Monday, 3 September 2012

Leeds United 3 - 3 Blackburn Rovers

A lovely sunny day greeted us as we set off to Elland Road on Saturday, for the first time in a good few weeks, it really felt like summer!!

Blackburn have managed to keep hold of some quality players since being relegated from the Premier League last season. I fully didn't expect to get anything from this match at all and thought we would be outclassed in almost every aspect of the pitch.

As Paul Robinson took to his position in goal for Blackburn just before the game kicked off, he was given a very warm welcome, he showed his gratitude by doing the Leeds salute and soon after chants of 'you're Leeds, and you know you are' filled the air.

It was clear right from the off that these were a different class of footballers, we struggled from the get go. Blackburn were forced to make a change early in the match when Grant Hanley came on for Scott Dann.

The chances were coming thick and fast for the Rovers but Rodolph Austin tried his luck on the 17th minute from 30 yards out, but it was saved by Paul Robinson.

Two minutes after that effort though, Blackburn were ahead when Pedersen crossed a ball into the area for Markus Olsson to put it past Paddy Kenny.

The relentless attack from Blackburn continued after the goal and they looked hungry for another. We just hadn't turned up and looked lost.

7 minutes after the first, Nuno Gomes netted a second for Blackburn.

At this particular point, I looked at the guy next to me and said 'Its gonna be a long afternoon'. We weren't non existent, we were worse.
You couldn't give these guys an inch of space because they knew exactly what to do with it. They exploited our already bruised confidence from the first goal and they had us well and truly on the back foot.

Ross McCormack had a shout for a penalty after he was brought down in the area, but the plea's were ignored by the 'ref' (I use the term loosely - I will come to this later).

Ross was back in action shortly after though as a free kick was sent into the box, there was a bit of pinball but it was Diouf who eventually managed to hit the ball and send it past Robinson to make it 1-2 just before half time.

There was time however, for McCormack and Diouf and they almost struck again to even the odds, but Paul Robinson was on hand for The Rovers to make sure they took the lead into the changing room at half time.

It really was a lovely warm and sunny day, and the same old half time 'entertainment' ensued. It never for a second even crossed my mind that we might be back in this match, plainly because squad was so much stronger than ours, they had players that could come off the bench and change the game if needs be, our squad is paper thin in that department!!

In the first minute of the second half, Jason Pearce almost scored after he headded a free kick by Ross McCormack at close range, however it was just over the bar.

Adam Drury floated a ball into the path of a waiting Ross McCormack who scored a fantastic volley from the edge of the box on the 56th minute. Such a brilliant finish from Ross, Robinson had no chance.

Now we were really getting into the game, Blackburn had lost their spark and we were full of confidence, Marching On Together was being sang at the top of our voices to get behind the lads.

The next 9 minutes belonged to Leeds as Blackburn struggled to find a way back into the game. Rodolph Austin, Luke Varney, Luciano Becchio and David Norris all had chances, but it was the Argentinian that eventually managed to put us 3 - 2 up on the 65th minute with a diving header after Diouf's ball into the box.

Literally moments later, we found ourselves celebrating again when Jason Pearce headed past Paul Robinson, however the 'ref' didn't give it due to a foul in the box and a free kick was given to Blackburn.

Though we were pretty much in charge of the second half, the Blackburn threat was still very much there. Ruben Rochina shot on the 79th minute but Paddy Kenny was on hand to save it.
Not long after, Pedderson tried his luck with a long range effort but it went just wide of the goal.

On the 82nd minute, the 'ref' gave us a free kick, he then changed his mind and decided Tom Lees had fouled Ruben Rochina and gave the free kick the other way....This was the (shocking) decision that lead to the equaliser for Blackburn as Danny Murphy took the free kick and the ball was cleared by a Leeds man for a corner. The corner was taken by Pedersen and Rochina backheeled the ball to equalise.

The board went up and showed there was 5 minutes of stoppage time to be played, and there was still all to play for, for both sides.

Another penalty shout was dismissed by the 'referee' in the closing moments of the game.

Etuhu was the next to try and get all three points for Blackburn however but his effort went wide of the goal.

The final chance of the match however was El Hadji Diouf's, who came face to face with Paul Robinson after catching out the Blackburn defence. However, what I can only describe as a rush of blood to the head, prevented him from scoring as he shot well over the bar.

The 'ref' blew for full time and the game ended 3 - 3.

Neil Warnock might not be allowed to air his views on the terrible decisions of the 'ref'....But I can.

Its all too easy to blame the referee sometimes, which I think is the reason people tend to dissmiss it when you say 'the ref had a terrible game'. However, terrible would be a kind word when describing this fail of a 'ref'.

Where do I start?! Neil Swarbrick, reached for his card when Formica kicked the ball away just before half time....He then realised he'd already booked Formica earlier on in the game, and decided against giving him a second yellow....Joke....

I can't really comment on whether our 4th goal should have stood, I personally saw nothing wrong with it, which was why I celebrated it going in, however, it wasn't given. But like I say, I didn't have a great view.

He missed two big penalty shouts, one in stoppage time and one earlier on the match.

I have read that Blackburn reckon he cost them the game....I can only assume they were at the wrong match.

I don't think I have been that angry with a so called official in a long time.

Positives to take out of the game however, biggest positive for me was that we managed to come back from 2 goals down, at that point, I expected an absolute thrashing, I mean a 4/5 nil.

It's just disappointing that we did go two goals down to be fair but it's still early in the season and we can hopefully learn from the mistakes that were made in the first half.

El-Hadji Diouf had a brilliant game and if he'd have kept his calm to score right at the death, he would have fully deserved the plaudits. He really is changing my mind about him, game by game, and after the game, he signed a short term contract with us that sees him here until January.

No club games this weekend due to the international break. I will have to think of something else to do with my Saturday!!

MOT xx <3 xx

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