Joe Gerhardt came off the bench to score a stoppage-time winner for Leeds United as they snatched a thrilling 2-1 home victory over fellow strugglers Norwich City in a pulsating Premier League clash on Sunday.
Leeds looked to have thrown away three vital points in the battle for relegation when Kenny McLean fired home Teemu Pukki’s pass in the 91st minute, but Gerhardt spared their blushes in a game the hosts should have won comfortably.
The home side took the lead in the 14th minute when a long ball was headed clear by Norwich defender Ozan Kabak to Dan James, who chested it into the path of Rodrigo, and he fired a deflected shot in at the far post.
Leeds wasted chance after chance with Patrick Bamford, making his first start since early December, stabbing a great opportunity wide and Dan James had an early second-half effort ruled out for offside.
Norwich substitute Jonathan Rowe illustrated the danger for Leeds in the 72nd minute, hammering a shot off the underside of the crossbar in a rare attack for the visitors, and they thought they had been thrown a lifeline with a penalty in the 75th minute for a foul on Milot Rashica.
Referee Stuart Attwell overturned his decision after a video review but Norwich still found a way back as McLean fired home.
Having replaced Matuesz Klich in the 90th minute, Gerhardt wasted little time making his mark, latching on to Raphinha’s square ball and slamming the ball home from close range to send the crowd into raptures.
A seventh straight league defeat for Norwich left them rooted to the bottom of the table on 17 points after 29 games, while Leeds snapped their eight-game streak without a league win to move to 26 points in 16th position, four above 18th-placed Watford.
The win was the first for Leeds under new American coach Jesse Marsch.
“The crowd was fantastic, I think the performance brought the crowd into the game and obviously the three points are incredibly massive for us, but we played well. We deserved this today,” he said.
“We had big chances. If we’re a little bit cleaner in the last third with some of our chances in the first half, we could finish up the game earlier, but right now, the way it is for us in our situation, we have to fight for everything,” Marsch added.