A DELIRIOUS Victor Orta manically tugged the face of Andrea Radrizzani and Marcelo Bielsa repeatedly clenched his fists in celebration.
Yes, it was that sort of day. Thrills, spills and bellyaches, an expletive or two, a questionable head-butt and an even dodgier-looking penalty; this was an occasion that comes to the fore periodically at Elland Road. It makes you feel alive in the process too.
The scenes which followed Pontus Jansson’s 88th-minute leveller smacked of pure unadulterated two-fingered defiance stretching back through the ages.
In its own way, it sent out a collective missive to the rest of the Championship from those currently in white. It emphatically stated that Leeds United are not to be moved and most definitely are not going away either.
Adversity arrived and a bit of a chastening against a Brentford side who went toe-to-toe with their high-flying hosts all game and proved that they are the real deal in the footballing stakes.
Yet for all their excellence, the fact that the Bees required a hugely unjust penalty award to take the lead just after the hour was most definitely not lost upon those of a Whites persuasion.
But while the masses seethed – at a wholly unsatisfactory performance from referee Jeremy Simpson – Bielsa got even, as opposed to mad. Changes arrived, tempo was regained and the reward came in the dying embers.
It was the sort of game that Leeds would have coughed up three points in during years gone by. Not this time, in what could well amount to a significant result in United’s season.
It remains to be seen if Leeds last the course in 2018-19, but their stamina and resolve – in terms of fitness and mentality – suggests that they possess the lungs and mindset of a proficient distance runner.
On three occasions already this season, they have come from behind late on and taken something away from precarious situations. A nice trait to have.
Substitute Adam Forshaw said: “You cannot play beautiful in this league every week. What is really pleasing to see is that against Preston, Sheffield Wednesday and in this game, we look a lot fitter than the opposition.
“I am watching a lot of it and it is really pleasing. We have scored late goals like Jack (Harrison) at Millwall and Pontus here and, hopefully, that can push us through to keep picking up valuable points – and they will count at the end of the season.
“Everyone knows what they (Brentford) are like and their philosophy is good attacking football. They are fluent, nice on the eye and play through the lines and have got nice players and (Neal) Maupay up front.
“They will be up there, but the only thing I would say is that they lack that little bit of experience maybe or grit in the last minutes that we are starting to show.”
After the difficulties with officialdom against Birmingham, Leeds had more travails on Saturday, but attempting to navigate a path past a slick Brentford side who possessed ease on the ball and fluidity in terms of movement proved even more fraught.
Claims that Brentford, along with Leeds, are the best footballing side in the division were not hollow on Saturday’s evidence.
A fine finger-tip save from Bailey Peacock-Farrell to deny Maupay and an equally important stop to block a follow-up from the same player after a deflected shot from Ollie Watkins came back off the bar ensured the score was level at the break. But the Bees were afforded a moral victory.
Leeds were less passive on the restart, but few could have argued that Brentford’s breakthrough was not deserved, but the manner of it left an unwholesome taste in the mouth.
Sent clear, Watkins seemed to have his mind set on going to ground as Peacock-Farrell raced out of goal, with Simpson pointing to the spot – despite replays showing there was no contact.
The atmosphere became tinder-box when Maupay sent Peacock-Farrell the wrong way and unwisely proceeded to celebrate in front of the South Stand.
Leeds, who had gone close earlier when Luke Daniels turned Kalvin Phillips’s close-range shot against the post, almost levelled when Liam Cooper glanced a header wide.
The hosts kept at it with their replacements in Forshaw, Lewis Baker and Jack Clarke perking up proceedings noticeably – with Baker going desperately close with a fine free-kick.
It was expectant father Jansson who made a timely arrival to head home Gjanni Alioski’s free-kick with Baker almost nicking a famous win in a game which saw Luke Ayling depart late on for a second yellow card. It was also a day which saw Sergi Canos appear to aim a head-butt at Alioski during a touchline rumpus in the away dug-out in the second-half.
Forshaw added: “I have always said that if you are a good enough side, then you do not have to rely on officials. You do not have to waste as much energy on them.
“The manager is massive on it and says: ‘do not involve yourselves with the referee, linesmen or fourth official’ and that if we rise above it and we are good enough, eventually it will see us through and we do not have to depend on those people.”
Leeds United: Peacock-Farrell, Ayling, Jansson, Cooper, Dallas (Clarke 70), Phillips, Harrison, Klich (Forshaw 63), Samuel (Baker 76), Alioski, Roberts. Unused substitutes: Pearce, Blackman, Edmondson, Shackleton.
Brentford: Daniels, Dalsgaard, Konsa, Mepham, Odubajo (Barbet 76), Sawyers, Mokotjo, Canos (Benrahma 77), Yennaris, Watkins (Judge 84), Maupay. Unused substitutes: Bentley, Macleod, McEachran, Jeanvier.
Referee: J Simpson (Lancashire).