Newcastle United moved a point closer to confirming their place in the Champions League next season with a 2-2 draw at Elland Road.
This result could turn out to have earned a vital point for both sides as they try to reach their respective objectives.
After a week of training under Sam Allardyce and with Leeds dropping into the bottom three last weekend after the Whites’ loss to Man City, this was always going to be a really tough test for Eddie Howe’s side.
Leeds played with energy and verve in the early stages and the Elland Road crowd responded, creating a hostile atmosphere. That atmosphere took the roof off in the seventh minute, as Leeds took a deserved lead.
After Jack Harrison’s trickery set Bamford free down the left, his cross was headed by Rodrigo who drew a great save out of Nick Pope. He could only claw it to Luke Ayling, who converted the rebound.
Leeds were flying and had a huge chance to double their lead but Bamford’s penalty was saved by Pope after Joelinton had hauled down Junior Firpo. That miss would come to haunt Bamford and Leeds considering just two minutes later Newcastle had a penalty of their own.
Callum Wilson duly converted with confidence to bring Newcastle level.
Wilson threatened again soon after the restart when his volley was deflected for a corner and Fabian Schar’s header was cleared off the line by Rodrigo. Newcastle were piling on the pressure and Firpo crumbled under it.
VAR sent referee Hooper to the pitchside monitor after Firpo’s handball from Joe Willock’s deep cross, and, after the official had pointed to the spot for the third time in the match, Wilson stayed cool to put Newcastle ahead.
Howe’s side just needed to keep calm and see the game out, and that would’ve put them within a win of Champions League football.
Frustratingly, they couldn’t.
Out of nowhere, Leeds leveled—Newcastle only half-cleared substitute Willy Gnonto’s corner, and Kristensen crashed home a 25-yard shot via a deflection off Kieran Trippier to haul the home side level. The defending of the corner will frustrate Howe and his coaching staff; it was poor all around.
The erratic Firpo was given his marching orders after bringing down Anthony Gordon on the edge of the box. He had been a walking red card for some time.
Leeds hung on for a vital point in their fight to stay in the Premier League.
Towards the end of the match, a Leeds fan managed to get close to Howe and confront the Newcastle boss. Leeds’ security were nowhere to be seen, in fact, it was Newcastle’s security team that hauled the supporter away.
Disgraceful scenes and something Leeds must look at, how on earth does a supporter get so close? It could have been so much worse. Leeds later confirmed that the supporter had been arrested and given a lifetime ban.
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe assaulted by a Leeds fan during their match yesterday. Do you get the feeling the big bloke with the beard feels he should have reacted quicker ? pic.twitter.com/M1QEUvzu6O— SteveWilson #BLM #Resist #ReparationsNow (@stevewil94) May 14, 2023
So there we have it, two wins from the next three games needed without any help from other teams. Two home games coming up and St James’ Park will be right up for it on both occasions.
Very much getting to the nitty gritty of the season now.