By Mike Courtney
The away day blues were well and truly put to bed with a battling 4-2 win away at rain soaked The Valley. Following a late pitch inspection the game got the go ahead albeit with a 3.30 kick off, but at least the 3000 travelling supporters hadn't made the journey in vein. It didn't take Leeds long to get into their stride and as Rossco latched on to a flick on from Blackstock, making his first Leeds start, and flicked it over the advancing Hamer for the opener on 17 minutes.
It was to be a red letter day for Ross, who was surprisingly left out of the Scottish squad for the upcoming internationals, as he set about showing Gordan Strachan what he has to offer. Leeds had the post to thank for retaining their lead as Simon Church rattled the woodwork from a tight angle as Charlton sought to bounce back from the early setback. Kenny kept Leeds in front with a point blank save from Church on 42mins but Charlton were to go in level at half time, when Cameron Stewert volleyed home from 20yards when Leeds failed to clear a free kick right on 45 minutes. In fact Leeds were lucky to go in level as Tom Lees almost found his own net for the second away game in a row when he turned a cross over his own bar.
Leeds needed a fast start to the second half and they got it when the forgotten man, Danny Pugh, making his first appearance in a year, was brought down in the box and Rossco stepped up to ram home his second. Kenny again had to be at his best to keep Leeds ahead tipping a deflected Harriott shot over the bar but on 70 minutes Charlton got the equaliser they probably deserved, when Church wriggled past Peltier and Lees down the right and squared for Jackson to score on 70 minutes. There joy was short lived though as that man Ross again got on the end of a high ball into the box and volleyed it home from seven yards. This was the first hat-trick for a Leeds player since a certain Mr Becchio against Bristol City in 2010. There was more to come though as Leeds were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box just as we entered injury time and Ross stepped up to ease any nerves the travelling fans might have, as he curled a beauty over the wall for his fourth.
Not since Brian Deane scored 4 against QPR 9 years ago has a Leeds player achieved this feat and the often maligned Ross McCormack certainly answered any critics he might have, sending out a timely message to his international boss. That's 8 goals for Ross in his last 6 games and 12 for Leeds in their last 4 since BMAC changed to a 3-5-2 formation.
A great 3 points as we gained ground on all but one of the teams above us and are now just one point off the playoff places. There were some squeaky bum moments, as there always is with Leeds, but who can argue with 4 goals away from home. This was against a Charlton team that had not conceded in 460 minutes of football and it was done without Byram, Warnock and Mowatt, who were all missing through injury. This shows that we do have strength in depth and credit to Danny Pugh, who put in a good shift for a guy who hasn't seen first team action in so long. Blackstock's arrival gives us options up front and with Ross playing closer to goal in this new formation we are beginning to see him do what he does best, score goals. He could be the 20 goal a season striker we've been crying out for
So a valuable 3 points, the away day blues banished for now and 4 goals for our number 44. What more could we ask for on a rain sodden Saturday in November.
MOT Leeds Leeds Leeds.
PS my prediction of a 3-1 win wasn't far off the mark.