Leeds United’s Premier League survival hopes were dashed late as they came from behind to earn a point fight against Newcastle United at Elland Road – in a game with three penalties and a red card.
Caretaker manager Sam Allardyce will be delighted with the spirit shown by Leeds as it looked like they would suffer a damaging defeat despite taking the lead through Luke Ayling’s opening goal.
In a thunderous atmosphere, the match seemed to have turned when Patrick Bamford’s half-hour penalty was saved by Newcastle keeper Nick Pope, with disappointment deepening when Callum Wilson restored the scoreboard for the visitors on the spot a few moments later.
Wilson put Newcastle, who are looking to confirm a top four place, ahead with another penalty after 69 minutes when the video assistant referee ruled Junior Firpo had managed.
Leeds looked beaten but staged a rally and equalized when Rasmus Kristensen’s shot deflected off Kieran Trippier’s header 11 minutes from time.
The Allardyce side, who had Firpo sent off in the dying seconds, remain in the bottom three a point behind Everton but he could still see this as a valuable result.
Will Leeds regret the kicking misfortune?
Leeds United fans appreciated their side’s efforts as they were cheered at the final whistle after a desperately shoddy but tense game.
Sam Allardyce has declared his aim to reach the final game of the season at home to Tottenham with a chance of survival and the point won by Kristensen’s leveler keeps them on course for that.
Leeds, however, will surely see Bamford’s bad first-half penalty as a pivotal moment when they could have put themselves on the path to three points rather than settling for just one.
They were one and wielded a certain dominance over a Newcastle side struggling to settle into a feverish Elland Road when Joelinton’s clumsy tackle on Firpo was rightly penalised.
Bamford, guilty of a terrible miss in added time in the recent home draw against Leicester City, never looked confident and goalkeeper Nick Pope was able to make a comfortable save.
There was a collective moan around Elland Road when Maximilian Wober’s equally poor challenge on Alexander Isak gave Callum Wilson the chance to equalise, with the striker then leaving Leeds to consider a potentially decisive defeat when he added a second on the spot.
With Newcastle seemingly cruising, Leeds showed the character and resilience they will need to survive to equalize – and the reaction to the final whistle suggests they felt it was one point won rather than two lost.
Only time will tell, however, how significant Bamford’s failure was.
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