Captain fantastic.

The biggest crowd of the season arrived at Turf Moor to watch 8th placed Burnley take on 6th placed Leeds United, in what was being billed as a real test of progress for both sides.

There were two changes to Simon Grayson’s side, as Paul Connolly returned from suspension to replace Andy Hughes and Neill Collins came in at centre-back for the injured Andy O’Brien.

The game got off to a lively start, with Max Gradel firing Leeds’ first chance wide, before Burnley responded with a long-range effort and a free-kick which forced the first save from Kasper Schmeichel.

Max Gradel continued to impress with another couple of chances before Chris Iwelumo’s shot forced a save from Kasper Schmeichel at the opposite end. From the resulting corner kick, Burnley broke the deadlock. The first strike was cleared off the line, but fell for Brian Easton who gave the hosts a 1-0 lead just before the half hour mark.

A corner kick saw Neill Collins go close to restoring parity, but Burnley doubled their advantage soon after when Alex Bruce slipped, allowing the chasing Rodriquez to fire beyond a helpless Schmeichel. Dreadful defending from Bruce, who should have taken the easy option and rolled it back to Schmeichel, but he got caught in two minds and was punished for his carelessness.

Half-time, and the disappointing first half had left me cursing everyone and everything from Alex Bruce to the stadium we were playing in. My teddy had well and truly left the cot. Moans about the weather (despite it’s improvement) left the lads I was with suggesting I invented the snood.

It was fair to say that I was not a happy Leeds United fan. My frustrations were largely aimed at the defence who have shown all the consistency of the Liberal Democrats so far this season. Burnley had been the better team, but 2-0 was beyond flattering. I’ve seen much worse defeats over the years, but from the evidence so far, this was a game we could win with ease if the team played to their┬ácapabilities and that’s why 2-0 was particularly hard to swallow.

The second half brought a rejuvenated Leeds United side who quickly responded to Grayson’s half-time words of wisdom and set about getting back into the game.

A cross from Robert Snodgrass was headed on by Luciano Becchio, into the path of Max Gradel who netted a thoroughly well-deserved goal to get Leeds back into the game with just 7 minutes of the second half played. 2-1 “We’re gonna beat you 3-2” warned the Leeds fans.

The turning point however, was perhaps not Gradel’s goal, but a dreadful miss from Iwelumo minutes later. It was at that moment that you just started to sense Leeds may be able to turn things around with Burnley starting to crack.

Around a hour gone and Grayson made his first change of the afternoon, bringing Ross McCormack on for the quiet Neil Kilkenny.

Great work from Paul Connolly down the wing, who cut a ball through the defence and into the path of Luciano Becchio who slid in and levelled it for Leeds on 66, much to the delight of the 5,000 travelling Whites.

Unbelievably, after trailing 2-0 at half-time to a team largely made up of Premier League players, Leeds United were now in the hunt for a winner.

McCormack was lively and had a couple of chances to make himself a hero and Robert Snodgrass hit the woodwork for Leeds. Burnley also had their chances at the opposite end, and Kasper Schmeichel was kept on his toes right up to the final whistle.

But the Hollywood finish came courtesy of captain fantastic, Jonny Howson. Picking the ball up in the centre of the park, Howson moved forward with options available to both sides of him. Howson had other ideas though, and as the Burnley defence stood off and allowed him space, Jonny struck a low curling shot into the bottom corner to complete a brilliant turnaround for the Whites.

It was during the adrenaline fuelled celebrations that followed, that this poor Leeds United fan managed to injure his ankle from what I assume was another fan stamping on it. Shrugging it off to continue in the fun, it wasn’t until the final whistle had blown that I realised my ankle had swollen up and realised this could probably net me a week off work – adding extra brilliance to Howson’s goal.

Taunts of ‘you should have gone Christmas shopping’ came from the away end, but there was a couple of hairy moments yet to come as Kasper Schmeichel kept his head to see out a memorable comeback and send Leeds United up to fourth in the Championship.

TSS man of the match

Paul Connolly deserves a mention for an excellent shift today, as does Kasper Schmeichel and even Bradley Johnson (shocking, I know)! I was leaning towards Max Gradel who posed a constant threat to Burnley throughout, but I ended up swaying towards the quite frankly outstanding Jonny Howson. Not only did he seal the victory with a memorable goal, but he led the team well throughout.