Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s 2-1 victory over Blackburn.
Incredibly, after the battering by Brighton, Leeds made it three wins in a row with a fine 2-1 victory at Blackburn Rovers, Sol Bamba and man of the moment Mirco Antenucci with the goals – that’s four in three games for the Italian.
Football is a strange game but the last seven days have left me bemused. I just didn’t see it coming to be honest.
Chris Wood featured in a Leeds United matchday squad for the first time since January, Luke Murphy, who in my opinion did nothing wrong against Cardiff on Tuesday, was dropped to the bench with Toumani Diagarada replacing him in the starting XI. Eric Grimes replaced Bailey Peacock-Farrell, who was ill, so Leeds had an attacking looking bench to boot.
The game was played on a poor surface and the ball moving smoothly wasn’t going to happen, so passes would have to be of the first order, something that even in good games Leeds have struggled to do at times.
Liam Bridcutt fired an early shot wide of the post before Graham forced the first save of the game, his effort dealt with by Marco Silvestri. Watt then found his way behind the Leeds defence but found Gaetano Berardi in his way and the chance was gone.
Alex Mowatt’s free-kick brought the best out of Steele to deny the youngster a goal, and Graham was thwarted by Silvestri as the young keeper denied the striker just before Leeds scored on 34 minutes. Mowatt’s corner was blasted past Steele from six yards by Sol Bamba.
Leeds didn’t rest on their laurels in the second half and were soon testing the Blackburn back line, Antenucci and Souleymane Doukara were involved in a lovely move that was saved, but when you’re in the form that the Italian is in, another chance is bound to come along. Mowatt found the Leeds number seven and, as he did in the dying embers of the Cardiff game, he ghosted past challenges and finished superbly.
That should have been it, but after Chris Wood’s introduction as a late substitute for Doukara, Blackburn found their last head of steam and it ended with a corner falling to Rovers substitute Jackson, who netted. Nearly nine minutes of injury time was played but Leeds hung on for a deserved victory.
Credit where credit is due, Steve Evans got his selection ‘on the money’ as they say and the win moved Leeds to the heady heights of 12th in the Championship. It made a poorly supporter a lot happier!
Man of the match: Mirco Antenucci.
United made it three wins on the bounce for the first time in 13 months with a hugely impressive victory over in-form hosts Blackburn Rovers.
Coach Steve Evans went for steel over style, replacing Luke Murphy with Toumani Diagouraga from the starting line up which beat Cardiff in midweek, with striker Chris Wood retuning to the bench.
The game started at a lively pace with plenty of action at both ends and Alex Mowatt forced a superb save from the home keeper from a trademark free-kick.
Ten minutes before half-time the Whites made the breakthrough through two unlikely sources – a corner and Sol Bamba. The United captain despatched a fine volley to put United one goal to the good.
The second half saw the Whites play some of their most controlled and organised football of the entire season and their workrate, desire and attitude were simply first class. The visitors had no answer and, on 69 minutes, Mirco Antenucci doubled United’s advantage with an ice-cool finish to send the loyal horde of 3,344 into raptures.
Slack marking at a corner allowed the home side to score with a minute of normal time remaining, and allow for the customary nerve-wracking ending, including almost 10 minutes of added time.
Man of the match: Souleymane Doukara.
DAVID WATKINS First ‘three in a row’ for over a year! For 80 odd minutes this was as comfortable a Leeds game as I can remember and it pretty much followed the template set at Cardiff with a first-half goal and then a break away second from Antenucci. We all knew though that if Rovers got one at any point thereafter it would get nervy and boy did it get nervy in those final added minutes…I thought our mate Keith Stroud was just going to keep going until they got the equaliser!
Hard to come up with a MOTM for this one as everyone did their bit and once again we showed that the harder we work, the luckier we get. It’s worth pointing out that this Blackburn side looked very weak but that takes nothing away from an almost perfect Leeds performance and another classy finish from Antenucci.
Man of the match: Sol Bamba.
Another three points and our league position is starting to look much healthier. I can’t help think what could have been with a bit more focus, preparation and stability off the field.
Much of Saturday’s win was thanks to the defence, the same defence that has taken a lot of criticism over the course of the campaign. Although Mirco Antenucci has now found form in front of goal, our attacks are mostly laboured and it has been left to our rearguard to keep us in a lot of games.
Berardi, Bamba, Bellusci, Taylor is probably our best back four and, with Bridcutt and Diagouraga in front, it’s a solid base to work from for next year if someone so desires.
Man of the match: Charlie Taylor.
What a difference a week makes. Three games, three wins, nine points and the capitulation at Brighton seems a lifetime ago.
Alas it’s too little too late for a Leeds United team which seems to have immense difficulty in setting long-term plans. When Uwe Rosler stated that his aim was to finish in the top 10 he was dismissed as being too negative. Now entering the home straight of the campaign, that has been set as a realistic target to aim for.
Steve Evans side have shown in the last seven days what a difference a bit of consistency can make. From looking over our shoulders at relegation, the most optimistic of fans are looking upwards and calculating if the maximum point haul of 77 would be enough to get us into the play-offs.
The win was as comfortable as one can expect as a Leeds fan. United had opened up a comfortable two-goal cushion through Sol Bamba and Mirco Antenucci before conceding a late goal and being forced to hang on through an interminable period of injury time.
Man of the Match: Giuseppe Bellusci.
Another fantastic win! The two goals were took superbly and, for most of the game, we were in control. Blackburn have been doing okay recently so to go there and win is fantastic. If we keep winning games, you never know what can happen.
Man of the match: Liam Bridcutt.