Leeds United: Goal hero Roofe’s drought relief

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A relieved Kemar Roofe celebrated the end of his “curse” after his first Leeds United goal fired the club up to fourth in the Championship table.

A relieved Kemar Roofe celebrated the end of his “curse” after his first Leeds United goal fired the club up to fourth in the Championship table.

Kemar Roofe

Kemar Roofe

The forward emerged from a four-month drought to find the net on 68 minutes and inspire a 2-0 win over Aston Villa at Elland Road on Saturday.

The reigning League Two player of the year who scored 26 times for Oxford United last season and cost Leeds £3m in July admitted to feeling jinxed after the woodwork extended his run without a goal during last week’s League Cup quarter-final defeat at Liverpool.

But his moment finally came with a header from Souleymane Doukara’s cross and Leeds went on to seal a precious victory against Villa through an injury-time strike from Chris Wood, maintaining their compelling promotion bid.

“It was an amazing feeling,” Roofe said. “I thought I’d been cursed in front of goal but maybe it’s lifted now. The cross was brilliant. Doukara put it on a plate for me and all I needed to do was put my head on it.”

Leeds had struggled to get on top of Steve Bruce’s Villa for an hour but Roofe’s finish turned the match in their favour, edging United a place further up the table. Garry Monk’s squad were in the Championship’s bottom three in the second week of September but they climbed to fourth at full-time on Saturday and now head to second-placed Brighton on Friday night.

Brighton hold an automatic promotion spot with a seven-point advantage over Leeds.

Roofe said he could feel “something special” developing at Elland Road but having experienced promotion with Oxford last season, he admitted he was reluctant to pay attention to the make-up of the Championship.

“I’ve learned from when I was at Oxford not to look at the table until the end of the season,” he said. “But this is a massive win because Villa are a massive club. We had a few injuries as well. They smothered us and came with a game plan but we dug in and regrouped at half-time. We came out in the second half came and got the result.

“We deserved the win and it wasn’t smash-and-grab. We were the better team even though we weren’t at our best.

“We’re not getting too carried away and we’re just focusing on the performances, not the results. The secret to our success has been the work we put in on the training ground. The gaffer makes sure we put 100 per cent in. Sometimes the training sessions are harder than the games so when it comes to a game, we’re not surprised.”

Villa centre-back James Chester claimed Bruce’s side had been unlucky to lose Saturday’s fixture but he acknowledged United’s improvement under Monk, saying: “This is the best Leeds side they’ve had for a while and the most realistic chance they’ve had of gaining promotion from this division. A side as good as Leeds were always going to create chances and they took them.

“For 60 or 70 minutes we were probably the best team. Had we taken our chances we would have won the game.”

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