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Blackburn Rovers

Premier League
Game 32: Saturday 10 April 2004

Blackburn Rovers 1 - 2 Leeds United
(Half-time: 0 - 1)
Crowd: 26611
Referee: S Dunn (Bristol)
Leeds United
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Match Facts
Blackburn Rovers Team Leeds United
Brad Friedel   Paul Robinson
Booked - 42 minutes Michael Gray   Gary Kelly
Goal - 90 minutes Craig Short   Ian Harte
Lorenzo Amoruso   Michael Duberry
Booked - 43 minutes Garry Flitcroft   Steve Caldwell Goal - 2 minutes
Tugay Kerimoglu   Dominic Matteo Booked - 78 minutes
Subbed - 45 minutes Steven Reid   Seth Johnson Subbed - 56 minutes
Lucas Neill   James Milner Booked - 84 minutes
Brett Emerton   Jermaine Pennant
Subbed - 68 minutes Jonathan Stead   Alan Smith Subbed - 90 minutes
Andrew Cole   Mark Viduka Goal - 89 minutes
Peter Enckelman   Scott Carson
Andy Todd   Lucas Radebe
Martin Andresen   Eirik Bakke Sub - 56 minutes
Sub - 68 minutes Matt Jansen   Stephen McPhail Sub - 90 minutes
Sub - 45 minutes Paul Gallagher   Simon Johnson
Match Reports
Richard Walker Blackburn
BBC Blackburn 1 - 2 Leeds
The Guardian Gray borrows blueprint to aid great escape
The Independent Viduka's late strike stokes fire for Leeds survival act
The Observer Viduka adds to Blackburn's woe Leeds land back-to-back wins
The Sporting Life Blackburn 1 - 2 Leeds
The Sunday Times Viduka gives Leeds lifeline
The Electronic Telegraph Leeds show spirit to escape
The Times Blackburn lacking grit
Yorkshire Evening Post Rover and out? Not for United!
Yorkshire Post Sticking chests out with pride

The Times, Sunday Times and Telegraph now seem to require registration to view articles on their sites, with the Times and Sunday Times charging readers outside the UK. The Times/Sunday Times has also moved some of the older articles into an archive which requires separate registration and requires you to pay to access the content. The Independent now charges for access to articles more than a week old.

Blackburn - Richard Walker

Heady days indeed. 2 wins on the trot and we might even be top half of Sky's form league. The day started bad with a packed, hot and sweaty train to Blackburn. Had everyone been on the piss the night before ? Bleary eyes all over the place. The police weren't keen on Leeds fans drinking in the town so we escaped via a taxi to the Fernhurst. That's when the day started to improve.

The Leeds support yesterday was first class as always. I spoke to a mate who was in the Blackburn end who said that the Blackburn fans were saying that was the best support they'd ever seen and Leeds deserved to stay up because of it. Well, if it was support that won the league then we'd have had the league wrapped up by Christmas. 4,500 pissed up Leeds fans singing their hearts out for 90 minutes. It was a great day out.

On to the footy. Harte, Kelly, Duberry and Caldwell. Is that a premiership defence ? No it isn't and whilst none of them disgraced themselves I think that if Gray decides to go with that line up for the remaining games we will go down. It's says more about Blackburn than us that Robinson only had to make one decent save and the defence were hardly troubled. I've never seen so many misplaced and overhit passes from a team. Cole was lively and was making runs all over the place but his team mates just didn't have the ability to pick him out. Tugay looks like a broken man. He's not the player he was. God knows what Cole must think to his strike partner Stead. I know a couple of Town fans who were gutted when he left. They reckoned he'd do well in the premiership. Well, all I can say on that performance is that I've never seen a striker so obviously out of his depth. No confidence and no ability. Caldwell and Duberry didn't even have to play well to cope with him. And when they put Jansen on to replace him I thought he would cause us trouble but he looks finished does that lad. In short , Blackburn are going down. They are the s****est of a lot of s*** clubs in the relegation battle. So what about Leeds ? Did we play well ? I think we showed spirit but I don't think we played well. Only in very small patches did we show any continuity and flow to our football.

We played on the counter attack , relied heavily on Pennant's pace and it is to our shame that Blackburn actually controlled periods of the game without really threatening. We did deserve it though cos we created the better chances over the 90 minutes. Pennant was our saviour up front and Matteo did a great defensive job both in midfield and defence. As against Leicester he was our best defender today. Pennant scared the hell out of Blackburn. In the first 20 minutes he just got the ball and ran. Their left back got booked and I thought he'd do well to stay on the pitch but second half we didn't get the ball to Pennant enough. Our strikers were off their game today. Viduka looked like his old self. Slow, unfit and surprisingly for him showing a lack of ball control. He had one good moment when he wriggled clear of the defence only to put it wide with his left foot with only Friedel to beat.

Smith had his moments. A good long range shot tipped over by Friedel. He also showed good bits of skill in around the box although he never looked like scoring today. Milner worked his socks but I thought he wasn't effective today. Defence - I wouldn't get too excited by this performance. It was a better performance from Caldwell and Kelly but you've got to remember I could have marked Stead out of the game. He was that bad.

Duberry didn't do a lot wrong (again) but Blackburn should have had a penalty when unexpicably Duberry decided to tackle someone by putting his arm around his neck. A blatant penalty ! Stupid , careless Duberry strikes again. This time he was lucky , next week ... ??? Harte looked like Ian Harte. Slow and unsure. He jumped in early to tackles cos that's what he has to do. He was lucky on a few occassions but it was no coincidence that all Blackburn's decent work came down their right wing. If Gray is going to be so clinical as to drop a player cos of one bad performance (Domi against Leicester) then you have to ask how Kelly, Robinson, Viduka and MCPHAIL to name a few can manage to have long runs in the team. Domi is a better player that Harte and should play left back.

Olembe is also a better left back. Come on Eddie get your thinking cap on. Harte will cost us points and that could send us down. He had one free kick that wasn't on target. No change there then. We got a break away goal late on created by Pennant and tapped in by Viduka. Blackburn then started to pressure us. We sat deep and s*** ourselves. They got one back (who was marking him ???) and in the end we held on.

When our second goal went in it was mad in the Leeds end. Absoulute f'cking delight and pandemonium. The hot, packed , sweaty train back didn't seem half as bad.

Scores :-

Robinson - 7. One great save. Kicking a bit dodgy today and why not roll it out to Milner when he wants it instead of the long punt up field. Viduka won nothing in the air today.
Kelly - 7. Better. Worked hard.
Harte - 5. Looked like our weak link today. So painfully slow.
Caldwell - 6.5 Better and good goal but let's not read anything it to this. Stead is one thing it's Wayne Rooney next.
Duberry - 7. Did well. Cole was lively and Duberry covered him most of the time. Stupid moments ruin his game.
Johnson - 6.5 I thought he battled well but Matteo still does more and he's a central defender. Injury looked a bad one. Please Eddie , not Mcphail !!
Matteo - 8 Out of position but still contributing to the game in all areas of the pich . Superb.
Pennant - 8. Man of the match. Constant danger and our only real threat today up front.
Milner - 6. Hit the post and has a couple of good runs but on the whole ineffective.
Viduka - 6. Scored his goal but looked slow.
Smith - 6. No help from Viduka but did manage lo link up with Pennant now and again.

Subs :-

Bakke - 5. Badly off the pace. Was awful.
Mcphail - Only on for 10 minutes max but how can a player make such a negative contribution in such a short period of time ? Eddie was screaming at him from the touch line. Mcphail came on and literally just walked around doing nothing. It was remarkable and I haven't seen the goal on telly yet but it wouldn't surprise me if their goal was down to one of our players not marking his man ! F'cking hell Eddie, this guy could cost us dear.

Gray borrows blueprint to aid great escape - Louise Taylor

Copy from Football Unlimited of 12/04/2004.

A window of opportunity opens for Leeds as Portsmouth and Leicester drop points while Blackburn and Manchester City drift dangerously close to the mire

When Eddie Gray became caretaker manager of Leeds United and began remodelling the team he used Blackburn Rovers as his prototype. No, not Graeme Souness's sorry crew of 2004 but Kenny Dalglish's Championship-winning class of 1995. "They played the high-tempo way I believe the game should be played and we have to play if we are to stay in the Premiership," said Gray.

It explains why his side's triumph here on Saturday seemed studded with little ironies; why the team attacking with real width, using crosses as lethal weapons and ruthlessly squeezing midfield space looked strangely familiar.

Read the rest...

Viduka adds to Blackburn's woe - Paul Wilson

Copy from Football Unlimited of 11/04/2004.

Graeme Souness asked his Blackburn Rovers players to use this match to show what they are made of. He should know better than to ask questions to which he does not know the answer. Blackburn duly turned in an impression of a doormat, enabling Leeds United to wipe their feet gratefully before climbing level with them on 31 points.

'We showed belief today, and we have an opportunity now with games at home,' said Eddie Gray, Leeds's caretaker manager. 'Everton on Tuesday is now our biggest game of the season.'

Leeds are not out of trouble yet, but Blackburn are certainly in it. They clearly do not award coaching licences on motivational grounds, as compared to the effort Gray coaxed from his troubled team, the Blackburn response to their manager was anaemic. 'There are no magic words, or I would have used them five months ago,' Souness said. 'Our quality was not up to scratch. It's game on now, we will just have to win a couple of our away matches. We've not treated home fans to any entertainment this year.'

Read the rest...

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