Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s 2-1 defeat at Blackburn Rovers
As hard as it is to believe, there was a bigger dive in Blackburn than the one that saw Luke Varney steal three points from Leeds United, and it was in the roughest pub I have ever had the misfortune to drink in that I contemplated one of the most baffling defeats in our modern history.
Roared on by almost 7,000 fans, Leeds United for 90 per cent of the game looked in absolute control against one of the “better” sides in the division, if there is such a thing in this crazy league. Calm in possession, assured at the back and looking dangerous on the break, Neil Redfearn’s young side were, thanks to Soulemayne Doukara’s bundled opening goal, on the brink of the perfect away performance.
Leeds though somehow contrived to throw away all three points in a second-half performance that verged from the sublime to the ridiculous and ended in downright heartbreak.
First was the ridiculous as Marco Silvestri for the second time in consecutive away games decided that he would get involved in dealing with an aimless punt upfield, with the same catastrophic consequences. Liam Cooper, who produced another quality performance at the heart of the United defence, had things under control until Silvestri appeared at the edge of the box to collect the ball, only for the goalkeeper to kick the ball against his team-mate allowing Jordan Rhodes the simplest goal of his career.
That goal capped a period of Blackburn pressure, but conceding the equaliser saw Leeds reassert their authority on the game and they were desperately unlucky not to go back in front through Mirco Antenucci. A superb through ball by Adryan sent the striker away but his shot came back off the post.
Then it was Luke Varney, not the travelling fans favourite player, who provided the final kick in the teeth. Chasing a ball into the area he was closed down by Sam Byram, and decided to take off in a vain attempt to con the referee. From a 120 yards away and directly behind the incident, it was as clear as the gap between the two players that Varney had dived, yet to the astonishment of everyone in the ground, the ref pointed to the spot, Rhodes calmly slotting home an ill-deserved winner. It is worrying that Leeds are throwing away points in such a fashion, and the needless concession of goals is going to leave a side, which at times look punchless in attack, in danger of being dragged into a relegation scrap. United look far too good to go down, but the run up to Christmas offers no easy games, and the Whites need to knuckle down and stop the stupid mistakes if things are not to get messy in 2015.
Man of the match: Adryan.
That’s one win in 10 games as Leeds surrendered a 1-0 half-time lead.
Pantomime defending was again their undoing as Rovers scored two late goals to claim the three points.
Neil Redfearn kept the same side that was so impressive in the first 45 minutes against Blackpool. Backed by nearly 7,000 fans, Adyran had a couple of good efforts, and from the corner off one effort, Souleymane Doukara found space to send the away end into raptures. On balance Leeds deserved their half-time lead.
Rovers upped the tempo in the second half and another mix up in the Leeds defence – very much like what happened at Cardiff – gifted Rhodes the equaliser, defender and goalkeeper both made to look stupid by indecision.
Mirco Antenucci so nearly made it 2-1 but his effort shook the Blackburn goal frame. With less than 10 minutes to play ex-Leeds trainee Tom Cairney saw red after two yellow cards but despite their numerical advantage Leeds failed to make the man advantage count and after a dive by Luke Varney that Tom Daley would have been proud of, the referee gave a penalty that Rhodes despatched to win it for Rovers.
It was a game that Leeds should have won but if you gift teams goals you can’t be expected to win games.
I’m a very disappointed fan writing this.
Man of the match: The fans...who else?
It has been a while since United were so undeserving of defeat away from home but returning empty-handed from Ewood Park was scarcely believable after as good a performance as the side have put in anywhere this season.
The first half had great spells of Leeds passing and invention coupled with a very assured performance in defence. The players stayed on their feet and showed great discipline in making things difficult for Blackburn. Unfortunately, an unforgivable mix up between Cooper and Silvestri in the second half followed by an open show of diving by Luke Varney as he conned the referee for a penalty made Doukara’s first-half strike irrelevant.
Man of the match: Sam Byram.
United managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory after being ahead until 20 minutes from time at Ewood Park.
The Whites had been worthy of their lead but gifted the hosts an equaliser and lost out to a harsh penalty.
Man of the match: Stephen Warnock.
Another disappointing away day with the side being unable to perform for the whole 90 minutes.
It is like deja vu every week; going in satisfied at half-time then sitting deep, giving the ball away and putting ourselves under pressure in the second.
However, until the dreadful mistake, Blackburn didn’t threaten us. They had a lot of possession in our half but they couldn’t break us down and we didn’t look like conceding.
Redfearn should have taken Doukara off after an hour; his legs were totally gone and he offered us nothing for the last third. We really didn’t deserve to drop any points and I think that makes it a lot harder to take.
Man of the match: Liam Cooper.
Despite such a disappointing result, I thought there were plenty of positives. Firstly, we dominated the game, and one silly mistake and an awful refereeing decision has cost us a fantastic win in front of an amazing away following. A bitter pill to swallow.
Man of the match: Sam Byram.