Premier League

Leeds United 2-1 Norwich City: Player ratings as Gelhardt snatches last-gasp winner

Grey Whitebloom
Joe Gelhardt celebrates his 94th-minute winner against Norwich City
Joe Gelhardt celebrates his 94th-minute winner against Norwich City / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Leeds United needed a 94th-minute winner from substitute Joe Gelhardt to defeat fellow relegation strugglers Norwich City 2-1 in a thrilling game on Sunday afternoon.

Rodrigo pierced through a horribly bitty, scrappy first 15 minutes to lash in an opening goal that deflected viciously off Ben Gibson's leg.

However, the strike that broke more than six goalless hours of football for Leeds was controversial. Despite Patrick Bamford's dart towards Diego Llorente's lofted pass, the offside striker - who didn't actually touch the ball - was deemed an inconsequential bystander by VAR, much to Dean Smith's evident chagrin.

Jesse Marsch's side had ample opportunity to fairly extend their advantage in the first half. Pressing with a concentrated intensity, Leeds repeatedly robbed their visitors in Norwich's half before finding unique ways to miss the net.

Raphinha crashed the ball off the crossbar and Pascal Struijk spooned over from close range but the returning striker Patrick Bamford was the chief culprit of the callous finishing, lackadaisically shanking a side-foot wide with the goal gaping in the closing stages of the first half.

The threat Leeds posed was swiftly renewed after the interval but the hosts - who started the day in 16th - gradually gave into the tension rife within Elland Road as the lead remained a slender 1-0.

Emboldened by Leeds' mounting passivity - Marsch removed his goalscorer Rodrigo for the defensive midfield Robin Koch an hour in - Norwich crept forward, provoking a squall of nervy scrambles in the home penalty box.

Milot Rashica won Norwich a spot kick from one of those melees in the 75th-minute. Yet, Stuart Attwell overturned his initial decision after a brief pitch-side review revealed Rashica has instigated the contact with Luke Ayling.

Norwich finally punished Leeds for their wasted chances as Kenny McLean bundled Teemu Pukki's hooked cross over the line in stoppage time.

But this thrilling, potentially season-defining six-pointer had a few more twists and turns left in it.

As the game ticked into the final seconds of its six added minutes, Raphinha slalomed his way into the Norwich box before having the composure to roll the ball back for substitute Joe Gelhardt to rattle in a last-gasp winner.

Pukki almost equalised again after his goalkeeper Tim Krul teed him up inside Leeds' penalty area but Illan Meslier rebuffed the close-range effort to bring a crucial end to his side's six-game losing streak.

Leeds player ratings

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Luke Ayling, Milot Rashica
Luke Ayling (right) shadowing Norwich's Milot Rashica / George Wood/GettyImages

Illan Meslier (GK) - 5/10 - Nervy with the ball at his feet but largely untroubled with his gloves until a last-gasp stop.

Luke Ayling (RB) - 5/10 - Perhaps a tad fortunate to escape an upgrade of a yellow card he received for one of numerous tackles that were mistimed from the enthusiastic hosts.

Diego Llorente (CB) - 7/10 - Carried out a dogged performance, snapping around the ankles of the Canary in possession even vaguely near him.

Pascal Struijk (CB) - 7/10 - Exploited his fleet of foot to commanding effect.

Stuart Dallas (LB) - 7/10 - Cantering forward regularly as well as diligently matching Josh Sargent's every step.

2. Midfielders

Rodrigo passionately celebrated the game's opening goal / George Wood/GettyImages

Mateusz Klich (CM) - 6/10 - Played an uncharacteristically disciplined role for the opening hour before released further forward.

Adam Forshaw (CM) - 5/10 - Lumbered with his midfield's chief defensive responsibility, Forshaw endured a mixed display amid the rarely diluted rapidity of the contest.

Rodrigo (AM) - 7/10 - Fired up from the off, Rodrigo channelled that fervour into a sharp strike and some sharper tackles.

3. Forwards

Milot Rashica, Daniel James
Dan James (left) competing for possession / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Dan James (RW) - 7/10 - Furiously sprinting around the pitch, James was a buzzing omnipresence at Elland Road.

Patrick Bamford (ST) - 6/10 - On his first Premier League start in six months, Leeds' much-missed number nine got into the golden goalscoring positions he so regularly has done, but squandered these openings (which isn't a novelty either).

Raphinha (LW) - 8/10 - Desperately unlucky to twice be denied by the crossbar. At his best in the blistering speed of transitions, Raphinha plays with the benefit of a five-second delay to calmly pick his passes.

4. Substitutes

Jack Harrison (LW) - 4/10 - More involved with an on-going spat with Max Aarons than any of Leeds' attacking moves.

Robin Koch (CM) - 5/10 - Harsh to lay the blame at his door, but Koch's introduction did coincide with Norwich's best spell of the game as Leeds (subconsciously or otherwise) became more restrained.

Joe Gelhardt (ST) - 8/10 - Delivering the impact dreams are made of.

Norwich player ratings

5. Goalkeeper & defenders

Brandon Williams
Brandon Williams (right) is on loan from Manchester United / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Tim Krul (GK) - 8/10 - Single-handedly (and sometimes with both gloved fists) kept the score down.

Max Aarons (RB) - 6/10 - Holding his position to offer a much-needed body at the back but at the cost of any impact going forward.

Ozan Kabak (CB) - 3/10 - Perveying a sense of panic and unease each time he went near the ball.

Ben Gibson (CB) - 3/10 - Unfortunate to have Rodrigo's opener deflect off his boot but enjoyed lashings of good luck thereafter as his repeated inadequacies in possession somehow didn't result in numerous goals conceded.

Brandon Williams (LB) - 5/10 - Didn't wilt despite finding himself on the end of some robust tackles from a fired up Leeds United.

6. Midfielders

Mathias Normann, Jack Harrison
Pierre Lees-Melou (right) and substitute Mathias Normann (left) surround Leeds' Jack Harrison / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Lukas Rupp (CM) - 3/10 - Ambled through the first half with barely a flicker of involvement. Understandably hooked at the break.

Pierre Lees-Melou (CM) - 4/10 - Failed to exert any significant impact on proceedings.

Kenny McLean (CM) - 7/10 - One of numerous surges forward was eventually rewarded with a decisive intervention.

7. Forwards

Leeds United v Norwich City - Premier League
Josh Sargent was up against a Leeds side managed by his American compatriot Jesse Marsch on Sunday / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Josh Sargent (RW) - 4/10 - Skirting around the fringes of the contest, Sargent was more provider than taker yet failed to do much of either.

Teemu Pukki (ST) - 7/10 - Despite struggling against the physical approach Leeds' centre-backs employed, Pukki continued sprinting forward, stretching the opposition backline.

Milot Rashica (LW) - 5/10 - Norwich's brightest spark going forward but flickered in and out of the game.

8. Substitutes

Mathias Normann (CM) - 5/10 - Struggled to match the pace of the contest.

Jonathan Rowe (RW) - 7/10 - Injected a sense of purpose and directness in his cameo. Begging the question of why he wasn't started.

Billy Gilmour (CM) - N/A