Leeds advance little with draw against Newcastle on home debut Allardyce
Relegation candidate Leeds United took a point at Elland Road against number three Newcastle United (2-2), who are battling for the Champions League spots with Erik ten Hags Manchester United and Liverpool. The draw moves Leeds up to eighteenth place, which still leads to relegation at the end of the season.
It was the first home game for Leeds coach Sam Allardyce, already the third coach in front of the group this season at ‘The Whites’. The former England national team coach is known as a specialist in rescuing clubs in relegation trouble.
Although his last coaching job, with West Bromwich Albion in 2021, was the first time things went wrong for ‘Big Sam’. Last week, he lost on his debut to leaders Manchester City.
Ball three times on the dot
At Newcastle, Sven Botman was, as usual, in the base at center back, in the Premier League’s least-passed defense. Yet Leeds managed to score as early as the seventh minute: captain Luke Ayling fired the 1-0 in from the rebound.
Still within the half hour, Leeds had a chance to double the score. Joelinton caused a penalty kick with a clumsy tackle. Striker Patrick Bamford laid on for the second Leeds goal, but Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope saved handsomely.
Less than three minutes later, still within the half hour, the referee put the ball on the spot at the other end. Former Ajacied Maximilian Wöber ran down Alexander Isak (ex-Willem II) ungainly in the penalty area. Striker Callum Wilson remained cool from the penalty spot in contrast to his number nine colleague on the opposite side: 1-1.
In the 67th minute, the home crowd was shocked when the referee was called to the side by VAR because of a handball by Leeds defender Junior Firpo. The ball went on the dot for the third time.
Wilson again remained calm and shot the ball high through the middle into the goal, already his seventeenth goal of the season. For a while Leeds was in sackcloth and ashes, but twelve minutes before time another former Ajax player, Rasmus Kristensen, made the 2-2 out of nowhere.
The Dane, who at Ajax always played at right back but this match was at center back alongside Wöber, was lucky that the ball flew into the goal via an opponent.
With injury time entering, the unfortunate Firpo received his second yellow card and thus red. Pascal Struijk fell in to save the point with ten men and he succeeded.