Blackburn Rovers 1 (Armstrong 48)
Leeds United 3 (Bamford 7, Phillips 40, Klich 53)
Well, that should settle the nerves a bit! After the below par performance against Luton on Tuesday we needed to see the real Leeds step forward again today and, mostly we did. I must say though that the more I watch Leeds in this battle to get back to the Premier League, the more I realise that one of the most important attributes you need is, luck!
The first fifteen minutes of this game was a real helter-skelter affair, probably as both sides struggled to come to terms with an unpredictable sodden pitch in heavy rain. Leeds took a 7th minute lead with another measured low left foot strike from Patrick Bamford, his 15th goal of the season, after superb pressing from Mateusz Klich to win the ball back. But we could easily have been 2 – 1 down within the next seven minutes! Sam Gallagher was put through in the clear with a ball from Elliot splitting Ben White and Barry Douglas and normally he would have buried the chance. This time though, somehow, he pulled a weak shot wide of the left post. Then , two minutes later, the Leeds defence went AWOL again, as Holtby was put in on goal and from eight yards he fired against the near post. Yes, on another day, that first fifteen minutes could have looked very different.
After that though, Leeds seemed to get the measure of both the pitch and the opposition and we were seldom given much cause for concern for the rest of the game.
Kalvin Phillips curled in a delightful free kick (no luck involved there!) before the break and, although Rovers matched that in spades with an equally sublime free kick from Adam Armstrong just after the break, Leeds were soon two goals clear again. Lady luck helped us out with that one too as, although Klich’s shot was hit well enough, Christian Walton in the Rovers’ goal made a real hash of it and it squirmed under him. Yep, never underestimate the importance of luck in any game.
This was a better performance from Leeds than the stop start effort we saw on Tuesday but we were by no means at our fluent best and we need to be tighter in defence than we showed at times. Another goal for Patrick Bamford (he hit the post with another effort) will do him no harm as he put in a much better all-round performance but his lack of a right foot does hinder him even when he’s on song.
So, still six points clear of third place Brentford, but the way they are going we may need another ten points from our final five games to pip them, if indeed they are to be our main threat together with the Albion. A 95th minute Fulham goal today didn’t help our cause either and Stoke City come to Elland Road on Thursday evening knowing they have to fight for their very lives. There’s a lot of football still be played folks, but we are still in the place every other team would love to be and it’s ours to lose!
Blackburn R Leeds U
Possession 40% 60%
Shots 11 17
On Target 3 5
Corners 0 4
Fouls Committed 18 12