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Match Reports

Match Report : 01/01/2014

1 January 2014

Leeds United 1 Rovers 2

Rovers kicked off 2014 with a worthy 2-1 away win over Leeds United at Elland Road.

In a first half in which the hosts had no answer, Rovers roared into a 2-0 first half lead thanks to a 16th of the season from Jordan Rhodes, and a first for Rudy Gestede.

It could have been more as DJ Campbell saw a shot cleared off the line and Gestede was denied a certain penalty kick.

A mistake at the back from Tommy Spurr allowed the hosts to gain a lifeline early in the second half as Matt Smith swept home, however Rovers soon settled back into their rhythm. Campbell seeing appeals for a penalty waved away, whilst Grant Hanley saw a header, and Tommy Spurr an overhead kick, both cleared off the line.

Both sides struck the woodwork, Mowatt for Leeds and Rhodes for Rovers, but it was Bowyer's boys who saw the game out comfortably to claim another win on their travels, and their first league double of the season.

In response to Sunday's defeat to Birmingham City, Rovers made three changes for the New Years Day clash with Chris Taylor, Rudy Gestede and DJ Campbell all coming into the starting eleven.

Jason Lowe missed out through suspension, Adam Henley was rested, whilst Ruben Rochina dropped the bench.

The substitute's bench also saw 16-year-old Connor Mahoney, who was signed from Accrington Stanley last month, named for the first time.

In wet and wild conditions Rovers started with a 4-3-3 formation, Ben Marshall at right back, a midfield three of Williamson, Taylor and Cairney. Gestede, Rhodes and Campbell up front.

The game was slow to get going but once it did, it was the visitors who dominated.

An 11th minute corner gave an indication of Rovers' threat when Grant Hanley headed over Tom Cairney's centre.

Two minutes later the net was bulging and it was no surprise as to the goalscorer. As Rovers worked the ball well through the centre of midfield, Tom Cairney threaded the ball through for Jordan Rhodes to fire low into the back of the net for his 16th goal of the season.

Leeds United looked for a quick response, Alex Mowatt shooting from the edge of the box, but his left-footed strike was comfortably saved.

A lovely run from Ben Marshall saw his shot deflect into the side-netting, before Rhodes fed DJ Campbell, but whilst his shot squirmed under Paddy Kenny, Tom Lees somehow stopped the ball from crossing the goal line.

Rovers continued to force the pace, the high line operated by Campbell, Rhodes and Gestede pushing the hosts back, eventually that pressure told with a deserved second goal for the Lancastrians.

Grant Hanley had gone close with one Cairney corner, but as a second was sent over Rudy Gestede rose highest to power the ball into the back of the net for his first goal in Rovers colours.

Chris Taylor saw a shot well saved by Kenny before there was time for more drama at the end of the first half.

Cairney's slide-rule pass picked out Gestede through on goal but despite appearing to be taken down from behind, referee Anthony Taylor waved away vociferous appeals.

After such a strong first half, the second half started so disappointingly with Rovers once again to blame for conceding a goal.

Tommy Spurr, instead of dealing with the ball, tried to usher it back to Simon Eastwood, however Sam Byram nipped in and squared the ball for Matt Smith to slide home into the empty net.

Cairney fired over on the half volley, whilst an attempted lob from Rhodes flashed wide of goal. Then from a Cairney free-kick Grant Hanley saw his goalbound header cleared off the line by Matt Smith.

Tempers threatened to boil over when Leeds striker Ross McCormack failed to give the ball back to Rovers after play was stopped. McCormack and Scott Dann booked for the ensuing skirmish.

That raised the noise from the crowd further as the home fans urged their side to get back on level terms.

However it was Rovers threatening again, but as with the first half they were ignored what seemed a perfectly good penalty shout as DJ Campbell seized upon a bad back pass only to be tripped in the area.

Ben Marshall saw a shot saved after cutting in from the right, before a Tommy Spurr overhead kick almost saw Rhodes pounce but Leeds defended well.

Leeds responded, Smith with a shot that deflected perfectly into the path of Alex Mowatt but his shot slammed off the top of the post.

Rovers then rattled the woodwork themselves, Tommy Spurr swinging over an excellent cross that was met by a rising Rhodes, but his looping header bounced off the top of the bar.

The steam appeared to go out of the game in the closing stages, Rovers, particularly Ben Marshall, Tom Cairney and substitute Josh King, were intelligent when in possession, and closed the game out comfortably to claim all three points.

Next up for Rovers - just the small matter of Manchester City at Ewood this Saturday in the FA Cup.

LEEDS: Kenny, Lees (sub Poleon 77 mins), Pearce, Murphy (sub Ariyibi 46 mins), Austin (c), Pugh, Smith, Zaliukas, Byram, Mowatt (sub Brown 88 mins), McCormack.

Subs not used: Cairns (GK), Peltier, Varney, Wootton.

Goals: Smith 53 mins.

Booked: McCormack, Austin, Zaliukas, Brown.

ROVERS: Eastwood, Marshall, Dann (c), Hanley, Spurr, Taylor, Williamson, Cairney, Campbell (sub King 65 mins), Rhodes, Gestede.

Subs not used: Kean (GK), Kilgallon, Songo'o, Rochina, Judge, Mahoney.

Goals: Rhodes 13 minutes, Gestede 36 mins.

Booked: Dann.

Attendance: 30,145 (1010 Rovers fans)

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