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Match Report


Posted Sat 22 Nov 14 at 17:00 PM

Report: Rovers 2 Leeds United 1

A second half brace from Jordan Rhodes saw ten-man Rovers come from behind to claim victory in dramatic fashion at Ewood Park.

The striker took his tally for the season to seven as Rovers rallied to stretch their unbeaten run to eight matches.

A bright start saw Tom Cairney strike the crossbar for the home side, whilst they were grateful for a stunning fingertip save from Jason Steele to keep an effort from Adryan out.

However it was the visitors who grabbed the first goal to lead at the break, Souleymane Doukara squeezing the ball home after Rovers failed to clear a corner kick.

Kicking towards the Blackburn End in the second half Rovers came out with renewed enthusiasm, eventually drawing level on 71 minutes - albeit in fortunate circumstances.

As Liam Cooper and Marco Silvestri got in each others way, Jordan Rhodes took full advantage, rolling the ball into an empty net as defender and goalkeeper both failed to clear under pressure from the striker.

However Leeds almost hit back, striking the woodwork themselves, another expectional Steele save ensuring Mirko Antenucci's effort only struck the post as the visitors hit Rovers on the break.

Any chance of Rovers claiming a winner then seemed to be over when Tom Cairney saw red for a second bookable offence, however former Leeds forward Luke Varney would come back to haunt his previous club as he won an 88th minute penalty after being felled by Sam Byram in the box.

As almost 21,500 fans watched on, Jordan Rhodes was the coolest man in Ewood Park as he stepped up and stroked the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

An additional five minutes added to the drama, but the Rovers players put their bodies on the line when it counted to ensure a third successive home win and a place in the top six.

Rovers made just the one change from the side that drew away at Brighton a fortnight ago.

Jordan Rhodes, who was rested for the match against the Seagulls, returned to take his place in the starting line-up alongside Rudy Gestede as Rovers switched back to their familiar 4-4-2 formation

Ryan Tunnicliffe was the man to make way as the midfielder dropped to the bench.

Leeds boss Neil Redfearn named an unchanged following their win over Blackpool last time out. A starting eleven that included former Rover Stephen Warnock.

It was Rovers with the early attacking impetus, Ben Marshall tormenting the Leeds defence with several runs down the flank, before twice going close with shots from distance.

Yet it was Rovers goalkeeper Jason Steele who was first called into action on 11 minutes, racing out to claim at the feet of Adryan as the Leeds attacker looked to break through.

Rovers responded and struck the woodwork soon afterwards. Marshall's centre caused chaos in the box before the ball came out to Tom Cairney who struck well only to unfortunately see his curling effort clip the top of the crossbar.

Leeds stopper Marco Silvestri kept Marshall at bay after the Rovers player superbly took the ball down before clipping it over Sam Byram. Marshall shot low, Silvestri saved, with Stephen Warnock on hand to clear it ahead of the onrushing Rudy Gestede.

As the half wore on it was the visitors who grew more into the game, pushing Rovers back.

They served notice on 32 minutes with Steele required to pull off a stunning fingertip save. After playing a one-two Adryan let fly with a 25-yard effort that seemed to be heading for the top corner until the timely intervention from the Rovers keeper sent the ball around the post.

Whilst the resulting corner kick was cleared, from a second kick Leeds would take the lead.

Adryan sent the ball in from the left, and whilst Rovers cleared the initial danger, the ball came out to Souleymane Doukara and he squeezed the ball home past bodies on the line for the Frenchman's seventh of the season.

Rovers tried to respond before half-time, but not for the first time this season, the home side went in at the break trailing.

It was a fast and furious as play resumed. Rovers, looking for a leveller, saw Jordan Rhodes and Grant Hanley just fail to force their way through, whilst at the other end Alex Mowatt curled a shot from distance beyond Steele's far post.

On the hour mark Rovers went close through Rhodes. Marshall sent a free-kick into the box from the half way line, Gestede flicked on to Rhodes but his near-post volley was turned behind by Silvestri.

Rhodes then teed up an unmarked Gestede for an attempt at goal himself, but despite having time to control the centre from his strike-partner on his chest, the Benin international lashed his volleyed effort across goal and wide.

On 71 minutes the two would combine and on this occasion it would result in a goal, albeit in fortunate circumstances.

With space opening up at the back, Gestede hooked the ball goalwards, Rhodes gave chase only for Leeds defender Liam Cooper and goalkeeper Marco Silvestri to get in each others way leaving Rhodes with the simple task of walking the ball into the empty net much to the delight of the home fans.

Rovers went in search of a winner, Grant Hanley headed over a Cairney corner, whilst Luke Varney, on for Rudy Gestede, glanced an Olsson cross just wide.

Leeds didn't threaten too much in the second half but eleven minutes from time they were the width of the post from regaining the lead. Breaking from a Rovers attack, Mirko Antenucci slamming a low shot against the woodwork. Replays showing Rovers keeper Steele getting a vital touch to turn it onto the post.

Rovers' task then got tougher as Cairney saw red for his second booking of the game. The midfielder almost stealing the ball off Cooper but instead the former Leeds trainee caught the defender for a yellow followed by the inevitable red.

But despite being a man shy it was Rovers who would go on to get the decisive winner and it was perhaps inevitable that former Leeds man Luke Varney would play a pivotal role.

Pressed into a left wing role following Cairney's red, Varney attacked the space afforded by the Leeds defence before being upended in the area by full back Sam Byram, referee Kevin Wright blew his whistle and pointed to the spot.

As almost 21,500 supporters inside Ewood Park watched on, Jordan Rhodes was as cool as you like as he made no mistake from 12-yards. Stroking the ball into the bottom left corner of the net with Silvestri diving in the opposite direction.

As chants of 'Gary Bowyer's Blue and White Army' echoed around the ground, Rovers still had work to do, with five additional minutes to play after the 90.

But with centre-halves Grant Hanley and Shane Duffy winning everything in the air and the tireless effort from the likes of Marshall, Rhodes and Varney, Rovers saw out the remaining minutes to claim a third successive home win to maintain their assault towards the top of the table.

ROVERS: Steele, Baptiste, Hanley (c), Duffy, Olsson, Cairney, Evans (sub Taylor 89 mins), Williamson (sub Tunnicliffe 65 mins), Marshall, Rhodes, Gestede (sub Varney 74 mins).

Subs not used: Eastwood (GK), Henley, Dunn, Conway.

Goals: Rhodes 71, 88 (pen) mins.

Booked: Cairney, Duffy.

Off: Cairney.

LEEDS: Silvestri, Byram, Warnock, Pearce (c), Adryan, Bianchi (sub Bellusci 77 mins), Cook (sub Sharp 89 mins), Mowatt, Doukara, Cooper, Antenucci.

Subs not used: Taylor (GK), Austin, Berardi, Tonge, Dawson.

Goals: Doukara 33 mins.

Booked: Adryan, Warnock

Attendance: 21,432 (including 6839 visiting supporters)

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