Brilliant late Leeds flurry sees Newcastle hammered at Elland Road

Date published: Wednesday 16th December 2020 7:53 - Matthew Briggs

Patrick Bamford TEAMtalk

Leeds United ended their two-match losing run with a three-goal blast in the final 12 minutes in entertaining 5-2 home win over Newcastle at Elland Road.

The hosts went behind to Jeff Hendrick’s strike, before Patrick Bamford equalised before half-time. Rodrigo netted his second Leeds goal to make it 2-1 before Ciaran Clarke headed in from a corner. Leeds then got the winner through Stuart Dallas, who headed in unmarked.

Gjanni Alioski made it 4-2 with five minutes to go before Jack Harrison hammered in the fifth from the edge of the box.

Federico Fernandez and Ryan Fraser were given starting roles as Steve Bruce made four changes to his Newcastle starting line-up at Leeds.

Fernandez was one of a number of Newcastle players who contracted coronavirus but he returned to the ranks after a negative test result, while Fraser made his first appearance since November 1 following a hamstring injury.

Jacob Murphy and Jeff Hendrick also started, with Emil Krafth, Jonjo Shelvey, Matt Ritchie and Miguel Almiron all dropping to the bench.

Leeds were unchanged from the 2-1 defeat against West Ham last Friday.

It was a purposeful start from Newcastle with Isaac Hayden’s cross-cum-shot forcing Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier to backpedal before the ball settled on the roof of the net.

Gradually, though, Leeds, who had suffered back-to-back defeats, grew into the contest, forcing Newcastle on to the back foot and Rodrigo wastefully fired a first-time effort over after the ball was pulled back to him.

Jeff Hendrick TEAMtalk

Newcastle were struggling to string passes together, allowing their opponents to pile forward and successive teasing crosses from Ezgjan Alioski and Raphinha from separate flanks just evaded Leeds headers.

It was becoming one-way traffic, with Jacob Murphy looking exposed on the right flank. Liam Cooper rose highest at the far post from a corner, with Magpies goalkeeper Karl Darlow making a good save, diving to his left.

Another attack down Newcastle’s right flank led to a pull back from Rodrigo, who controlled well before firing over.

Mateusz Klich also failed to find the target from the edge of the area.

Fraser gave notice of Newcastle’s threat, curling across Meslier, who pushed away, and the Scottish winger was involved in the build-up to the opener – largely against the run of play – in the 26th minute.

Fraser’s left-wing cross was flicked on by Callum Wilson to the far post, where Hendrick volleyed beyond Meslier.

Leeds responded positively to going behind, with Rodrigo’s left-wing cross just evading a touch from Raphinha but the pair linked up once again, leading to the equalising goal.

Murphy Harrison TEAMtalk

This time it was Raphinha’s cross which was met by Rodrigo, whose header looped over a despairing Darlow but came back off the crossbar, leaving Bamford a simple finish into an empty net in the 35th minute.

On the balance of play, the leveller was no less than Leeds deserved.

Newcastle wanted a penalty when Leeds skipper Liam Cooper came hurtling into the back of Callum Wilson inside the area, but referee Simon Hooper waves play on.

And eight minutes later, on the hour mark, Leeds were ahead. Jack Harrison’s cross was met by a bullet header from Rodrigo.

The visitors made a quick reply though when Clarke (65) headed home Fraser’s corner to make it 2-2 to once again expose Leeds’ fragility at set-pieces.

Leeds though got their noses in front on 77 minutes. Dallas nodded in unmarked from six yards out at the back post with the Toon defence caught napping. And Leeds made sure of the points on 85 minutes when Alioski made it 4-2 after a quick counter-attack.

Harrison then lashed in the fifth into the top corner with Darlow beaten all ends up.

READ MORE: Bielsa hits back at ‘half-truth’ criticism of Leeds’ set-piece defending

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