Leeds United's proud unbeaten home record goes as lack of quality in final third leaves manager Daniel Farke frustrated

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The old problem of finding someone to put the ball in the net came back in full effect as Leeds United were left to rue another golden opportunity to push their promotion claims.

Despite dominating most of their game against Blackburn Rovers the Whites could not make their 19 efforts to four count as they suffered a first home defeat of the season.

Daniel Farke tasted defeat at Elland Road for the first time as Leeds boss and pointed the finger at the finishing being responsible after the division's top scorer, Sammie Szmodics scored the only goal of the game for the visitors eight minutes from time.

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Damage was limited after Leicester also lost their game last night and Ipswich could only draw with Middlesbrough, but it was diffcult to hide the Whites frustrations as they failed to score from the second home game in the week and have hit a sticky patch at just the wrong time with only one win from their last five matches.

Agony for Willy Gnonto as he collides with the post after being unable to score from close range for Leeds United.Agony for Willy Gnonto as he collides with the post after being unable to score from close range for Leeds United.
Agony for Willy Gnonto as he collides with the post after being unable to score from close range for Leeds United.

Not quite falling apart as the song goes as the performance did deserve three points that would have taken United back to the top with just three matches remaining. But worrying certainly and not exactly the form to take into the play-offs that look increasingly likely.

"We didn't put the ball into the net, that was the reason (for defeat)" said manager Farke.

"If you don't score you can't win a football game and then you have to be tidy and make sure you don't allow chances.

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When you face a side like Blackburn with a player like Szmodics - to be there with 24 goals is outstanding - the quality we sadly didn't show today.

Patrick Bamford is wrestled to the ground but no penalty was forthcoming for Leeds United.Patrick Bamford is wrestled to the ground but no penalty was forthcoming for Leeds United.
Patrick Bamford is wrestled to the ground but no penalty was forthcoming for Leeds United.

"He just needed one situation to score. We played on the front foot, close to their box and in the last two games, feels like 30 corners and 20 wide area free-kicks and balls through the box but you have to show the quality to put the ball in the net.

"If you don't score you risk more and more, bring more and more offensive players on the pitch because we're not happy with just one point and there's always danger they can score. We were not effective enough. This is pretty frustrating."

Frustrations built all afternboon, not least because of the blatant and largely unpunished time wasting by Blackburn players, and grew sufficiently for

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Leeds coach Christopher John to be red carded late on after his appeals for an injury-time penalty when Patrick Bamford was wrestled to the ground.

Joel Piroe tries to get a shot in.Joel Piroe tries to get a shot in.
Joel Piroe tries to get a shot in.

It was not as obvious a spot kick claim as the two ignored in the previous game against Sunderland as Bamford was tussling with his marker, but added to the feeling that officials have been against Leeds in recent matches.

Referee James Bell was far too slow to dish out yellow cards for fouls and the time wasting while his timekeeping was awful. He missed a number of fouls too and another low mark was surely heading for yet another official at Elland Road.

"I haven't really seen the situation, just when the referee came to give the red card," explained Farke.

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"My staff members were appealing for a red card, it's also quite normal at the crunch time period. You also have to understand the emotions, especially after what happened the other night. I have to ask for the explanation.

Ethan Ampadu was on the losing side at Elland Road for the first time since joining Leeds United after the Whites were edged out by Blackburn Rovers.Ethan Ampadu was on the losing side at Elland Road for the first time since joining Leeds United after the Whites were edged out by Blackburn Rovers.
Ethan Ampadu was on the losing side at Elland Road for the first time since joining Leeds United after the Whites were edged out by Blackburn Rovers.

"The fourth official Keith has just told me one of the staff members has crossed the line to their coaching zone, if this is the case we have to apologise because it shouldn't happen.

"Although I've seen many opposition members cross the line into our area and not appealed for red card. If he has then the referee was probably spot on with his decision.

"I would wish the referees are a bit more spot on on the pitch when it comes to key rules, perhaps we'd be there with more points but that's a different topic."

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Leeds looked sharper than against Sunderland and had more space to operate with Rovers often leaving three attackers up the pitch.

But it became attritional again after Willy Gnonto had a shot well saved in the first half and good chances were squandered by players still looking for their first league goals for the Whites, Ethan Ampadu and Ilia Gruev.

In the second half Gruev saw a shot from distance comfortably saved and a more powerfully struck shot by Gnonto fizzed just wide.

Blackburn sent out a warning when Szmodics' low cross was well cleared by Connor Roberts with Sam Gallagher ready to piunce for as tap-in.

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But Rovers keeper Aynsley Pears had to come to his side's rescue to deny Georginio Rutter and Junior Firpo while Bamford - on subs' duty this time - sent a header over and when another dangerous cross came in it somehow just evaded Gnonto at the far post.

Farke opened the game up by throwing on forwards and only having one recognised midfielder and three defenders still on the pitch and it backfired as Szmodics was left unmarked to meet Tyrhys Dolan's pass and plant the ball past Illan Meslier.

Leeds threw the kitchen sink at their opponents in six minutes of added time that should have been much longer and knew it was not their day finally when Crysencio Summerville's teasing cross somehow evaded several teammates in the box and no penalty was forthcoming when Bamford went down.

Blackburn Rovers 1

(Szmodics 82)

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Sky Bet Championship

Attendance: 36,518

Leeds: Meslier; Roberts (Byram 67), Rodon, Ampadu, Firpo (Anthony 88); Gruev (Bamford 67), Gray; Gnonto (Joseph 81), Rutter (James 67), Summerville; Piroe.

Blackburn: Pears; Carter, Hyam, Wharton (McFadzean 45); Brittain, Tronstad, Rankin-Costello, Pickering; Gallagher, Dolan (Chrisene 84), Szmodics (Telalavic 90+5).

Referee: James Bell

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