Leeds Utd 2 Norwich City 1

A GOAL two minutes into stoppage time from Jermaine Beckford condemned Norwich City to defeat at the hands of Leeds United in tonight's full-blooded League One encounter at Elland Road.

A GOAL two minutes into stoppage time from Jermaine Beckford condemned Norwich City to defeat at the hands of Leeds United in tonight's full-blooded League One encounter at Elland Road.

Beckford cashed in on a poor goal-kick by goalkeeper Fraser Forster and slipped the ball home to decide a pulsating battle and take his side back to the top of the table.

Grant Holt's 10th goal of the season looked to have earned the Canaries at least a point when he struck from close range seven minutes before the break after Bradley Johnson had given the hosts a 15th-minute lead, heading home from their first corner.

City had chances to extend their lead as they dominated the early stages of the second half, but Forster later made two excellent saves to keep them on terms before his late error helped the Yorkshire side to a victory they did not truly deserve.

New Scotland international midfielder Stephen Hughes won a recall to the City midfield. Hughes, back from duty in Japan after winning his first cap for his country, replaced Korey Smith, suffering from a thigh strain, in one of two changes from the City team that won 1-0 at Carlisle nine days ago.

Jon Otsemobor returned at right-back after missing four matches with a hamstring injury, in place of George Francomb.

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Manager Paul Lambert also included midfielder Matthew Gill in his squad for the first time in two months as one of his seven substitutes.

Leeds included striker Sam Vokes, signed on loan from Wolves, and had one more new face on the bench in winger Max Gradel, on loan from Leicester.

There were two ex-Canaries in the home side's starting eleven with Andy Hughes and former loan centre-half Leigh Bromby playing in the back four.

It was an eventful first period from the very first minute, when Leeds skipper Richard Naylor was booked for crashing into the back of Wes Hoolahan - Naylor also came off worse from the collision and had to leave the field for attention to a facial injury while the hosts played on with 10 men.

City's Hughes followed Naylor into the book in the fourth minute for a challenge on Jason Crowe that angered the home crowd.

Darel Russell very nearly gave City the lead in the sixth minute when he connected sweetly with Jon Otsemobor's cross with a right-foot volley, goalkeeper Shane Higgs getting one hand to the shot but fumbling it and having to leap back to claw it away from the goalline.

Vokes got into the action for the first time when he fired over the top as Leeds counter-attacked.

Naylor finally returned after nine minutes with his head bandaged.

It was an eventful start and Chris Martin fired wide from outside the area after collecting a pass from Hughes.

There was another escape for Leeds in the 12th minute when Higgs saved with his legs from Hoolahan after Simon Lappin and Holt had combined to create a clear-cut opening.

City were made to regret that miss when Leeds went ahead in the 15th minute from their first corner when Johnson rose highest to head in at the far post from Robert Snodgrass' flag-kick.

With just 17 minutes gone, Leeds were forced into a change when 'keeper Higgs signalled to come off and was replaced by Casper Ankergren.

Vokes fired over the top again after 25 minutes after intercepting a poor clearance by City 'keeper Fraser Forster.

On the half-hour, Jermaine Beckford got the better of Gary Doherty on the edge of the penalty area but his right-foot shot was a yard wide.

Forster was then brought into action when Naylor got his head to a Snodgrass free-kick.

Seven minutes before the break, City were rewarded for some fine passing football when Holt equalised with his 10th goal of the season. Hoolahan found Lappin on the right and he crossed to the far post, where Holt got ahead of Johnson to slide the ball home.

Half-time: Leeds United 1, Norwich City 1

Beckford squandered a chance from the restart when put clear by Snodgrass but scuffing his shot well wide after getting ahead of Doherty.

Early in the second half, Forster appeared to be moving none too freely and signalling to the bench, and substitute 'keeper Declan Rudd began warming up on the touchline, but there was no immediate change.

There was a half-chance after 58 minutes when Ankergren flapped at a corner from Lappin but recovered to smother Jens Berthel Askou's follow-up shot.

Russell became the second City player booked when he up-ended Snodgrass wide on the Leeds right.

Michael Doyle then went into the book when he caught Russell with a high boot.

City were on top in the second period and with 66 minutes gone, Holt forced Ankergren into an important save when he let fly from outside the area.

They threatened again when Lappin's corner was nodded back by Doherty but Holt fired into the side netting.

Goalscorer Johnson became the fifth player booked with 20 minutes left for a late challenge on Otsemobor.

Forster kept City on terms when he jumped to his left to keep out a goalbound free-kick by Snodgrass.

Leeds made their second change with just over 15 minutes to go when Tresor Kandol replaced Vokes, and their final substitution came five minutes later when Gradel replaced Snodgrass.

Forster made a superb one-handed save from Beckford when the striker was clean through with seven minutes left, and he dived to his left moments later to keep out a shot by Gradel.

Beckford missed a golden chance to wrap up victory in stoppage time when he slid the ball wide from a cross by Gradel.

Nearly two minutes of stoppage time had been played when Beckford slid the ball home.

Leeds United: Higgs (Ankergren, 17); Crowe, Naylor, Bromby, Andy Hughes; Snodgrass (Gradel, 80), Howson, Doyle, Johnson; Beckford, Vokes (Kandol, 74).

Subs (not used): Prutton, Kilkenny, Grella, Michalik.

Norwich City: Forster; Otsemobor, Doherty, Askou, Drury; Russell, Hughes (Gill, 90), Lappin; Hoolahan; Holt, Martin.

Subs (not used): Rudd, Cureton, Adeyemi, McVeigh, Daley, McDonald.

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

Attendance: 19,912

Goals: Leeds: Johnson (15), Beckford (90). Norwich: Holt (38)

Bookings: Leeds: Naylor (1), Doyle (64), Johnson (70), Crowe (85). Norwich: Hughes (4), Russell (59), Holt (90)