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Match Recap: Derby County grabs late, late equalizer to deny Leeds an improbable win

Stoppage time goal denies Paul Heckingbottom his first win at Leeds

Derby County v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Leeds United traveled to Derby County to take on the Rams at Pride Park in search of a win that would help propel them back into the playoff discussions. Leeds bagged two remarkable goals to take an improbable lead into to stoppage time, but the defence, which had been a shambles all match, was unable to deny a stoppage time equalizer for Derby.

Derby had the bulk of the possession in the first few minutes in the match, with a good move down the left that sprung Lawrence free, only for the winger to fire miles over the net. Leeds defended with numbers early on, and took no chances from a long throw-in, after Wiedwald had struggled early against Bristol City, as both City goals were scored off of botched clearing attempts from attacking throw-ins.

Derby had a good chance in the 11th minute, but the Leeds defended well enough to block Derby’s shots on net and did not allow for a clean attempt on net. De Bock made a beautiful cross into the box in the 13th minute, but Stuart Dallas wasn’t able to control it and he Northern Ireland international was only able to send his shot flying in to orbit.

Liam Cooper blocked a David Nugent shot on net as Derby looked intent on scoring as they heaped pressure onto Leeds, coming close on a pair of corner kicks that resulted from a Pontus Jansson header to beat Tom Huddlestone to the ball from a free kick. While Derby would feel hard done by without a goal, Leeds had to feel lucky to get out of that passage of play without surrendering a goal.

Nugent was unlucky to miss a header as he was free at the far post as Berardi lost the ball and De Bock lost Nugent in the box, allowing him to fling himself at the ball and he just about turned the ball into the back of the net in the 21st minute. De Bock was also guilty of missing the ball completely while trying to clear the ball, and Jansson had to clear the ball behind for a corner, from which Leeds surrendered another corner and Huddlestone was only able to hit the side netting from another chance that Leeds would feel lucky to have gone wanting.

Leeds took a totally underserved, but welcome, lead in the 34th minute after Cooper picked out Dallas on the far right side of the pitch and the winger was able to cross it in for Lasogga to head home for the game’s first goal. The big German didn't even have to jump to meet the perfectly place cross that gave Scott Carson no chance to get to the ball.

Tom Lawrence’s shot smacked the top of the bar and bounced out for Nugent to somehow send over the goal, although it wouldn’t have counted as the former England international was miles offsides when Lawrence’s thunderbolt was launched from about 25 yards out.

Derby was finally able to put the ball into the back of the net after Cooper’s defensive header went behind and fell right to Wiemann, who made no mistake as he sent the ball into the back of the net and past Wiedwald in what was close to the final touch of the first half.

Leeds went into the break with a totally underserved draw after pulling out an improbable goal off of a moment of brilliance from Dallas, Cooper, and Lasogga, while the shoddy defence played by Leeds probably deserved to have had more than one goal scored on them as De Bock looked like he’d never played professional football at this level before in his entire life.

The themes of the first half were on display at the beginning of the second half as Derby continued to put pressure on the Leeds defence and De Bock, among others, played poorly and allowed Derby to get forward and get yet more corners and chances to pull ahead of Leeds.

Samu Saiz was subbed on in the 55th minute for Kemar Roofe, after Roofe had a match to forget with almost no contact with the ball or even attempts to get involved. Vieira was subbed off around the 60th minute for Kalvin Phillips, as Vieira still seemed less than fit and was on a yellow card.

De Bock made a number of other high-profile errors, allowing Nugent to get to the ball, only to shoot wide, and missed another ball, which allowed Lawrence to test Wiedwald from distance, forcing the other big German in the side to make a decent save and kick the ball out when he failed to collect it with his hands.

Leeds forced their first corner in the 70th minute, but were unable to make Derby pay as Hernandez sent a good ball into the box that Cooper was only able to head over the goal after Derby failed to clear the original ball in from the corner.

After Hernandez took a knock, Gjanni Alioski came on in the 77th minute. Derby got a free kick in a very dangerous position, only for Palmer to scuff his free kick into the wall and the ball bounced out and sent Saiz and Alioski off to the races. Their pace put pressure on the Derby defence, and even though his original shot was poor, he followed it up with a diving header that sent the visiting fans into screams of joy.

Leeds surrendered a stoppage time equalizer that left Leeds fans physically ill with disappointment. Cooper failed to clear the ball and it fell to Palmer who then poked the ball home past Wiedwald who looked rooted in place and unnecessarily gave up the corner kick in the first place. Utter shambles to leave Leeds fans miserable.

Leeds needed to win this match to have any chance at the playoffs, and as much as a draw was a remarkable accomplishment after the dominant performance by Derby in the first half, this draw feels like a horrible loss for Leeds fans. Saiz made all the difference once he came on, and hopefully he gets the start this weekend.

MOT