Leeds United avoid more late drama against Blackburn Rovers and they will be grateful for that

Elland Road
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NO LATE dramas this time around and Leeds United will have been grateful after making overly heavy weather of a 2-1 Roses win over Blackburn Rovers.

What should have been a comfortable win against modest opponents proved somewhat nervy late on as Leeds laboured in their efforts to secure a two-goal cushion to seal victory in an off-colour second-half, but in the final analysis a fourth successive home win provided the succour.


It was a day notable for Patrick Bamford rediscovering the goals trail by ending his 11 game scoring drought with a penalty to open the scoring on the half-hour before a nicely taken second five minutes later from Jack Harrison -who netted in a home win for the second successive win - hinted at a stroll for Leeds.

A header from Derrick Williams before the interval forged a way back for Rovers, with Leeds frustrating in their efforts to get a third on the resumption, but two was enough.

It took Leeds a while to warm up until they were aided by an obliging gift from Adarabioyo, but after that, there was plenty of evidence to suggest that the hosts could finally shred their reputation of lacking a clinical edge if they maintained the pressure on Rovers' flaky rearguard.

During his managerial career, many of Tony Mowbray's sides have been fairly easy on the eye, but have lacked defensive aptitude on occasions and there was more evidence of that on show at Elland Road as Blackburn displayed classic traits of a side who will always give you a chance.


It yielded two goals for Leeds - with the discernible whiff of more to come in the second half as the hosts prepared to attack in front of the Gelderd End - although there was one development that was unwanted and uncharacteristic.

Iron-like in their defensive responsibilities on home soil this term, Leeds momentarily switched off to give Rovers a lifeline five minutes before the break when Derrick Williams got the run on his markers before dispatching a firm header past Kiko Casilla following an expert outswinging corner from Stewart Downing.

It was the Lancastrians' sole moment of threat in the first half - a half which saw Leeds concede a league goal on home soil in the opening 45 minutes for the first time this season.

Leeds, all pretty angles and brimful of spacial awareness with a duty of care in possession - which they again monopolised - only had a couple of wayward drives from Stuart Dallas to count on in the opening 25 minutes but still Blackburn's rearguard looked somewhat unconvincing when any questions were asked.

They erred on the half-hour when the panicking Tosin Abarabioyo - who had a torrid night earlier this year at Elland Road in the colours of West Brom when they were mauled 4-0 on March 1 - needlessly caught the buccaneering Luke Ayling in the box following a lovely lofted pass from Tyler Roberts.

Bamford coolly converted the spot-kick and Leeds soon doubled their money with a quality second when an instinctive and highly clever flick from Bamford found the untracked Harrison, who steered the ball home low past Walton, with his effort creeping into the net after hitting the post.

Leeds looked intent on filling their boots, only for Williams's header to provide them with a touch of food of thought at the interval.

A quiet start to the second half - aside from a drive from Harrison which flew over - suited Blackburn more than the hosts, assigned with sealing the deal early to further harden their promotion credentials.

Harrison, again lively and asking a question or two, saw a shot blocked by Lewis Holtby as Leeds sought a relieving third to see out the game in relative comfort.

A blow arrived 18 minutes from time, with Liam Cooper, clearly in discomfort and only recently back from a groin issue, hobbled off with Gaetano Berardi entering the fray.

Next, it was Pablo Hernandez's turn to come on, with the Spaniard afforded rapturous applause from home supporters.

Leeds went close in the final ten minutes with Bamford and Roberts linking up to tee up Harrison, whose angled shot whistled just wide before Roberts testing the reactions of Christian Walton with a stinging low drive.

Leeds United: Casilla; Ayling, White, Cooper (Berardi 72), Dallas, Phillips, Klich; Costa (Hernandez 80), Roberts, Harrison (Davis 90); Bamford. Substitutes unused: Meslier, Douglas, Gotts, Clarke.

Blackburn Rovers: Walton; Bennett, Nyambe, Adarabioyo, Williams; Travis, Holtby (Buckley 69); Armstrong (Graham 60), Dack, Downing; Gallagher (Evans 69). Substitutes unused: Leutwiler, Bell, Johnson, Rothwell.

Referee: G Ward (Surrey).

Attendance: 35,567.