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Match Reports

Match Report : 04/04/2015

4 April 2015

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Report: Leeds United 0 Rovers 3

Rovers warmed up for their FA Cup replay against Liverpool with a commanding 3-0 away win over Leeds United at Elland Road.

Second half strikes from Tom Cairney, Jordan Rhodes and Jay Spearing helped Rovers stretch their unbeaten run on the road to six matches with a confident display.

The first half may have been goalless but it was Rovers with the best chances, Rhodes striking the woodwork and firing narrowly wide on the volley.

Debutant David Raya made a smart save to stop a Sam Byram volley deflecting in off Matt Kilgallon, but it was Rodolph Austin who would have the home side's best opportunity with a header, but before the break the midfielder saw red for an off the ball challenge on Ben Marshall.

With a man to the good Rovers took full advantage in the second half, Cairney putting the visitors in front just past the hour mark after good work from Gestede, who sadly limped off moments later with a hamstring strain.

His replacement Chris Brown then set up Rhodes to put Rovers fully in control. But Brown himself picked up a similar injury.

Marshall, who had earlier struck the bar with a sweet shot, then teed up Spearing for a third, and it should have been more as Rhodes hit the post late on.

The win means a third consecutive triumph on their travels, with all now looking forward to Wednesday's Ewood cup clash.

Gary Bowyer sprang something of a surprise when the team-sheets went in an hour before kick-off by handing a first-team debut to young goalkeeper David Raya.

The 19-year-old stopper was one of three changes for Rovers as Rudy Gestede and Lee Williamson also returned.

The Rovers defence ensured there were no early tests at the back for Raya as a pair of free-kicks were easily dealt with, whilst a Charlie Taylor shot from the edge of the box was gathered calmly at the Spaniard's near post.

Whilst the home side were seeing more of the ball it was Rovers who were creating the clearer chances.

A lovely ball on 13 from Tom Cairney sent Jordan Rhodes through on goal but the striker's shot took an important deflection on it's route to goal, enough to see the ball strike the crossbar. Ben Marshall looked to pounce on the rebound but could only side-foot into the side netting.

A Jay Spearing free-kick was flicked just wide by Gestede before a long throw from Marshall found Rhodes in the box but his shot on the turn flashed over.

Leeds' best chance of the half came just past the midway point when an excellent cross from the left by Taylor found Rodolph Austin, but the midfielder headed over from a central position.

Raya was then called upon to make an important stop after a Sam Byram volley took a deflection goalwards off Matt Kilgallon, the Spaniard showing good reactions to dive to his right to push the ball aside.

Six minutes before half-time the hosts were reduced to ten men for an off the ball incident. As Leeds prepared to take a corner, Austin was adjudged to have thrown an arm in the direction of Marshall, it was spotted by the linesman on the near side and after discussion with referee Gary Sutton, a straight red card was shown to the Leeds man.

There was just time for one more chance before the break as Gestede nodded down for Rhodes, but he couldn't get the ball out from under his feet to get a clean connection, the ball eventually coming out to Spearing but his shot was easily gathered by Marco Silvestri.

Rovers were sharp starters at the beginning of the second half with two excellent chances in the opening minutes.

A superb run and cross from Adam Henley picked out Gestede just six-yards out but Silvestri saved well at his near post, then the striker turned provider for his partner Rhodes but his effort deflected narrowly wide of Sol Bamba.

Henley was then substituted with Paul Taylor coming on for his debut, the young defender had earlier picked up a harsh yellow card, the manager opting for safety with an increasingly erratic referee.

That meant a move to right back for Marshall, a position he first occupied when the two sides met here last season.

Despite this it was Marshall who set up Rovers' next chance, a forward run picking out Rhodes but his diving header was wide.

Against ten men the pressure eventually told with a quality opener on 62 minutes. Lee Williamson sent Gestede racing through on goal, and although his centre was twice cut out, the ball arrived at the feet of Tom Cairney and he fired home for just his third of the campaign.

Unfortunately for Rovers Gestede sustained an injury in the build-up to the goal and had to be replaced by Chris Brown.

Unbowed Rovers looked for more goals, Brown immediately in the thick of the action, sending Marshall scampering forward, he struck a 20-yard effort that beat Silvestri, but crashed off the woodwork when his left-foot strike deserved to find the back of the net.

But on 69 minutes Rovers would have the second goal their play deserved. Brown sent Cairney away down the right before receiving the ball back in the box, with a deft chip the striker picked out Rhodes who had the time and space to pick his spot into the bottom corner of Silvestri's goal.

The home side's discipline left a lot to be desired in the closing stages as Mirco Antonucci, Luke Murphy and Charlie Taylor all saw yellow, Rovers on the end of a series of robust challenges.

With ten minutes to go Rovers rammed home their advantage with a third goal. Again Brown was involved as he fed Marshall skipped past the half-hearted challenge of Giuseppe Bellusci to find Spearing sliding in at the back post to score his first Rovers goal.

Unfortunately Rovers sustained another striking injury as Brown left the field, John O'Sullivan on for just his second senior appearance.

At the back the Lancashire side defended with calm assurance to ensure a debut clean sheet for Raya, indeed Rovers could have scored more in the closing stages, Rhodes unfortunate to see his shot strike the post after Taylor played him through.

Rovers are back in action this Wednesday night when there's the little matter of an FA Cup quarter-final replay against Liverpool to contend with. They'll go into it patched up, but full of confidence after this commanding display.

LEEDS: Silvestri, Byram, Bamba (c), Austin, Bellusci, Murphy, Berardi (sub Cooper 66 mins), Wootton (sub Antenucci 66 mins), Morison (sub Sharp 86 mins),  C Taylor, Mowatt.

Subs not used: S Taylor (GK), Dawson, Doukara, Phillips.

Goals: None.

Booked: Antenucci, Murphy, C. Taylor.

Off: Austin 39 mins.

ROVERS: Raya, Henley (sub P. Taylor 59 mins), Baptiste, Kilgallon (c), Olsson, Cairney, Spearing, Williamson, Marshall, Rhodes, Gestede (sub Brown 64 mins (sub O'Sullivan 81 mins).

Subs not used: Steele (GK), Spurr, O'Sullivan, Lenihan, Evans.

Goals: Cairney 62 mins, Rhodes 69 mins, Spearing 80 mins.

Booked: Henley, P. Taylor.

Attendance: 25,293 (including 736 Rovers fans).

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