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Leeds United 2 - 2 Norwich City: Somma to the rescue once again

For the first time in a while I got my match prediction correct, a 2-2 draw and even managed to win some money, the result however was disappointing and how Norwich left Elland Road with a point is beyond me.

The game was described as a six pointer prior to kick-off by everyone, the fans, the media and even our lovely chairman Mr Ken Bates. Both teams have the ability to play football so it was hoped the game would be a cracker, and it certainly didn't disappoint. Simon Grayson named an unchanged team to face the Canaries in the snowy conditions.

Leeds started the game brightly and captain Jonny Howson had the first real chance of the game, picking up the ball on the edge of the box and firing his shot just wide of the far post. Grayson's men continued to up the tempo and broke the deadlock in the 18th minute. Luciano Becchio scored his 15th goal of the season when he was at the far post to nod in Max Gradel's cross, his celebration though was unique to say the least.


Norwich didn't really have a sniff in the opening 30 minutes, the closest they came were two long range efforts which were easily dealt with by Kasper Schmeichel. Jonny Howson almost made it 2-0 when he couldn't find the net after three attempts. The first was stopped by Norwich keeper Ruddy, the second hit the underside of the crossbar, and the third a bicycle kick went wide of the net.

Just before the break Simon Grayson's team-talk was ruined when Norwich grabbed an undeserved equaliser. Henri Lansbury was left unmarked in the box and he drilled his shot into the bottom corner to make it all square at half-time.

Paul Lambert's men started the second-half far better, and were more settled on the ball than they had been in the opening 45 minutes. Jonny Howson then could have scored once again, he linked up well with Robert Snodgrass but his shot was deflected wide of the post. The Canaries then capitalised on some terrible marking by the Leeds midfield/defence. Andrew Crofts was left unmarked in the middle of the park, he played in Wes Hoolahan who placed his shot into the back of the net.

The crowd were getting restless and the players were looking tired, and Simon Grayson reacted by bringing on the predator that is Davide Somma. It didn't take Somma long to make his impact, his first touch in fact and goal Leeds were level. Somma was given time on the edge of the box, and he volleyed home to make it 2-2. The South African could have scored minute's later when he nearly latched onto a cross, but to be denied by some brilliant defending by Zak Whitbread.

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Just before the game reached its climax, Billy Paynter was brought on to try and pinch a later winner. The former Swindon man worked well with Somma to find an opening in the box, his shot was stopped by Ruddy and the ball missed the goal by inches. That was the last kick of the game and Paynter was left hiding his face in his shirt in dismay.

It would have been fantastic to score late on against Norwich, who have done it to so many teams this season but it just wasn't to be. Leeds could have won today easily, we could have scored three or four more but the ball just wouldn't go the right side of the post. For the neutral's it was a cracker and probably the best game we have seen at Elland Road this season. I have a new profound hate for Grant Holt who seems to do anything he can to slow the game down, constantly kicking the ball away should have been met with a yellow card. For me it is two dropped points, but we have to move on and focus on the next match against Barnsley on Tuesday night at Elland Road.

My man of the match

I thought Jonny Howson was brilliant today, he was back in his best role playing just behind the striker. He could have scored on numerous occasions but he worked hard all game and was a threat going forward. When he dropped back into the centre of midfield he went quieter but still had the engine to get up and down the pitch to support both attack and defence.

Player rating's

Schmeichel - 7 - Was hardly tested all day although he conceded two. Stopped two long range efforts and was commanding in the air.

Lichaj - 7 - Read's the game very well and intercept's passes with ease. Helped Snodgrass going forward and showed great pace, very impressive.

Bruce - 6 - Very quiet afternoon for Bruce, won his fair share of headers but rarely involved in the game.

O'Brien - 6 - Same as Bruce didn't really have much to do, could have scored in the first half.

McCartney - 5 - I thought McCartney was poor today he seemed lazy to get back and defend to say that is his job. Got forward to support Gradel but passing let him down.

Snodgrass - 8 - Once again caused mayhem for the opposition with his trickery but couldn't find an opening today.

Kilkenny - 6 - Not the biggest fan of Kilkenny, he moans too much, and is too slow on the ball. Got caught in possession a few times but blamed it on the team somehow.

Howson - 9 - Terrific all game, the man just never stops running for the team. Should have scored a couple but just wasn't his day.

Johnson - 6 - Does some thing's that are brilliant and then ruins the moment seconds later with a bad pass or missed tackle.

Gradel - 7 - Was marked out of the game by Norwich, still found space to create chances but was left frustrated by the defence. Still worked hard as ever and you can't knock that.

Becchio - 7 - Even though he scored a goal it was pretty much all he did all game. It's his job though so can't complain.

Somma - 8 - Came on late, scored with first touch like he did against Portsmouth. Looked bright and could have scored another but still a real asset to the team. Unstoppable at the moment.

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