Blackburn Rovers 1 Leeds United 2
Blimey that was hard work! With the Leeds first XI supposedly fresh as daisies we ought to have seen them come out of the blocks like human rockets but the first half saw a Leeds United engine that spluttered and stuttered along as if running on the wrong fuel or missing a vital component. We were; there was no Pablo Hernandez in it!
With his arrival at half time finally there was someone to direct operations in midfield and to give our attacks some purpose and the Leeds fans showed them what we needed with a pointed chant of “Attack, Attack, Attack-Attack-Attack” It took a while but slowly but surely it came together and no doubt that weekend rest and the fitness of the players also played a part in seeing us get stronger just as Blackburn began to fade.
A fine goal from Stuart Dallas, wonderfully bringing down a long diagonal ball from Liam Bridcutt before rifling it past the keeper ought to have been enough to secure the points, but this Leeds side still has some traits of our sides of old and once more they set our nerves on edge by conceding a ridiculous 25 yard shot as the game moved into the final ten minutes.
In days gone by that would have been the signal for the opposition to throw the kitchen sink at us and more likely than not grab a winner; in that respect this side is very different. We rolled our leaves up and went again and now with a bit of muscle on the pitch in the shape of Souley Doukara and a bit more bite in midfield to not only win the ball but actually do something positive with it courtesy of young Vieira, Leeds set about repairing the damage. With 17 league goals already this season from set pieces, you’d have thought Blackburn would have been alert to the presence of Pontus Jansson at a corner late in the game but then again, the brick heading Pontus takes some stopping and once he gets his head to a ball that also takes some stopping. Blackburn couldn’t do it.
So, another hurdle just about cleared and thankfully we got the result everyone needed to ensure that playing a kindergarten XI at Sutton was not a completely futile exercise. Another huge test now awaits in the form of those Terriers from just along the road. We will need to start much better there and I think we’ve seen that we can’t do without the guile of Pablo, the muscle of the Douk and the aggressive ball winning of Ronaldo Vieira. With them in the side we can probably see off those Terriers.
Blackburn R L eeds United
Possession 49% 51%
Shots 6 10
On Target 1 2
Corners 6 5
Fouls 8 9