Leeds entertained Blackpool on a rainy Wednesday evening at Elland Road. The seaside club travelled to West Yorkshire on the back of a 3-1 defeat away to Burnley where as United were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Cardiff. There was one change to the starting 11 for Leeds as Patrick Kisnorbo was recalled in place of the injured Darren O'Dea as the Whites looked to pick up their first win since beating Peterborough at London Road.
There was little to talk about during the opening exchanges, however, the tangerines were keeping the ball well and looked dangerous. The first real chance went to Leeds though when Patrick Kisnorbo found himself on the end of a Robert Snodgrass free kick. Unfortunately for the Australian, his two attempts were both repelled by the Blackpool defence.
United would live to regret that golden opportunity, particularly when seconds later, former Newcastle and Portsmouth striker Lomana LuaLua fired the visitors in front. A poor pass from Paul Connolly resulted in Jonjo Shelvey being played through and his shot was palmed straight to LuaLua by Paul Rachubka in the United goal.
It wasn't long before the seaside club found themselves 2-0 up after Paul Rachubka made a mistake that will be seen unforgivable to many United fans. A cross was delivered from the right, Rachubka couldn't hold onto it and a shot was fired in from the surprised Blackpool front man. United youngster Tom Lees did what Rachubka didn't and stopped the ball from going in the net with his hand. Paul Rachubka's mistake had technically got Lees sent off and Shelvey's converted penalty meant that United were 2-0 down and also a man down. Simon Grayson and Rachubka were having a terrible time against their former club and it was the man on loan from Liverpool, Shelvey, who was celebrating once again shortly after when he notched his second. It was yet another parry from Paul Rachubka which fell to Shelvey and he had no problem in rounding the former Blackpool 'shot stopper' and slotting the ball into the net.
It was the worst i can remember a United keeper playing in my 15 years as a season ticket holder but my anger at Rachubka soon turned to sympathy when the Kop were booing his every touch. He is only a human being after all and he will be a broken man tonight.
The half time whistle was met by a chorus of boos and United's recent 7 game unbeaten run had been forgotten. The start of the second period saw two changes for the Whites as Rachubka was replaced by Alex Cairns, the 18 year old coming on for his United debut, and Luciano Becchio was brought on to replace Andy Keogh. To United's credit they rallied at the start of the second half and they even managed to create a few opportunities. Howson shot wide when he perhaps should of done better while Adam Clayton was sent through on goal, only to see the on rushing keeper Matt Gilks come on out to deny him.
The space the extra man created for Blackpool meant that Leeds were unable to maintain their pressure and the visitors began to create chances again. Shortly after Ian Evatt had headed over the bar, it was 4 when LuaLua beat Paul Connolly before firing past rookie Cairns for his second goal of the game. There was still 25 minutes on the clock and time for Blackpool to score their fifth on the Elland Road turf. It was Jonjo Shelvey who completed his hat trick by slotting the ball past Alex Cairns. Youngster Cairns did make some good saves, which will have done no harm whatsoever to his confidence.
The majority of Leeds fans did stay with their team right until the end and have since been praised by Blackpool boss Ian Holloway on what was one of the worst nights at Elland Road for as long as I can remember. I can remember the likes of Stoke and Cardiff beating us 4-0 on our own turf but to lose 5-0 to Blackpool is a new one for me. Where Leeds go from here is anyone's guess but it's something Grayson has to work out in time for Sunday when Leeds travel to the Walkers stadium to face Leicester.
United: Rachubka (Cairns 46), Connolly, Lees, Kisnorbo, White, Snodgrass, Howson, Clayton (Vayrynen 71), Pugh, McCormack, Keogh (Becchio 46). Subs: O'Brien, Sam.
Blackpool: Gilks, Baptiste, Cathcart, Crainey, Evatt, Southern (Angel 72), Ferguson, Shelvey, McManaman (Ince 76), Lua Lua (Bogdanovic 76), Sylvestre. Subs: Eardley, Phillips.