Leeds won what could be a precious point in their battle against relegation with a 2-2 draw against Newcastle in a tale of three penalties.
A key moment came with Leeds a goal up, courtesy of Luke Ayling, when Patrick Bamford squandered a golden opportunity from the penalty spot, and less than two minutes later Newcastle were awarded a penalty of their own which was scored by Callum Wilson.
Newcastle were handed a second penalty when Junior Firpo inexplicably touched inside his own box and Wilson scored again to put the Magpies ahead. That might have taken the fill out for Leeds, but Rasmus Kristensen’s deflected shot gave Sam Allardyce a point in his first home game in charge.
In what was a hectic and action-packed game, Firpo was sent off late for a professional foul and a Leeds fan was taken away by the stewards for confronting Eddie Howe in the Newcastle technical area as the clock ticked down.
“That was a real surprise,” Howe said. BT sport.
“I was focused on the game. It was the last thing you thought would happen.”
reads: Robles (7), Kristensen (8), Koch (7), Wober (6), Ayling (7), McKennie (7), Greenwood (5), Firpo (3), Rodrigo (7), Harrison (6), Bamford (5)
Substitutes: Forshaw (7), Struijk (6), Gnonto (7), Aaronson (6)
newcastle: Pope (7), Trippier (7), Schar (7), Botman (7), Burn (6), Guimaraes (6), Willock (7), Joelinton (6), Almiron (6), Wilson (7), Isaac (6)
Substitutes: Saint Maximinus (7), Gordon (6), Andersen (6)
Man of the match: rasmus kristensen
Leeds remain in the relegation zone with just two games remaining to salvage their season: away at West Ham before hosting Tottenham on the final day. Newcastle, who play Brighton on Thursday, live on Sky Sports, still have their best four hopes in their own hands and remain third.
How Leeds fought to keep hope alive…
Leeds played with energy and verve in the early stages and the Elland Road crowd responded, creating a hostile atmosphere. The roof fell off after seven minutes.
After Jack Harrison’s trick freed Bamford down the left, his cross was headed by Rodrigo, prompting a save by Nick Pope. But he just nailed it to Ayling, who converted the rebound.
Leeds were flying and had a great chance to double their lead, but Pope saved Bamford’s penalty after Joelinton brought Firpo down.
Just two minutes later, Newcastle earned a penalty of their own.
Referee Simon Hooper aimed squarely at the point after Max Wober’s reckless challenge on Alexander Isak and Wilson duly converted his 16th league goal of the season.
Miguel Almiron then fired a left-footed shot inches wide just before half time, but clear chances were few and far between for the Toon against a much-improved Leeds defence.
Wilson threatened again shortly after the restart when his volley was deflected for a corner and Fabian Schar’s header was cleared on the goal line by Rodrigo.
The pressure was growing and Firpo was collapsing under it.
VAR sent referee Hooper to the pitch monitor after Firpo’s handball from Joe Willock’s deep cross and, after the referee had flagged the point for the third time in the match, Wilson stood his ground to put Newcastle ahead.
But, out of the blue, Leeds showed incredible resilience and leveled off.
Newcastle only half cleared substitute Willy Gnonto’s corner and Kristensen hit a 25-yard strike through a Kieran Trippier deflection to bring the home team level.
Firpo’s afternoon then went from bad to worse when he was sent off for a professional foul after his tackle on substitute Anthony Gordon just outside the box.
In the hustle and bustle of the free kick, a Leeds fan leaped out of the crowd to confront Newcastle boss Howe before being dragged away.
It was an ugly ending to a wonderfully entertaining match.
Howe confused by the end-to-end encounter
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe to BT Sport:
“I’m struggling to make sense of all of this.
“It was their first attack, we started well. The first attack they get they mark. We hadn’t created any clear chances. I think we played well at times today not reaching our best form and we were rushing around the box. The character to come back is a big positive .
“The way Wilson took both of his penalties was outstanding. The second one is the most difficult, there are a lot of mind games and a lot of time to take the penalty.”
Allardyce: We weren’t professionals
Leeds manager Sam Allardyce speaking to BT Sport:
“Very, very satisfied with what they have done and how they applied themselves. There are many areas where we say there is room for improvement, but we are not discouraged even though we made life extremely difficult for ourselves. We missed a penalty.” then he conceded two but scored to save the 2-2.
“Our defense was superb today. When you consider where Newcastle are and we played Manchester City last week, we are now moving in the right direction. We were a crowd pleaser, they helped us in the game and they stuck with us. It’s a shame we weren’t more professionals at the right time, otherwise it would have been a win for us.
“We have to stick with that and do everything we can to save our position in the Premier League. It’s everyone who cares about Leeds. It’s everyone who works on the training ground and everyone in the stadium, it’s imperative that we stay in this league
“I’m disappointed it’s only a draw. It could have easily been a win for us. It’s our fault we didn’t win. I’ve been talking about staying on my feet all week. I don’t like it when they ignore me, to get scolded. Yeah If we stayed on our feet, we would have won.”
Leeds United remaining fixtures
May 21th: west ham (A) – Premier League, start at 1:30 p.m.
May 28: tottenham (H) – Premier League, start 16:30
Remaining Newcastle matches
May 18: Brighton (H) – Premier League, start at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 18, 7:00 p.m.
Start 7:30 p.m.
May 22nd: leicester (H) – Premier League, kick off 8pm
May 28: chelsea (A) – Premier League, start at 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 21, 12:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 18, 7:00 p.m.
Start 7:30 p.m.
leeds continue their bid for Premier League survival as they travel to west ham next sunday live Sky Sports Premier League; start 1:30 p.m. Allardyce’s side then host tottenham at Elland Road on the last day of the season.
newcastlemeanwhile, he hopes to secure a top-four finish by winning his next two games, both at home, live on sky sports. Host on Eddie Howe’s side Brighton on Thursday evening, starting at 7:30 p.m., before welcoming leicester to St James’ Park for Monday night football on May 22.
The Magpies end their season with a trip to Chelsea on May 28.
Optical stats: Leeds’ penalty
- Leeds were only the third team not to score a penalty and also conceded two penalty goals in a Premier League match, after Watford vs West Ham in April 2016 and Tottenham vs Man City in October 2014.
- Leeds have scored and conceded a goal in each of their last 11 Premier League games, the longest run in league history (also 11 in October 1928 and December 1937).
- Bamford became the first player to miss two Premier League penalties in a single season for Leeds. The Whites have missed two of their three penalties in the competition this season (both at Bamford)
- Wilson’s 17 goals are the most per player for Newcastle in a single Premier League season since Alan Shearer in 2003-04 (22).