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Match Report

 

Posted Thu 21 Jun 12 at 20:15 PM

Leeds United 3 Rovers 3

Rovers were thankful to Ruben Rochina after his cheeky back-heel maintained their unbeaten start to the season.

The second half substitute grabbed an equaliser six minutes from time after Rovers had thrown away a two-goal first half lead.

Steve Kean's side started like a train as Leeds had no answer as Rovers raced into a comfortable two-goal lead courtesy of strikes by Markus Olsson and Nuno Gomes.

But El-Hadji Diouf gave the home side hope just before the break and built on that with second half goals from Ross McCormack and Luciano Becchio to turn the match around.

It looked like Rovers were set for their first defeat of the season but up popped Rochina to earn a point when they seemed destined for three.


Steve Kean made two changes from the side that defeated Leicester City in the league last time out.

Record signing Jordan Rhodes was given his first start following his £8m move from Huddersfield Town whilst Mauro Formica returned to the right of midfield.

That meant Edinho and Jason Lowe dropped to the bench.

In the Yorkshire sunshine Rovers were quickly into their stride creating a host of chances in the early exchanges.

On five minutes a Morten Gamst Pedersen cross intended for Jordan Rhodes was cleared only as far as Nuno Gomes but whilst he struck the ball on the volley he dragged his effort wide.

Rovers continued to press and two minutes later they had a great chance to open their account. As Mauro Formica attacked down the right he found Nuno Gomes in advance, the ball was squared back to Pedersen who hit the ball first time from the edge of the box but it was straight at Paddy Kenny.

At the other end Rovers had problems of their own as both Scott Dann and Gael Givet went down through injury. Dann was unable to continue, Grant Hanley on to replace the central defender. Givet battled on.

Nuno Gomes tested Rovers further with a long-range shot that Kenny did well to save and the bright start finally registered a deserved goal for Rovers on 19 minutes.

As the visitors brought the ball out of defence through Bruno Ribeiro it was fed to Morten Gamst Pedersen who looked up and played in Markus Olsson round the back and he raced through on goal. The Swede had options of Nuno Gomes and Jordan Rhodes in the centre but didn't need them as he drilled the ball hard and low into the opposite corner of the goal.

It was a great way to score your first goal for the club.

Rovers didn't rest on their laurels and it wasn't long until a second goal was registered. 

Morten Gamst Pedersen had earlier struck the crossbar with a corner and he play his part once more as he fed Olsson down the left, this time the Swede chose to pass and Nuno Gomes did the rest, sweeping the ball past Paddy Kenny for his second of the season.

Rovers were comfortable, Leeds had rarely threatened, but in the final five minutes of the half the home side rallied and grabbed an undeserved goal to reduce the deficit.

A Ross McCormack free-kick from the left wasn't dealt with and as the ball came back into the box Paul Robinson couldn't claim the ball under pressure from Luciano Becchio and former El-Hadji Diouf forced the ball home from close-range. The Rovers defenders appealing in vain as Becchio appeared to be offside.

On 43 Diouf almost registered his second when he got his head on the end of a centre but former Leeds United 'keeper Paul Robinson pulled off a stunning one-handed save to deny the Senegal man.

It was a lively end to the first half, one that Rovers had dominated for long periods.


Unfortunately for all those connected with Rovers the second half didn't mirror the opening one as the home side built on their first half ending.

Ten minutes after the turnaround and Leeds United were back on level terms, although like the first goal it wasn't without controversy.

A hopeful ball forward from Drury saw Givet pushed in the back and that allowed the ball to run through for Ross McCormack and he emphatically finished past Robinson. All of Rovers' hard work from the first half was undone.

It would then get worse for Rovers as Luciano Becchio nodded the home side in front on 65 minutes. A half cleared free-kick was put back into the area by Diouf and the Leeds frontman headed home at the back post despite the best efforts of Robinson.

Rovers were struggling, they couldn't get our of their half, their only second half efforts had been a Nuno gomes shot that had flown narrowly over the bar and a Danny Murphy shot that was inches wide, but with six minutes to go they grabbed a leveller out of nothing.

It came from a Morten Gamst Pedersen corner in from the left, Grant Hanley won the first header and as the ball fell to Ruben Rochina with his back to goal he cheekily back-heeled it through the legs of the defenders and into the back of the net.

The drama didn't end there as the game entered five additional minutes, Ross McCormack saw a shot blocked by Hanley as the ball ricocheted around the box, then a flowing move saw Dickson Etuhu race through but he fired narrowly over.

Leeds almost won it at the death in ridiculous circumstances. There seemed little danger as the ball came to Gael Givet but his clearance smacked the face of fellow defender Grant Hanley and the ball fell perfectly for El-Hadji Diouf, but the former Rover took too long to settle allowing Markus Olsson to challenge forcing Diouf to lash over with the goal at his mercy.

Rovers should have been long gone after an impressive 40 minutes, but by the full time whistle they were grateful for the point.

LEEDS UNITED: Kenny, Peltier (c), Drury, Lees, Pearce, Austin, Becchio, Varney (sub Byram 90 mins), Norris, Diouf, McCormack.

Subs not used: Ashdown (GK), Kisnorbo, White, Brown, Gray, Poleon.

Goals: El-Hadji Diouf 41 mins, McCormack 56 mins, Becchio 65 mins.

Booked: Drury, Varney.

ROVERS: Robinson, Ribeiro, Dann (sub Hanley 10 mins), Givet, Markus Olsson, Formica (sub Lowe 55 mins), Murphy (c), Etuhu, Pedersen, Nuno Gomes (sub Rochina 75 mins), Rhodes.

Subs not used: Kean (GK), Orr, Paulo Jorge, Edinho.

Goals: Markus Olsson 19 mins, Nuno Gomes 27 mins, Rochina 84 mins.

Booked: Formica, Hanley, Etuhu.

Attendance: 24,411

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