Leeds United 2 (Bamford 30 pen, Harrison 35)
Blackburn Rovers 1 (Williams 40)
As I jogged away from Hillsborough in the pouring rain two weeks ago, each little group of Leeds fans I passed was basically having the same conversation. It went along the lines of: “Well, if we can beat QPR and Blackburn in the next two home games, then these two away points from Preston and Wednesday will look pretty damn good”
Two weeks on and it’s mission accomplished. The win today was more of a Bielsaball performance than last week’s against QPR, although neither provided the sparkle or the flood of goals many people keep suggesting we will get sooner or later. Both games were hard fought against teams that, though limited, were well organised and difficult to break down; teams that epitomise the sort of quality we find in the Championship mid-table. Against QPR we didn’t boss the possession as we usually do but we were efficient in carving out chances and taking a couple. Today against Rovers it was back to Bielsaball domination and press, with 68% of the ball but a similar number of chances.
Looking at the penalty again, I have to say I probably agree with Tony Mowbray, who said after the game: “… it's soft to say the least” but, let’s be honest, we were due one after the numerous better shouts that have been turned down in recent weeks! All credit to Patrick Bamford for wanting to take it too, and for sticking it away comfortably. Jack Harrison got us all thinking that goal avalanche was coming when he doubled the lead with another nice finish after only 35 minutes. Harrison was the Man of the Match for me again this week – he doesn’t get everything right but he’s a constant threat down that left side; now, if we had the same threat on the other flank….
The goal rush never materialised of course, largely I suspect as the shock of the Blackburn goal, a reminder that we still have a problem defending corners, rocked us back on our heels a bit. We had the chances to settle it well before the end but, as so often, we managed to blast good opportunities way over the bar rather than testing Christian Walton in the Rovers goal. This time it was a first half effort from Stuart Dallas and then a couple from Jack Harrison and a shank from Bamford after the break that tested the hands of the South Stand and Kop punters more than Walton’s. More shooting practice during the break please lads!
So, we go into another international break in good shape, doing what we need to: Winning our home games and earning at least a point from our away trips. We are a point behind that important 2 points a game average tally at the moment – although a win at Luton when we return after the break will put us bang on target. Keep that up throughout the rest of the season and we’ll be watching Premier League footy next season folks!
We are still nowhere near our best but with the prospect of a rested and fit Hernandez back and Tyler Roberts showing us what a player we’ve missed through his various injuries, the immediate future looks bright, orange even, with that trip to Luton.
Leeds Utd Blackburn R
Possession 68% 32%
Shots 15 4
On Target 4 1
Corners 4 5
Fouls Committed 9 12