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Leeds United 1 : 0 Norwich City

Leeds United 1 : 0 Norwich City

Leeds United kept up with the Championship automatic promotion race after a Patrick Bamford goal helped them beat Norwich City.

Bamford headed home Dan James’ cross for his fourth goal in five matches, the only real highlight in a game lacking much fluency or excitement.

Norwich, unbeaten in five games before their visit to Elland Road, had chances through Gabriel Sara, captain Kenny McLean and Adam Idah, but coming away with no points could be a setback for their play-off hopes.

Fourth-placed Leeds have now won five matches in a row in all competitions and are two points behind second-placed Ipswich.

Bamford’s goal was one of few moments of quality in a quiet first half, with the striker nodding in James’ perfectly weighted cross from the right.

The hosts were the better team, with Georginio Rutter, Crysencio Summerville and Junior Firpo regularly threatening the Canaries’ back line.

Norwich had a long period of possession early in the second half, but failed to create enough chances or threaten Leeds’ goal.

The visitors nearly snatched a late equaliser, with Idah put through on goal, but 17-year-old Archie Gray’s fabulous last-ditch tackle kept Leeds ahead.

Despite a frantic ending, Leeds held on to go 15 games unbeaten at home, their best run at Elland Road since their glory days of the 1970s.

They have also won the first five games in a calendar year for the first time in their history.

Both sides now turn their attention to the FA Cup fourth round with Leeds hosting Championship rivals Plymouth on Saturday and Norwich visiting Premier League leaders Liverpool on Sunday.

Leeds, who are looking to make an immediate return to the top flight, face four sides in the bottom half of the Championship when they return to league action before a crunch fixture against leaders Leicester on 23 February.

The Canaries remain two points outside the top six, but like Leeds have now played a game more than the sides around them.

Leeds boss Daniel Farke told BBC Radio Leeds:

“It was a really complicated game and I am more than happy that we got the three points and another clean sheet.

“It was a game of different spells, we had a few problems to handle their possession when they were pushing us back, and the same for them.

“We created the better chances and scored a fantastic goal.

“I think in the end it was a deserved win but we also had to accept their quality and that they had that possession.”

Norwich manager David Wagner told:

“The goal we conceded was very sloppy defending. These games are won and lost on fine margins, but this is a top side, we gave them a game, and kept them quiet.

“When we were solid in our shape, with a high press, we were difficult to break down. I can take a lot of positives from the performance.”

“We weren’t expecting to have lots of opportunities, and when you get them, you need to be ruthless. We will keep going and progressing, we have learned a lot tonight.”

“It was a quite tight game, a game where two teams really tried to win it. In the second half we had a spell where we were really composed, but didn’t create anything in the final third.”