By James Dielhenn
Saturday 1st September 2012
Elland Road, Att: 24,411
Leeds 3 - 3 Blackburn
Diouf 43' Olsson 19'
McCormack 57' Gomes 26'
Becchio 65' Rochina 84'
Team: Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Pearce, Drury, Diouf, Austin, Norris, Varney, McCormack, Becchio
Subs: Ashdown, Kisnorbo, Byram (on for Varney 90), White, Brown, Poleon, Gray
At the start of the game most Leeds fans would have been thrilled with a point against big-spending Blackburn, but to concede a late goal was still gutting. It speaks volumes for how far Leeds have come this season already. In the first half we were totally outclassed but the fight that Neil Warnock has instilled got us back into the game - and we deserved to win it on the basis of our second half performance.
Paddy Kenny made a few vital saves in the first period when Blackburn were on top. He had little chance with any of the goals and put in a good performance. It seems he will rarely dip below a 7 out of 10. 7
Right-back Lee Peltier didn't have a particularly good game. He was caught out of position a couple of times and two of the goals came from his flank. 5
Tom Lees improves with every game. He intercepted everything that he could and wasn't dominated at any stage by Blackburn's big-name strikers. 7
Jason Pearce's impressive showing at Leeds continued with another masterful display. He heads absolutely everything and crunched into tackles at every opportunity. Finally we seem to have a really top drawer centre-half. 8
Adam Drury put in another assured display at left-back. He never ventures forward but keeps things very simple and it's effective. 7
El Hadji Diouf, on the right wing, came in for special praise from Warnock after signing a permanent deal and scoring his first goal. The goal was as scrappy as they come but Diouf put in a good shift against his former club and caused some problems down the right. 7
David Norris was only just passed fit for the game and maybe it showed as he was overrun at times. Not a bad performance, but he struggled to have much influence. 6
Rodolph Austin, next to Norris in central midfield, put in some trademark big tackles but also struggled to have a big impact as Blackburn's classy midfield used the ball so well. A decent showing though. 6
Luke Varney struggled on the left wing. He hasn't had a good start to his Leeds career. He works very hard and tracks back, which is vital, but in the final third he doesn't contribute much at all. He might have found himself subbed earlier if we had more options on the bench. 5
Ross McCormack scored a beauty. The finish was magnificent. Otherwise, he created trouble with his movement and pace. He is improving under Warnock. 8
Luciano Becchio had another terrific game. His intelligence drew free-kicks and led Leeds up the pitch and he fully deserved his goal. He is finding consistency, although the season is young. 8
One problem is that Warnock has no options on the bench to change things. Sam Byram came on after 90 minutes to waste time but that was it. Otherwise it was a fantastic day at Elland Road that proves how Leeds can hang with the big boys on a good day.
Neil Warnock post match:
“The game was a good advert for the Championship but we were disappointed that the referee gave a free-kick against Tom Lees when Pedersen backed into him in the build-up to their third. “Bill Shankly once said referees know the rules, they just don’t know the game.
“It was disappointing to be denied a win by a decision like that. I am so proud of my team for battling back from two down.”
Of Diouf, Warnock added: “I thought his contribution in the second half was good.
“He missed a good chance but they missed one a minute before.”