THERE would have been a riot in Leeds if they’d only come away with one point.
Instead, thanks to super-sub Joe Gelhardt’s incredible late goal, West Yorkshire was left rocking to the Kaiser Chiefs’ hit song.
Joe Gelhardt poked home the winner in a frantic finale at Elland Road as Leeds secured a crucial three pointsCredit: Reuters
Leeds forward Joe Gelhardt netted a 95th-minute winner to down relegation rivals NorwichCredit: Reuters
Leeds boss Jesse Marsch slipped over as he celebrated Gelhardt’s late winnerCredit: Getty
As ‘I Predict a Riot’ blared out, Elland Road was shaking.
New boss Jesse Marsch was jumping up and down like a madman, completely swept away by the scenes.
Norwich’s dejected players were laid out in devastation, with the party just getting started.
A win over the Canaries is hardly cause for celebration, but this may just be the win Leeds look back on as the one that kept them up.
Kenny McLean’s 91st-minute equaliser after Rodrigo’s early opener produced scenes befitting of a morgue given how many gilt-edged chances the hosts had butchered.
Heads were down everywhere you looked as the real prospect of relegation started to bite.
Marsch then sent on Gelhardt, 19, to rescue them – and seconds later he did just that.
He first leapt incredibly to win the header after keeper Illan Meslier’s punt upfield, nodding it onto Raphinha.
The Brazilian winger was through on goal and rounded Tim Krul to reach the right byline.
Gelhardt was straight back on his bike to follow it in, with Raphinha getting his head up to pick him out.
The Liverpudlian was not tracked and fired home what is surely one of the most important goals witnessed at Elland Road for years.
It stopped the rot following six straight defeats and handed Marsch his first win at the third attempt having replaced Marcelo Bielsa.
They are now four points clear of the drop having started the game just two clear, while this latest defeat leaves the Canaries five points off safety.
Patrick Bamford was joined in the starting XI for his first start since September by Diego Llorente and Mateusz Klich, who replaced the injured Junior Firpo and dropped Robin Koch.
Record signing Rodrigo was woeful during last Thursday’s 3-0 defeat by Aston Villa, hooked at half time.
But he repaid the supporters in spades here with the opener 14 minutes in – but how Leeds only scored one before the break is one of the mysteries of the season.
How Norwich had picked up four wins before yesterday is another. Shocking doesn’t even come close.
The goal was as route one as it gets – one you imagine Marcelo Bielsa would prefer not to score.
A long ball over the top was bread and butter for Ben Gibson, but the defender’s headed clearance was weak.
The onrushing Bamford started in an offside position but was deemed not to be interfering, with the ‘clearance’ falling to Dan James.
He took one touch before Rodrigo took over, smashing it into the bottom corner via Gibson’s deflection.
Elland Road breathed a huge sigh of relief, the noise ramped up and the Whites – devoid of any confidence in recent weeks – loosened up.
Rodrigo put Leeds 1-0 up after just 14 minutes with a superb strikeCredit: Reuters
The finishing was horrendous though as Raphinha, Pascal Struijk and Bamford all missed absolute sitters.
Bamford could only manage 45 minutes on his return and was replaced by Jack Harrison at the break.
James showed the others how to do it by putting it in the net after Raphinha’s effort was saved by Tim Krul, only to be immediately flagged for offside.
Krul then got down to his left to deny the Welshman, but the longer this stayed 1-0 the nerves were only going to ramp up.
And they were practically shredded in the last 20 minutes as the Canaries finally started to show a bit of life.
Sub Jonathan Rowe provided the spark and was inches away from an equaliser moments after Meslier denied Teemu Pukki, turning well before clattering the crossbar.
Rodrigo passionately celebrated his strike with his Leeds desperately fighting to avoid the dropCredit: Getty
Four minutes later and there was deathly silence inside Elland Road when Stewart Atwell pointed to the penalty spot after Luke Ayling dived in on Milot Rashica.
Ayling’s face screamed guilty but replays showed that the Norwich forward had stepped on his leg and fallen to the ground looking to buy it.
Atwell was conned initially but once sent to the pitchside monitor to check by VAR, made the correct decision and overturned it.
Raphinha then bent a 25-yard free-kick off the bar at the other end.
And all those squandered chances looked like they were coming back to bite the hosts when Kenny McLean equalised in the 91st minute.
Pukki got on the end of Gibson’s long ball and crossed it first time from the right, with McLean stealing a march on Diego Llorente and bundling home.
But then, remarkably, in one of the most thrilling finishes of the season, Leeds hit back thanks to sub Gelhardt in the 95th minute.
The youngster first won the header from Meslier’s hopeful punt, nodding it onto the onrushing Raphinha.
Through on goal, the Brazilian rounded Krul to reach the byline and squared it back to Gelhardt, who finished into an empty net to leave Elland Road absolutely bouncing.
Remarkably, there was still time for another Norwich chance – Krul came up for a corner and managed to play it on to Pukki, but Meslier was on hand to deny him and claim a potentially season-defining win.