STUART DALLAS admitted “emotions were all over the place” as Leeds United produced another Christmas miracle to somehow win 5-4 at Birmingham City.
One year and one week after United came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Birmingham’s arch rivals Aston Villa in second-half injury time, United again left it late to settle a nine-goal thriller through a Wes Harding own goal in the 95th minute.
Leeds had raced into a 2-0 lead inside 21 minutes through strikes from Helder Costa and Jack Harrison but Birmingham fought back to level at 2-2 through Jude Bellingham and Lukas Jutkiewicz and then twice more battled back to draw all square.
Luke Ayling’s stunning strike put Leeds back ahead in the 69th minute but Jeremie Bela headed home an equaliser with seven minutes left.
Incredibly, Dallas put United 4-3 ahead just 60 seconds later only for Jutkiewicz to head home his second and make it 4-4 in the first minute of stoppage time.
But, amazingly, United still weren’t done and Luke Ayling’s fierce cross was turned home by Birmingham defender Harding in the fifth minute of added time to make even last year’s win at Villa Park seem tame.
The stunning victory also sent United to the top of the Championship thanks to Middlesbrough’s 2-0 win at West Brom and Dallas saluted his side for answering any critics after taking two points from their last three games.
“It’s definitely one of the craziest games I have been involved in,” said Dallas.
“There was so much emotion.
“You go from 2-0 up and we are doing really well to come back to two each and you have to really step up and grind it out.
“You get ahead, you are pegged back, you go ahead again and you think that’s it or you hope that’s it and they have scored a good goal from a great ball in.
“Again, emotions are all over the place and we showed great courage and character to go up the pitch and get a winner.
“It’s definitely one of the craziest games I’ve seen. I am glad I was playing in it rather than watching it to be honest. The crowd have got their money’s worth.”
Asked just how important the victory would prove after United’s supposed recent blip, Dallas said: “I don’t think it was a blip. People look at it as a blip because we had won seven games in a row.
“We got a good point against Preston on Boxing Day.
“We couldn’t win the game but we made sure we didn’t lose it and we have come here with pressure on us. We have stood up and answered a few questions.”
Birmingham: Trueman, Colin, Dean, Harding, Pedersen, Bellingham (Montero 74), Sunjic, Gardner, Crowley (Bela 68), Mrbati (Alvaro Gimenez 74), Jutkiewicz. Unused substitutes: Camp, McEachran, Maghoma, Davis.
Leeds United: Casilla, Ayling, White, Cooper, Dallas, Phillips, Alioski, Costa, Klich (Berardi 86), Harrison, Nketiah (Roberts 81). Unused substitutes: Meslier, Douglas, Gotts, Stevens, Casey.
Referee: K Stroud (Hampshire).