Soccer

Impressive Leeds maintain their pursuit of the promotion places

Leeds United’s Daniel James (left) celebrates scoring (Tim Markland/PA)
Leeds United’s Daniel James (left) celebrates scoring (Tim Markland/PA) Leeds United’s Daniel James (left) celebrates scoring (Tim Markland/PA)

Leeds kept up the pressure on the Championship’s top two with an impressive 2-0 win at Blackburn.

In a test of their credentials against a vibrant home side, Daniel Farke’s men passed with flying colours, and a goal in each half did the damage.

Dan James scored for the third game in succession to fire the visitors into a deserved lead and with Blackburn searching for an equaliser, Crysencio Summerville’s dinked finish 15 minutes from time sealed the points.

Even more impressive is that they limited Rovers to precious few chances, with Illan Meslier denying Arnor Sigurdsson late on.

The victory is Leeds’ sixth in the last seven and the league’s form side are well placed to pounce, should Ipswich or Leicester slip up.

It is a fifth home defeat in seven for Blackburn, who are still well placed for a play-off push but their Ewood form is a concern.

The hosts started brightly without testing Meslier but Leeds were soon into their stride, with Summerville lashing wide when a corner was cleared to him. They went closer in the 18th minute when Joel Piroe’s 20-yard free-kick took a wicked deflection but landed just wide of the right post, much to Blackburn’s relief.

Leeds spurned a glorious chance when Summerville dispossessed Hayden Carter and the ball found Georginio Rutter six yards out but he clipped the ball wide with the goalkeeper to beat.

He made amends in the 27th minute when he powered forward and shrugged off James Hill before finding James on the right who drilled the ball unerringly into the bottom left corner for his seventh of the season.

James flashed an inviting ball across the face of goal soon after, but Rutter could not get on the end of it, while at the other end, Sammie Szmodics headed over a Hill cross.

Blackburn wanted a penalty just after the restart when Andrew Moran’s cross struck Pascal Struijk’s arm but Bobby Madley waved the protests away. From the resulting corner, Szmodics fired wide when the ball felt to him 25 yards out.

But Leeds carried an almighty threat on the break and Wilfried Gnonto was denied a 73rd-minute goal thanks to an outstanding piece of goalkeeping from Leo Wahlstedt who brilliantly tipped his powerful strike over after it took a deflection.

The reprieve was brief as Leeds sealed victory in the 75th minute with a flowing move that saw Archie Gray exchange passes with Rutter before his first-time ball found Summerville in the area and he was coolness personified, lifting the ball over Wahlstedt.

Meslier made a tremendous save moments later, tipping Sigurdsson’s header over, but Leeds comfortably saw the game out, sending the 7,500 travelling fans home happy.