Canaries claim 2-0 victory at Elland Road...
UNITED 0, NORWICH 2 (Howson 57, Dorrans 90+1).
United: Silvestri, Wootton, Bamba, Cooper, Berardi, Murphy, Ngoyi, Mowatt, C Taylor (Antenucci 71), Byram (Montenegro 85), Sharp. Subs. S Taylor, Bellusci, Phillips, Sloth, Morison.
Norwich: Ruddy, Whittaker, Martin, Bassong, Olsson, Tettey, Dorrans, Howson, Redmond (Hooper 86), Hoolahan (E Bennett 79), Jerome. Subs: Rudd, Loza, R Bennett, O'Neil, Odjidja-Ofoe.
Referee: M Jones
Booked: Olsson, Tettey, Whittaker (Norwich)
Att: 21,471 (2,125 Norwich)
The penultimate home game of the 2014/15 season came in the shape of a midweek visit of Norwich City, and United head coach Neil Redfearn made three changes from the defeat to Cardiff three days earlier. On-loan midfielder Granddi Ngoyi came in for his Leeds debut, replacing Kalvin Phillips, while Liam Cooper and Billy Sharp returned to the side in place of Giuseppe Bellusci and Mirco Antenucci respectively.
On a glorious spring evening at Elland Road, it was United who had the first sniff of goal as Sharp was inches away from connecting with Cooper’s diagonal ball into the box, while Norwich threatened through former Leeds captain Jonny Howson, but Marco Silvestri was equal to his low cross in a relatively balanced start to proceedings.
Chances were scarce inside the first 20 minutes, but the Norwich defence needed to stand firm to stop a dangerous-looking Alex Mowatt free-kick from finding a white shirt inside the area as Redfearn’s men started to see more of the ball inside the opposition half.
A somewhat scrappy period of play followed, with both sides seemingly taking turns to exchange fouls and the game unable find any sort of rhythm.
The 30th minute brought the game’s first moment of drama, though, as Norwich were awarded a penalty after Cooper was adjudged to have brought down Howson inside the area. Graham Dorrans stepped up in front of the Kop but, much to the relief of the home crowd, smashed his spot-kick against the bar and United were able to clear their lines.
Redfearn’s side were let off the hook again moments later as Dorrans blazed over after latching onto a loose ball inside the area, before United’s closest chance of the half came on 36 minutes through Canaries defender Steve Whittaker, who glanced Luke Murphy’s free-kick onto the roof of his own net.
United looked to end the opening 45 minutes strongly and were awarded a promising-looking free-kick 25 yards out on the stroke of half-time, but Murphy drilled into the wall and it remained goalless at the break, with Leeds surviving their third consecutive penalty at Elland Road.
Both teams re-emerged unchanged and United had the second half’s first sight of goal within three minutes of the restart as Sol Bamba glanced Mowatt’s back-post corner wide. The on-loan United defender was then called into action at the opposite in, superbly sliding in to halt the tracks of Nathan Redmond following a quick breakaway.
And Silvestri needed to be alert two minutes later, getting down sharply to his left to keep out Russell Martin’s low effort with a strong, one-handed save.
Norwich had restarted the game brightly and continued to press the United defence in front of the South Stand, with Alex Tettey smashing a ferocious first-time effort against the stanchion holding up the frame of the goal.
An opener appeared to be on the horizon and it eventually came for the visitors after 57 minutes through Howson. The Leeds-born midfielder was found in space by Redmond and was able to calmly convert beyond Silvestri with the outside of his boot, before opting not to celebrate against his former club.
United looked to mount a quick response through the unlikely source of Scott Wootton, who worked his way into the area and twisted himself into space, only to see his effort deflected over the bar from six yards out.
Redfearn was prompted into his first change of the night on 71 minutes and it was an attack-minded one as Antenucci stepped off the bench to replace Taylor.
Whittaker dragged wide for Norwich after advancing from full-back, while Bamba was well-placed to hack away Redmond’s ball across the box as the game entered the final 10 minutes.
Norwich looked to be in control but they had goalkeeper John Ruddy to thank for keeping them in the game with six minutes remaining on the clock. The ball found its way to the feet of Mowatt on the edge of the box and his left-footed strike looked to be sailing in at the near post after taking a deflection, only for Ruddy to re-adjust himself to acrobatically claw behind.
Brian Montenegro was introduced in attack, replacing Sam Byram, as the game headed towards three minutes of stoppage time, but Norwich dealt United a hammer blow as Dorrans worked some space inside the area before drilling into the bottom corner to wrap things up.