Leeds United 0 Blackburn 2: Evans’s home bow ruined inside seventeen seconds

Leeds United's Sol Bamba is unable to turn the ball into Blackburn Rovers' net after Tom Adeyemi's header had hit the woodwork (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).
Leeds United's Sol Bamba is unable to turn the ball into Blackburn Rovers' net after Tom Adeyemi's header had hit the woodwork (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).
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These are distressing times to be a Leeds United supporter, as yet another sorry chapter in a season that is shaping up to be a shocker was written on Thursday night.

Having already set a new club record for home games without a home win in their last outing in LS11 a little under two weeks previously, United contrived to plumb new depths.

They fell behind inside 17 seconds and then conceded again just five minutes later.

Craig Conway netted the first and Jordan Rhodes the second, and it was the latter, the former Huddersfield Town striker’s eighth goal of the season, which triggered an angry reaction from the Leeds fans.

“What the **** is going on?” sang the Gelderd End in unison. “We’re s***, and we’re sick of it,” came the equally venomous reply from the other end of Elland Road.

Such a response was understandable.

Not only had the 19,666 crowd forsaken the chance to watch the game on Sky in the warmth of their own homes to traipse out on a cold night to support a team whose last victory at Elland Road had been 11 games ago.

But those early goals conceded by United had been laughably poor.

Insipid defending allowed Blackburn to roam forward at will before both Conway and Rhodes, in turn, were afforded sufficient time to pick their spot in Marco Silvestri’s net.

This abject start came after Leeds’s players had taken to the field ahead of kick-off to the playing of the D:Ream song Things Can Only Get Better that the 
Labour Party had adopted under Tony Blair ahead of the 1997 General Election.

Massimo Cellino is understood to have been behind the choice to mark new manager Steve Evans’s bow in the home dugout.

However, it was Rovers, whose previous triumph on the road before last night had coincidentally come 10 games ago at Elland Road, that lived up to the anthem’s message by capitalising on the generosity of the hosts.

First, Leeds were undone by the sort of kick-off usually seen in an Under-10s game as Blackburn were allowed to waltz forward with little or no opposition.

The ball was quickly worked to Ben Marshall, who sent over a cross from the right wing that Sol Bamba could only divert to the unmarked Conway and he did the rest from six yards.

It was the quickest goal United had conceded at home in 96 years and the fans looked as shell-shocked as those sporting white shirts on the field.

When Rovers doubled their advantage, however, the locals were much more willing to vent their displeasure.

Again, woeful defending was United’s undoing as Tom Lawrence was afforded the freedom of Leeds to pick out Rhodes and he finished smartly.

At that stage, a defeat on a par with sorry home episodes against Blackpool, Preston and Nottingham Forest looked a distinct possibility as Leeds wore the look of a boxer who has taken too many blows to the head.

Certainly, had the visitors been a more clinical outfit than Blackburn then the punch-drunk home side could have been waking up today to another five-, six- or even seven-goal humiliation.

As it was, no further damage was forthcoming as Leeds belatedly discovered a backbone.

Mirco Antenucci fired narrowly wide following a flick from Stuart Dallas and then Tom Adeyemi headed against a post after stretching to reach Luke Murphy’s free-kick as United ended the first half on the front foot.

This being Leeds, of course, there was always a chance that they would soon shoot themselves in that very same foot and Conway should have taken advantage of more woeful defending on the hour.

As the game meandered towards a close, chants of “Massimo, time to go” and “We’re Leeds United, we’ve all had enough” underlined the levels of disaffection with owner Cellino as a 12th game at Elland Road came and went without the slightest hint of that elusive home win.

Leeds United: Silvestri; Byram, Bamba, Cooper, Berardi; Dallas, Adeyemi (Botaka 51), Murphy, Cook (Mowatt 85); Antenucci, Wood (Doukara 68). Unused substitutes: Horton, Bellusci, Wootton, Buckley.

Blackburn Rovers:Steele; Marshall, Duffy, Hanley (Kilgallon 75), Olsson; Taylor (O’Sullivan 88), Akpan, Evans, Conway; Lawrence (Delfouneso 84); Rhodes. Unused substitutes: Henley, Spurr, Williamson, Raya.

Referee: T Robinson (West Sussex).