Nobody likes losing in the last minute; it’s horrible and one of theworst experiences for a football fan and player. Consequently, that feeling of despair clouds your thinking post-match and it is only really after the dust settles that you can properly analyse a performance.
This can be said of Paul Lambert and his coaching staff after their heartbreaking defeat at Elland Road on Monday. Norwich had the better of things for most of the match against table toppers Leeds, always looking to play nice football and keep it on the floor. In truth they should have taken the lead early in the first half but Russell and Holt shot straight at the keeper when well placed. Typically, Leeds took the lead soon after, making the Canaries pay, but Holt’s leveller meant it was all square going into the break.
I have to admit Leeds looked fresher in the second half, battling and scrapping their way into possession and trying to constrict City’s passing game, although the delivery of Lappin and creativity of Hoolahan meant Norwich were never out of it, and Holt also brought a good save out of Leeds sub keeper Ankergren. But, as the clock ticked towards the 90th minute, it was apparent that the Canaries were content with a point.
On the balance of things a draw was a fair result, so it is tragic that the game was lost in such a cruel way, with Forster’s scuffed clearance falling to the lethal Jermaine Beckford, who inevitably scored, much to the relief of the Elland Road fans.
The win keeps United top, with Norwich on 6th, but if City can maintain that level of performance, there is no reason why they can’t climb higher. The nightmare start and upheaval that took place in August appears to have been put to bed and the team looks more focused, driven and motivated to upset the football odds which were stacked against them. This was a very good Leeds team they were playing and we gave them a real fright.
Defeats are never easy to take but if they keep up that level of performance, it seems a safe league one football bet that they won’t have to take many more during the rest of the season.
by Tom Mallows