I'm usually a pessimistic person when it comes to Leeds United.
But when I watch the current group of players and their commitment to the cause, especially over the last few weeks, I suddenly can't help but feel that promotion is a real possibility. The 3-2 win on Saturday at Norwich City was another pivotal moment in an already promising season.
I'm very happy and very proud to score my first goal for this club! Also proud to be a part of this fantastic team! pic.twitter.com/OJ78lHdD19— Pontus Jansson (@PJansson5) November 5, 2016
It was quite the match.
Leeds started the better side and really took the game to Norwich from the start. The Leeds players looked really up for the game and had numerous chances to take the lead early on; Roofe, Wood and Bartley all could have put the Whites in front in the first 15 minutes.
I had a feeling we would regret not capitalising on those early chances. Our live-tweeting assistant editor Ben Mallis felt the same:
10' Three good chances early for #LUFC. Hope we won't be ruing these in 90 minutes.— Through It All LIVE (@ThruItAllLIVE) November 5, 2016
And then, of course, as I expected, we were punished on 25 minutes after Robbie Brady guided his header into the net from a Norwich corner... or Luke Ayling put it in... either way, Norwich took the lead, 1-0.
Leeds reacted well after the goal but didn't create anything of any worth as we approached half-time at Carrow Road. We entered the break down 1-0, but everyone still knew Leeds were in the game.
Bittersweet half, really. Dominated play, couldn't find a goal and was made to pay. Ahead on the judges scoreboard, behind on the real one.— Through It All LIVE (@ThruItAllLIVE) November 5, 2016
At the beginning of the second half, Leeds started brightly and on 47 minutes, Kemar Roofe had another decent chance with a header after a mistake by the Norwich defence. On the header, Roofe picked up a head injury instead of a goal after colliding with Bennett, and he had to be replaced by Hadi Sacko.
Sacko made an instant impact by breaking down the right and finding Chris Wood, but another opportunity passed without a goal, and some of us began to wonder if it was going to be another difficult result.
But then, lovely Pontus Jansson entered the scene.
Leeds earned a corner, and somehow, miraculously, Pablo Hernandez found Jansson unmarked in the box. He headed the ball beautifully into the far corner and we were level.
The goal seemed to galvanise the Leeds players and we started to play some wonderful football. Sacko especially caused Norwich problems on the right side of midfield.
Leeds took the lead after some sublime football between Sacko and Ayling set up Wood who smashed the ball home from 12 yards.
Remarkably, on the road against a top-three team, Leeds United looked comfortable heading into the final 15 minutes of the game and even looked liked they might add to their total before full-time. What world are we now living in?
However, completely against the run of play, Norwich equalised, as Wes Hoolahan's cross found Kyle Lafferty at the back post. Lafferty then slotted the ball past Green to level the game at 2-2.
Deflated, the fans had to assume we had missed our chance for three points on the road, even given the stellar performance.
The players never made that assumption.
Seven minutes of injury time were added, and in the first minute, Norwich’s Timm Klose was judged to have fouled Chris Wood outside the Norwich box. The short free-kick was played to Ronaldo Vieira, and the young man broke Canary hearts for the second time in two weeks with a brilliant strike from 35 yards to give the Whites all three points in injury time.
Really, just unbelievable. Leeds United played tough, could’ve caved after allowing a late heart-breaking goal, and then fought for the win against Norwich. Again.
Leeds defeat Norwich 3-2. Best win of the Monk era, what a MASSIVE victory. pic.twitter.com/H7aWFYvcNJ— Through It All LIVE (@ThruItAllLIVE) November 5, 2016
Overall, Leeds United’s desire and never-say-die attitude gave them the three points at Carrow Road. Pablo Hernandez was my man of the match, playing masterfully in midfield, as Leeds moved into play-off position for the first time in two years.
If Leeds can continue playing to this level, anything is possible. We now have two weeks to prepare for the visit of Newcastle to a sold-out Elland Road. And I believe, after today's performance, we will make the Magpies look like Canaries.
What a time to be a Leeds United fan. (How long has it been since we felt that?)