Leeds 2-2 Brentford: Patrick Bamford grabs point with late equalizer after three months injured
How about a return?
Patrick Bamford has been missing for three months with an ankle injury as Leeds struggled into their second season in the Premier League.
The English striker was only deemed fit enough to start on the bench against Brentford.
Patrick Bamford scored in the 94th minute to take a 2-2 draw for Leeds at home to Brentford
Fans demanded Bamford come in and his goal caused a pandemonium in Elland Road
Brentford midfielder Sergi Canos put Brentford up front on Elland Road in the second half
But Leeds fans demanded his introduction after the Bees took a surprising lead in the second half.
And after Marcelo Bielsa responded to calls from supporters, Bamford spectacularly repaid his boss with a leveler in the 95th minute. That’s what you call making an impact.
Bamford was on hand to squeeze the ball into the back post after Luke Ayling tapped Raphinha’s corner.
And the attacker was just frantic as he ran off in celebration, took off his shirt and fell to the ground in front of his adoring audience.
It was the second time in five days that Leeds have scored on death – Raphinha scored from the spot in the 93rd minute against Crystal Palace on Tuesday night.
Shandon Baptiste (second from left) equalized and scored his first goal for Brentford
Brentford was without top scorer Ivan Toney after he tested positive for Covid
Tyler Roberts put Leeds ahead in the first half and scored his first goal in 22 games this season
And while Bielsa will be disappointed not to score consecutive wins for the first time this season, he once again breathed a sigh of relief at the final whistle.
While Luke Ayling and Bamford were back for Leeds after they had both missed since September, Leeds suffered another injury after just 15 minutes when their captain Liam Cooper stumbled.
It was a very Bielsa-esque move to replace the injured centre-back with winger Jack Harrison. But with left-back Junior Firpo coming in as an impromptu central half into a back three, the Leeds manager’s tactical adjustments seemed to work – and were rewarded after 27 minutes.
In one of their first attacks with real intentions, Adam Forshaw found Raphinha in the space to the left and although his first cross was headed off by ex-Leeds defender Pontus Jansson, the ball fell straight back to the Brazilian’s feet.
Raphinha made his second cross by swinging the ball behind Brentford’s back line, with Roberts coming between Jansson and Ethan Pinnock to slide in and score.
It was the much-maligned Wales forward Roberts’ first goal in 22 appearances for club and country this season, his first at Elland Road in 501 days and just the second Premier League goal in his career.
Bamford (right) had missed the last three months with an ankle injury, but soon made his mark
Marcelo Bielsa made a bold move by replacing injured defender Liam Cooper with winger Jack Harrison
To lead: Meslier, Ayling, Firpo (Bamford 68′), Forshaw, Cooper (c) (Harrison 15′), Raphinha, Roberts, Llorente, Dallas, James, Phillips (Klich 55′). Subs not used: Klaesson (GK), Rodrigo, Cresswell, Summerville, Shackleton, Jenkins.
Brentford: Fernandez (GK), Henry, Goode, Pinnock, Norgaard, Canos (Wissa 72′), Jansson (c), Mbeumo, Baptiste (Onyeka 69′), Janelt (Jensen 90′), Roerslev. Subs not used: Cox (GK), Thompson, Forss, Ghoddos, Stevens, Young-Coombes.
Booked: Roberts, Klich, Raphinha, Bamford, Harrison (Leeds) Goode, Canos, Henry (Brentford)
Referee: David Cootes
But buoyed by his lead-off attack, he was eager for more, forcing Alvaro Fernandez to tip over with an attack from the edge of the box before firing on the left from a corner.
Brentford needed a response, but with star striker Ivan Toney a late withdrawal after testing positive for Covid-19, they offered next to nothing for the future and were lucky enough to go into halftime just one goal behind.
Leeds’ dominance continued into the second half, when Ayling headed into Raphinha’s reentry free kick and on his return was only denied a goal by a fine fingertip stop from the outstretched Fernandez.
And yet, completely against the grain of the game, Brentford was back on track after 54 minutes.
Rico Henry defeated Stuart Dallas on the visitors’ left, passing Sergi Canos, whose cross Diego Llorente shot to the edge of the area, where Shandon Baptiste led the loose ball into the bottom left corner.
It was Baptiste’s first league goal since scoring for Oxford in League One two years ago.
Leeds suffered another injury setback when Kalvin Phillips limped with an injury
Baptiste’s equalizing goal turned the game towards Brentford, who suddenly swarmed all over Leeds
And the equalizing goal turned the game around completely, with the Bees suddenly swarming all over Leeds, who were hit further when Kalvin Phillips had to come out with an injury.
Canos should have put Brentford ahead when Mads Roerslev snapped him off the back post, but he headed over.
However, the Spaniard made up for it after 61 minutes as he started and finished a fluid team movement.
After Canos and Baptise switched passes, Bryan Mbeumo Canos slid back in and lifted the ball over Meslier.
The mischievous Canos proceeded to celebrate for Leeds fans in the North East Corner, where a bottle appeared to be thrown in his direction, forcing him to fall to the ground.
Referee David Coote did not intervene, however.
The home crowd grew restless and chanted for Bamford’s introduction – a call to which Bielsa responded 22 minutes before time.
And just as all looked lost for Leeds, Bamford was there to level up – unleashing a pandemonium in Elland Road.
Brentford’s Canos was hit by a bottle thrown by Leeds fans after pushing its side forward
Substitute Bamford appeared in the nick of time just as all seemed lost for Leeds