First-half goals from Patrick Bamford and Jack Harrison helped Leeds United to a 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers this afternoon at Elland Road.
Leeds are now five unbeaten in the Championship, whilst their home form is improving, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side winning the last four at LS11.
However, they were made to work this afternoon by Tony Mowbray’s Rovers, with Derrick Williams’ 40th minute goal meaning things were far from comfortable.
There was a real lack of quality in the opening 20 minutes at Elland Road, with both sides needlessly giving the ball away and struggling to retain possession.
With the game crying out for one side to take control of proceedings, Leeds began to give the home fans something to be encouraged by. Stuart Dallas drove and blazed an effort into the South Stand, with Leeds now starting to put good phases of play together.
And, when Tyler Roberts’ clever ball sent Luke Ayling breaking into the area and the covering Tosin Adarabioyo brought him down, Bielsa’s side had the perfect chance to take full control from the penalty spot.
Bamford, with his name ringing around Elland Road, stepped up to convert his first goal since August, sending Christian Walton the wrong way.
That gave Bamford the confidence needed to start running the line with real conviction – Leeds’ No.9 latched onto a long ball on 35 minutes, before laying into the path of Harrison to convert off the post. 2-0 and the home side cruising.
However, they weren’t comfortable for long, when the busy Stewart Downing won a corner on the left and found Williams with a pinpoint delivery moments later. The lead cut in half from the left-back’s powerful header.
Leeds would gain control of the half as the break approached, with Ben White driving his side forward, even firing a shot of his own over Walton’s bar, but Elland Road knew their side had let a commanding position slip.
If there was any tension in the stands, there didn’t seem to be on the pitch, with Bielsa’s side starting the second-half well.
Helder Costa led a Leeds break on 50 minutes, feeding the advancing Harrison, who fired narrowly over Walton’s crossbar.
That was a blistering break from the £15m man and he was at it again just after the hour, driving past Mowbray’s defenders as if they weren’t there, but he couldn’t pick out Bamford before Harrison saw two efforts blocked.
Liam Cooper would sting Walton’s palms from a wide angle, yet Leeds were still searching for a goal to put them two clear again.
Mowbray would turn to his bench to try and turn the tide; Danny Graham, Corry Evans and John Buckley – last weekend’s matchwinner – all on.
The home side continued to push – even with Cooper forced off with another injury problem – as Kalvin Phillips’ dangerous corner somehow wasn’t converted.
Bielsa searched for some control from his bench with Pablo Hernandez brought on, but Harrison couldn’t afford them daylight, firing across Walton’s goal on 83 minutes.
Walton then kept his side in things, parrying Roberts’ effort from distance.
Bamford volleyed wide after a quick Leeds break, but at the other end, Blackburn had the Whites on the ropes, looking for that crushing blow.
However, it wouldn’t come, and Leeds held on to make it four home wins on the bounce, keeping the pressure on West Brom and Preston at the top of the Championship table heading into November’s international break.
FULL-TIME: Leeds United 2-1 Blackburn Rovers.