By Mark Walker, PA
Rasmus Kristensen’s late equaliser rescued Leeds a point in a 2-2 home draw against Newcastle but it was not enough to lift them out of the bottom three.
Kristensen’s deflected strike from outside the penalty area spared Leeds from a seventh defeat in nine matches, but their Premier League status was left hanging in the balance with two games to play.
Skipper Luke Ayling had given Leeds an early lead and after Patrick Bamford’s first-half penalty was saved, Callum Wilson converted twice from the spot to edge Newcastle in front.
Elland Road is bouncing again!! 🤩
Rasmus Kristensen finds a goal from nowhere to find a way back into the game for Leeds! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/kAh7RuyT3W
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 13, 2023
Leeds made a blistering start in search of the opening goal Sam Allardyce had spoken about earlier in the week and his side delivered in the seventh minute.
After Jack Harrison’s trickery set Bamford free down the left, the latter’s cross was met by Rodrigo’s header and although Nick Pope got down well to save, Ayling converted the rebound.
Allardyce started with defender Robin Koch and Sam Greenwood in a new-look midfield and there was an energy and balance about Leeds that had been missing for several weeks.
But having missed a golden chance to double their lead in the 27th minute they were made to pay.
Bamford’s penalty was saved by Pope after Joelinton had hauled down Junior Firpo and four minutes later Newcastle equalised with 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.
The plug had been pulled on the positive electricity generated by the home fans up to Bamford’s squandered penalty and all of a sudden Leeds looked ragged.
Koch blocked Miguel Almiron’s cross at the near post, goalkeeper Joel Robles raced off his line to thwart Wilson after Joelinton’s through-ball and Almiron then curled a left-footed shot inches wide just before half-time.
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.
Leeds also had their moments as the game opened up. Weston McKennie lashed a shot over the crossbar, but they were dealt a bitter blow in the 69th minute when Wilson converted his second penalty.
VAR referred referee Hooper to the pitch-side monitor after Firpo’s handball from Willock’s deep cross and after pointing to the spot for the third time in the match, Wilson drove his penalty high down the middle.
But with their top-flight status on the line, Leeds refused to surrender.
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.
With nerves fraying on and off the pitch in the closing stages, Firpo was sent off after his challenge on substitute Anthony Gordon earned him a second yellow card.
And before the subsequent free-kick was taken a Leeds fan leapt from the crowd to confront Newcastle boss Eddie Howe before being dragged clear by match stewards.