Rochina pulls Rovers out of rubble

Leeds United 3 Blackburn Rovers 3: Substitute comes to rescue after Blackburn take two-goal lead then collapse under aerial attack

elland road

For half an hour, Blackburn looked like a team more than capable of launching what manager Steve Kean described, after spending a club record £8m on Jordan Rhodes on Thursday, as "one almighty challenge" for promotion. And then, against a Leeds side which cost far less to put together than Kean spent on Rhodes, they fell apart. Having been two up and coasting, Rovers were lucky to leave Elland Road with the point rescued by Ruben Rochina's back-heel seven minutes from time.

Quite how Kean will explain the collapse to Rovers' director of football, Shebby Singh, remains to be seen. The gleeful Leeds supporters suggested his dismissal was imminent but with Rovers second in the table, such an outcome is fanciful. More likely is the immediate introduction into the side of Portuguese defender Nuno Henrique and Poland international goalkeeper Grzegorz Sandomierski, signed in the final hours of the transfer window and ineligible for this game.

Kean and his opposite number Neil Warnock chose to highlight what they perceived to be refereeing inadequacies rather than any failings in their own sides. "At 2-0 we were in total control, and the big turning point was the referee not to deem [Rovers' goalkeeper] Paul Robinson had been fouled in the build-up to their first goal," said Kean. "If we'd gone in two up at half-time we'd have probably picked up all three points. But we got a point at a very difficult ground, we're four unbeaten and it's a solid start."

Having moaned about a free-kick awarded in the build-up to Rochina's equaliser, however, Warnock did at least praise his side's resilience. "At two down they might have got six, so to keep going the way we did was super. It could have gone either way at the end."

Such was Rovers' early dominance, orchestrated by Nuno Gomes, the opener was not long delayed. Warnock cannot have been impressed with how right-back Lee Peltier was caught out of position when Morten Gamst Pedersen's pass sent Markus Olsson clear down the left. Olsson had all the time he needed to make ground into the penalty area before hitting a low, angled drive past Paddy Kenny. Peltier was at fault in the build-up to Rovers' second, though he was hardly the only Leeds defender struggling to cope with Rovers' movement. Again Olsson found space on the left, but this time he pulled the ball back for Gomes to strike classily beyond Kenny.

Urged on by the crowd, Warnock's men finally began to put the Rovers defence under some pressure. They cracked almost immediately, twice failing to deal with balls lobbed into the penalty area, the second of which resulting in El-Hadji Diouf prodding the ball past Robinson. Rovers protested that the goalkeeper had been fouled by Luciano Becchio as he attempted to punch clear and they were to feel aggrieved at the conduct of the Argentine striker when Leeds levelled shortly before the hour. This time it was Gaël Givet who felt he had been shoved when he jumped to head away the long ball which Ross McCormack volleyed beyond Robinson. Whatever, it was a superb strike from McCormack.

Becchio was the man in the right place when Diouf's intervention gave him the chance to nod the ball past Robinson, and if Jason Pearce's header had not been ruled out for a push, Blackburn's defeat would have been certain. Rochina, introduced as a substitute, secured the draw, but Kean had cause to be grateful to Diouf, who missed a sitter deep into added time.

Value for money?

With Blackburn having spent over £13m, and Leeds next to nothing, it would be easy to conclude they have been the wiser. But while Rhodes was anonymous, Rovers' capacity for improvement looks greater.

Leeds (4-4-2): Kenny; Peltier, Lees, Pearce, Drury; Diouf, Austin, Norris, Varney (Byram, 90); Becchio, McCormack.

Blackburn (4-4-2): Robinson; Ribeiro, Dann (Hanley, 10), Givet, M Olsson; Formica (Lowe, 55), Murphy, Etuhu, Pedersen; Nuno Gomes (Rochina, 75), Rhodes.

Referee Neil Swarbrick.

Attendance 24,411.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen