Leeds earned what could be a precious point in their battle against the drop with a 2-2 draw against Newcastle in a tale of three penalties.
A key moment came with Leeds a goal up, courtesy of Luke Ayling, as Patrick Bamford spurned a golden opportunity from the penalty spot, and less than two minutes later Newcastle were awarded a penalty of their own which was scored by Callum Wilson.
Newcastle were awarded a second penalty when Junior Firpo inexplicably handled inside his own area and Wilson stroked home again to put the Magpies ahead. That could have knocked the stuffing out of Leeds, but Rasmus Kristensen’s deflected strike earned Sam Allardyce a point in his first home game in charge.
In what was a frantic and action-packed game, Firpo was sent off late on for a professional foul and a fan was taken away by stewards for confronting Eddie Howe in the Newcastle technical area as the clock ticked down.
“That was a real surprise,” Howe told BT Sport.
“I was concentrating on the game. It was the last thing you think could happen.”
Leeds: Robles (7), Kristensen (8), Koch (7), Wober (6), Ayling (7), McKennie (7), Greenwood (5), Firpo (3), Rodrigo (7), Harrison (6), Bamford (5)
Subs: Forshaw (7), Struijk (6), Gnonto (7), Aaronson (6)
Newcastle: Pope (7), Trippier (7), Schar (7), Botman (7), Burn (6), Guimaraes (6), Willock (7), Joelinton (6), Almiron (6), Wilson (7), Isak (6)
Subs: Saint-Maximin (7), Gordon (6), Andersen (6)
Player of the match: Rasmus Kristensen
Leeds remain in the drop zone with just two games remaining to save their season – away at West Ham before hosting Tottenham on the final day. Newcastle, who play Brighton on Thursday – live on Sky Sports, still have their top-four hopes in their own hands and remain third.
How Leeds showed fight to keep hope alive…
Leeds played with energy and verve in the early stages and the Elland Road crowd responded, creating a hostile atmosphere. The roof came off on seven minutes.
After Jack Harrison’s trickery set Bamford free down the left, his cross was headed by Rodrigo which drew a save out of Nick Pope. But he only clawed it to Ayling, who converted the rebound.
Leeds were flying and had a huge chance to double their lead but Bamford’s penalty was saved by Pope after Joelinton had hauled down Firpo.
Just two minutes later Newcastle won a penalty of their own.
Referee Simon Hooper pointed straight to the spot after Max Wober’s reckless challenge on Alexander Isak and Wilson duly converted his 16th league goal of the season.
Miguel Almiron then curled a left-footed shot inches wide just before half-time, but clear-cut chances were few and far between for the Toon against a much-improved Leeds defence.
Wilson threatened again soon after the restart when his volley was deflected for a corner and Fabian Schar’s header was cleared off the goal-line by Rodrigo.
The pressure was growing and Firpo crumbled under it.
VAR sent referee Hooper to the pitchside monitor after Firpo’s handball from Joe Willock’s deep cross, and, after the official had pointed to the spot for the third time in the match, Wilson stayed cool to put Newcastle ahead.
But, out of nowhere, Leeds showed incredible resilience and levelled.
Newcastle only half-cleared substitute Willy Gnonto’s corner and Kristensen crashed home a 25-yard shot via a deflection off Kieran Trippier to haul the home side level.
Firpo’s afternoon then went from bad to worse when he was sent off for a professional foul after his challenge on substitute Anthony Gordon just outside the area.
In the hustle and bustle of the free-kick, a fan leapt from the crowd to confront Newcastle boss Howe before being hauled away.
It was an ugly end to a beautifully entertaining match.
Howe confused by end-to-end encounter
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe to BT Sport:
“I’m struggling to make sense of it all.
“It was their first attack, we started well. The first attack they get they score. We hadn’t created clear-cut chances. I thought we played well at times today without hitting our best form and we were rushed around the box. The character to come back is a huge positive.
“The way Wilson took his two penalties was outstanding. The second one is the most difficult, there are a lot of mind games and lot of time to take the penalty.”
Allardyce: We weren’t professional
Leeds manager Sam Allardyce speaking to BT Sport:
“Very, very satisfied with what they’ve done and how they applied themselves. There are lots of areas where we say room for improvement, but we didn’t get dispirited even though we made life extremely difficult for ourselves. We missed a penalty then conceded two but scored to save 2-2.
“Our defending was magnificent today. When you consider where Newcastle are and we played Manchester City last week, we are moving in the right direction now. We pleased the crowd, they helped us in the game and kept going with us. It’s a shame we weren’t more professional at the right time as that would have been a win for us otherwise.
“We have to stick with it and do as much as we can to save our position in the Premier League. That is everyone concerned with Leeds. That is everyone who works at the training ground and everyone in the stadium, it’s imperative we stay in this league.
“I’m disappointed it’s only a draw. It could have easily been a win for us. It’s our fault we didn’t win. I have been talking about staying on your feet all week. I don’t like it when they ignore me, so they will get told off. If we stayed on our feet, we would have won.”
May 21: West Ham (A) – Premier League, kick-off 1.30pm
May 28: Tottenham (H) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm
May 18: Brighton (H) – Premier League, kick-off 7.30pm
May 22: Leicester (H) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm
May 28: Chelsea (A) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm
Leeds continue their bid for Premier League survival as they travel to West Ham next Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League; kick-off 1.30pm. Allardyce’s side then host Tottenham at Elland Road on the final day of the season.
Newcastle, meanwhile, will be hoping to secure a top-four finish by winning their next two games, both of which are at home – live on Sky Sports. Eddie Howe’s side host Brighton on Thursday night, kick-off 7.30pm, before welcoming Leicester to St James’ Park for Monday Night Football on May 22.
The Magpies end their season with a trip to Chelsea on May 28.