Leeds United’s winning goal may have come in injury-time, but head coach Garry Monk thought his side were worthy of the three points as they triumphed 3-2 at Norwich.
Ronaldo Vieira’s first-ever goal in senior football clinched the points after Leeds had trailed, then led until late on only to be pegged back by a late Norwich goal.
In another thriller that rivalled the recent cup meeting between the two sides Pontus Jansson also scored his first goal in a Leeds shirt and Chris Wood bagged his 11th of the season as United’s victory lifted them into the top six for the first time in three years.
“Our performance warranted the three points today, I thought for long periods of the game we were the better team,” said Monk.
“A lot of people had been talking about Norwich’s form, but they have a very good squad, they came out determined and this is always a difficult place to come.
“In the first 20 minutes I thought it was the best we have played this season, I thought we were excellent, we looked dangerous and the only thing missing was us scoring one or two goals.
“We conceded a poor goal which put us on the back-foot at the break, but I told the team at half time, if we do what we did in the first 20 minutes we would win the game.
“In the second half we went out determined to win the game and to come here and do that shows what we are capable of.
“We have nothing to fear in this league, we are not going to get above ourselves though, there are a lot of games still to be played and we have to keep improving on that.
“One of the rules that we have is that we must fight to the very end of games, football changes so quickly and within a split second you can be winning, losing or drawing.
“What a fantastic goal it was to win the match, there were a few mistakes and things we need to improve on I am well aware of that, but in terms of performance away at a very difficult place, it doesn’t come much better than that.”
Leeds made one change to the side that beat Burton with Souleymane Doukara recalled to the starting line-up after his impressive display off the bench last week at the expense of Hadi Sacko.
They started well with Kemar Roofe hitting an early shot over. Norwich keeper Michael McGovern then came up with two good saves to good stops to keep out a long distance strike by Kalvin Phillips and a header from the resulting corner by Wood.
But it was Norwich who took the lead in the 24th minute when Alex Pritchard’s corner was met at the near post by Robbie Brady and his effort looped over Rob Green into the back of the net with Luke Ayling on the line unable to keep the ball out.
Boosted by the goal, Norwich improved and could have gone further ahead as Brady delayed his shot too long when well placed inside the box.
Leeds came close again when Roofe was denied by a good save from McGovern, but they went in at half-time behind.
A good start to the second half saw the Whites go close again through Roofe, who headed just wide after meeting Pablo Hernandez’s cross.
They did finally get the goal their play deserved on 57 minutes when another defender Jansson was left unmarked in the box to send a fine header into the net from Hernandez’s corner.
McGovern had to make two more stops from Phillips and Hernandez to prevent Leeds from taking the lead, but at the other end Green had to save smartly following Pritchard’s snap shot.
Leeds went in front on 74 minutes after substitute Sacko did well down the right wing and combined well with Hernandez and right-back Ayling to set up Wood for a strike inside the box that brought him his 11th goal of the season.
Norwich sub Kyle Lafferty turned the game back his club’s way, however, two minutes from time as he sneaked in behind Ayling to fire home an equaliser.
The drama was not over, though, with Vieira’s strike from 30 yards out bouncing up to deceive keeper McGovern to fly into the net for a fantastic winner for Leeds.
Norwich City 2
(Brady 24, Lafferty 88)
Leeds United 3
(Jansson 57, Wood 74, Vieira 90+1)
Saturday, November 5, 2016
Norwich: McGovern; Martin, Bennett, Klose, Olsson; Thompson; Brady (Ja Murphy 75), Dorrans, Hoolahan, Pritchard (Lafferty 84), Jerome.
Leeds: Green, Ayling, Jansson, Bartley, Taylor, Phillips, O’Kane, Hernandez (Grimes 89), Roofe (Sacko 55), Doukara (Vieira 72), Wood.
Referee: A Davies.