Leeds 2-1 Norwich: Joe Gelhardt nets dramatic 94th-minute winner to boost the hosts’ survival hopes as Jesse Marsch picks up his first win since replacing Marcelo Bielsa
- Rodrigo put Leeds ahead in a first half that Leeds dominated from start to finish
- Norwich looked to have rescued a draw when Kenny McLean scored late on
- However, Joe Gelhardt popped up to give his side all three points in added time
To capture American sporting parlance, it felt like Jesse Marsch had sent for the special team when, in the 92nd minute and with Leeds having just conceded a stadium-deflating equaliser, he threw on teenager Joe Gelhardt. What a special substitution it proved to be.
Within 90 seconds Gelhardt, all 5ft 9in of him, was winning an unlikely header from a long punt forward. It was enough to send Raphinha clear on goal and, when he rounded Tim Krul and drew back towards the goalmouth, Gelhardt was there to turn in. Cue pandemonium inside Elland Road.
Marsch, airborne on the touchline, looked more like an NBA star with a slam-dunk salute. But for Leeds, a three-pointer at last, two months on from their previous victory.
Joe Gelhardt (R) celebrates scoring a dramatic late winner to give Jesse Marsch his first win
Gelhardt’s goal sparked wild celebrations at Elland Road as Leeds picked a huge victory
Leeds (4-2-3-1): Meslier; Ayling, Llorente, Struijk, Dallas; Forshaw, Klich (Gelhardt 90); James, Rodrigo (Koch 60), Raphinha; Bamford (Harrison 46)
Scorers: Rodrigo, Gelhardt
Booked: Ayling, Harrison, James
Manager: Jesse Marsch
Norwich (4-3-3): Krul; Aarons (Gilmour 88), Kabak, Gibson, Williams; Rupp (Normann 46), Lees-Melou, McLean; Sargent (Rowe 62), Rashica, Pukki
Manager: Dean Smith
It moves them four points clear of the bottom three and gives their new American boss his first win at the third attempt. And how he – and his team – needed it.
Thursday’s 3-0 home defeat by Aston Villa finished amid an air of toxicity as fans, unhappy with the removal of Marcelo Bielsa, turned on the directors’ box. The fumes of fury had not exactly cleared by the time kick-off came around here. During a nervy opening you could not escape the feeling that some were still waiting to discharge their discontent from the stands. The first goal was always likely to define the contest.
On 14 minutes, Leeds had it. One of Marsch’s instructions is to get the ball into the penalty area with haste. From there, he argues, things can happen. And so they did when Diego Llorente’s forward loft was poorly cleared by Ozan Kabak and Dan James gathered before Rodrigo took up the baton and drilled into the bottom corner.
No player more than James, you suspect, will better demonstrate the values of Marsch. The forward is buzzy and obedient and, every time he presses with all the enthusiasm of a toddler closing on a pigeon, it wins a fist pump of approval from his manager.
Rodrigo was delighted to put Leeds in front inside the opening 15 minutes at Elland Road
Pascal Struijk missed a huge opportunity to extend Leeds’ advantage before half time
His energy set the standard for a first-half performance that should have given Leeds a cushion far more comfortable than just the one goal.
One offensive, originating in their own six-yard area and cutting through Norwich with pace and guile, deserved better than Raphinha’s miscued finish from six yards. It would have been a goal straight out of Marcelo Bielsa’s playbook.
But Marsch has ideas of his own and one ambitious exchange between Patrick Bamford and Raphinha – they played a one-two over a distance of 40 yards – was unlucky not to climax with a goal when the Brazilian volleyed against the crossbar.
Kenny McLean thought he had rescued a point for Norwich when he scored a late equaliser
There were more chances – Bamford twice fired wide and Pascal Struijk’s header was saved by Tim Krul – as Leeds embraced the attacking principles of the new boss. Much like the old one, of course. But the execution of such intent had proven beyond them during the latter days of Bielsa.
The second half was not so fluent and Norwich had already hit the bar and saw a penalty overturned by VAR when Kenny McLean met Teemu Pukki’s cross in injury-time and silenced the home crowd.
They were not quiet for long and, even though Gelhardt’s introduction went largely unnoticed amid the fallout of Norwich’s goal, he was soon making a big noise.
Jesse Marsch was pleased to get his first win after losses against Leicester and Aston Villa
Meanwhile, Norwich were left deflated as they slipped to an agonising away defeat
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