Rudy red-carded but defensive mistakes so costly for 10-man Leeds
Sunday, 5th Apr 2015 02:27
It seemed a fitting end to yet another ridiculous week at Elland Road. However, like our off-field saga's our grim fate on the pitch was largely sealed by our own self-implosion.
Once again the circus has been at Elland Road this week, popular head coach Neil Redfearn ready to walk away after Sporting Director Nicola Salerno effectively jettisoned Redfearn's highly rated Assistant Steve Thompson into exile. Before kick-off Salerno was rumoured to have exited Elland Road also. Rumours that top-scorer Mirco Antenucci had been frozen out to prevent a costly contract extension being triggered persisted as he only made the subs bench and then there's TOMA3; Red Bull despite denying any interest in buying Leeds last November according to the Daily Mirror will complete a majority stakeholding in the club within "three weeks".
I hoped that the impeccably observed minutes' silence for Kevin Speight and Chris Loftus on the eve of the 15th anniversary of their brutal murders in Istanbul might have brought us all back together as One United. To be fair, Leeds enjoyed the lions share of possession but the final quality ball seemed lacking. Berardi and Taylor pinged in a couple of long-range efforts which barely troubled David Raya, the Rovers debutant keeper. At the other end Rhodes saw his effort flicked onto the bar by Bamba. Similar panic occurred in the visitors area when former Leeds favourite Matthew Kilgallon prevented Sam Byram's volley from crossing the line after the bounce seemed do deceive Raya.
However we were reduced to the disadvantage of playing over 50 minutes with 10 men when Rodolph Austin, on his return was red-carded for an off-the-ball incident where he appeared to shove his forearm into the chest of Rover's Ben Marshall. The incident was missed by referee Gary Sutton who relied on his linesman to make the decision much to the disbelief of Austin who I thought was going to refuse to leave the pitch.
Leeds still looked capable of taking something out of the game just past the hour mark, although they were pegged back in their own half, Byram floated in a looping header. However disaster struck on 62 minutes when Giuseppe Belusci foolishly lunged in at Gestede' who skipped away and crossed for Cairney to delight the small band of travelling fans from Lancashire.
It stirred the confidence of the visitors and Rovers doubled their lead on 69 minutes. Minutes early Marshall had rattled the crossbar and by now Leeds had thrown Antenucci and Liam Cooper on. Criminally Cooper gave away the ball and the cross was met by the diving head of Rhodes.
Eleven minutes later the rout was completed when Cairney turned provider for Spearing to tap-home Blackburn's third, Belusci again at fault for a rush of blood to the head and for diving in needlessly. Significantly he disappeared down the tunnel at the end of the game clearly furious with himself.
Yet again, not for the first time this season Leeds seemed to be facing fourteen men and Austin's red-card turned the game against us, but our defensive frailties were exposed yet again, I thought the influence of Sol Bamba had calmed the too often erratic Belusci down, how wrong was I? As for Liam Cooper, he really does look like a player struggling at a higher-standard of football.
Like the shenanigans off the park, we self-destructed on the pitch too today. At least the fans showed Neil Redfearn what they thought of him by chanting his name throughout the game and there was also support for the disposed Steve Thompson. However yet again uncertainty reigns and a trip to high-flying Wolves looks ominous on Easter Monday. Like Christmas it seems the modern-day Leeds United just don't do Easter either.
Photo: Action Images
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