After the appalling show against Huddersfield, the negativity from within the Leeds family was understandably hard to avoid. However, on Tuesday night, we saw a different Leeds United. We saw a dominating and free-flowing side who passed the ball with an accuracy we hadn't seen so far this season, and we saw a squad bounce back from a late equaliser to win their first at Elland Road on the young season.
People may say 'it's the bottom of the league Blackburn Rovers' and we should be beating those teams at home. These people would have a point, but every game in the Championship is a difficult game and you can only beat the side put in front of you.
Leeds started the game well, moving the ball comfortably throughout the pitch and trying to break down a Blackburn side who were happy to sit back and soak up the Leeds pressure. However, a collision between Rob Green and Sam Gallagher resulted in a free-kick and an 8-minute break in play, in order for both men to receive treatment. After the game resumed, Blackburn had their first real chance after Marshall's free-kick hit the wall and Conway smashed the ball high into the stand.
13’ Back underway, Marshall and Conway take chances on the free kick and rebound, trying to restart the action. Still 0-0.— Through It All LIVE (@ThruItAllLIVE) September 13, 2016
For the remainder of the first half, Leeds were in control. In the 20th minute, Eunan O'Kane found some space 25 yards out but could only fire high and wide. He didn’t make an impact on the scoresheet on his debut, but he played well throughout and looks to be paired well with Liam Bridcutt in the Leeds midfield.
As the rain lashed down and the lightning lit up the South Leeds sky, Leeds pushed for the opening goal: on 34 minutes, Sacko crossed in from the right and found Dallas... whose header was straight at Steele in the Blackburn goal. In the 44th minute, Jansson (who was an absolute machine throughout) broke free and tried to play in Antonsson to no avail. It remained scoreless until halftime, but it was all Leeds.
Just before the break, Bridcutt picked up a knock and he looked like he was struggling as the half time whistle rang out at Elland Road. After the break, Blackburn had their best chance so far when Marshall should have hit the target after he got away from the injured Bridcutt. On the 48 mark Bridcutt’s first half injury caught up with him and he was replaced by Phillips.
While Leeds dominated with the ball in the first hour, they could not find the net. Hadi Sacko had a shot deflected just over the bar. Dallas and Antonsson saw chances saved by Steele. Nothing was going in, and the rain-soaked faithful were getting frustrated.
56’ Antonsson does better, takes a shot, puts it straight into Steele. Great control, well done, until… pic.twitter.com/l3IMujGgIL— Through It All LIVE (@ThruItAllLIVE) September 13, 2016
But then, on the hour mark, both teams made substitutes which would heavily impact the game. Leeds replaced Marcus Antonsson with Chris Wood, and Blackburn introduced Marvin Emnes for Danny Graham.
On 65 minutes came the breakthrough. After great work again by Hadi Sacko on the right, he beat his man and drove the ball through the box, leaving Wood with an easy tap in from 3 yards.
Elation, for the players who’d been working so hard and for the fans who dealt with the deluge to see it. But like so many good things at Leeds these days, it was not to last.
The goal seemed to revitalise Blackburn and after some nice play by Blackburn, Emnes was given the time and space to smash the ball past Green for 1-1, in a goal eerily similar to the one on Saturday against Huddersfield.
After 75 minutes of Leeds dominance, unbelievably Blackburn were now in ascendance and looked the most likely to score, and really should have. Leeds kept the score level only with a brilliant double save from Green to deny the men from across the Pennines.
The Whites then broke and, up the other end, after some determined play by Chris Wood got a free kick in a dangerous area, Alex Mowatt swung in a beautiful ball which was met by an unmarked Kyle Bartley who headed Leeds back into the lead in the 87th minute.
Blackburn did push for an equaliser in the 8+ minutes of extra time, but the Leeds defence, lead by Pontus Jansson’s repeated efforts, held their nerve for the first home win of the season.
90+4’ Corner for Blackburn… well defended by Jansson. Another corner, defended by Jansson. He’s a hero. Another, another from Jansson! Haha— Through It All LIVE (@ThruItAllLIVE) September 13, 2016
FT: 2-1 Leeds United finally win at home, topping lowly Blackburn on goals from Wood and Bartley. Hallefreakinlujah. pic.twitter.com/DDiyFo8wKB— Through It All LIVE (@ThruItAllLIVE) September 13, 2016
My man of the match was Pontus Jansson. The man was excellent, he gave everything to the cause. He looked confident (especially at corners). He was good on the front foot and not afraid to take the ball forward from the defence. He looked like a proper defender. And then he tweeted this...
When you give fucking everything, sooner or later you will get the result! #MOT— Pontus Jansson (@PJansson5) September 13, 2016
Overall, we were much better tonight and played nice football. The Championship is a marathon and after a slow start, we have showed tonight that maybe we are... slowly... finding our pace and rhythm. MOT