the break, pitiless after it, a season of awful Norwich inconsistency was encapsulated in 90 minutes and the play-offs are a fading possibility. "This game really summed up our Jekyll and Hyde season," admitted Simon Charlton, their makeshift midfielder. Norwich face Sheffield United next and Charlton insisted: "We can still sneak into the play-offs. We have to keep trying otherwise we might as well just go on our holidays now. It's still possible."

Goals: Hulse (19) 1-0; Hughes (57) 1-1; McVeigh (75) 1-2; Lewis (90) 2-2.

Leeds United (4-4-2) Sullivan; Kelly, Butler, Gregan, Crainey; Douglas, Derry, Miller (Bakke, 79), Lewis; Hulse, Blake (Healy, 69). Substitutes not used: Bennett (gk), Kilgallon, Moore.

Norwich City (4-2-3-1) Green; Fleming, Shackell, Doherty, Drury; Robinson, Charlton (Safri, 83); Hughes, McVeigh, Huckerby (Earnshaw, 90); McKenzie (Johansson, 86). Substitutes not used: Gallacher, Etuhu.

Bookings: Norwich: Fleming, Doherty.

Referee: C Foy (Merseyside).

Man of the match: Lewis.

Attendance: 24,993.

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