Lenihan’s strike gives Blackburn narrow victory over Leeds

Date published: Saturday 20th October 2018 1:56

Darragh Lenihan Blackburn

Leeds missed the chance to go top of the Sky Bet Championship as Darragh Lenihan’s header consigned them to a 2-1 defeat at Blackburn.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side were roared on by a 7,717-strong following, but Danny Graham’s towering header gave the hosts into a second-minute lead.

Only fine goalkeeping kept Leeds in the game, before Mateusz Klich equalised from close range on the stroke of half-time – his fifth goal this term.

Despite dominating possession for large spells, Lenihan’s first of the season 20 minutes from time handed Leeds a first away defeat of the season.

It was rich reward for the hosts, who moved fifth after an energetic and clinical display that gave them back-to-back league victories for the first time this season.

Blackburn made four changes from their victory at Bolton, while Leeds were without the suspended Luke Ayling but were able to call upon fit-again duo Kemar Roofe and Gaetano Berardi.

Rovers charged out of the blocks and took an early lead when Graham met Harrison Reed’s corner to send a thumping header into the top corner for his fourth goal of the campaign.

Leeds settled into their high intensity game and Samuel Saiz stung David Raya’s palms in the 11th minute, with Pontus Jansson directing a free header over the crossbar from the resulting corner.

But Rovers were the more dangerous of the two sides and only a sensational Bailey Peacock-Farrell save kept the deficit at one when Blackburn’s leading scorer Bradley Dack weaved around a challenge and into the area.

Adam Armstrong went even closer just before the break when he collected Elliott Bennett’s sumptuous cross-field pass and engineered space, only to curl his effort agonisingly onto the roof of the net.

An outstanding team move levelled matters in first-half stoppage time as Saiz’s diagonal ball found Berardi, who beat the offside trap.

He squared to the unmarked Klich and he hammered the ball into the bottom corner from six yards.

Gaetano’s weak header back to his goalkeeper almost cost Leeds dearly in the 55th minute but Peacock-Farrell was alert and out quickly to smother Armstrong’s effort.

Yet despite Leeds’ overall dominance of possession, it was Blackburn who went back ahead when Lenihan rose highest to meet a corner, heading into the bottom-right corner and past the despairing dive of Peacock-Farrell.

The visitors pressed for an equaliser but once again needed Peacock-Farrell to keep them in with a chance as his outstretched foot diverted Armstrong’s low drive away.

At the other end, Klich thought he had equalised with a curling 25-yard shot but Raya produced an acrobatic save to tip over, and although the visitors thought they should have had a late penalty, nothing was given and Rovers hung on for a well-earned win.

 

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