Rovers dig in to grab point
Last Updated: September 1, 2012 5:50pm
Rochina: Grabbed late equaliser for Blackburn
Six goals were scored on a chaotic afternoon at Elland Road as Leeds and Blackburn shared the points in a thrilling 3-3 draw.
Scotland international Jordan Rhodes was handed his Blackburn debut after his big-money move from Huddersfield on Thursday, and must have been banking on a goal as Leeds parted to allow Markus Olsson and Nuno Gomes to put his new side 2-0 up with 27 minutes gone.
But Leeds quickly discovered Blackburn's soft underbelly - their defence - and started to bombard them with high balls, none of which they dealt with, as goals from El Hadji Diouf, Ross McCormack and Luciano Becchio made it look as though Rovers boss Steve Kean would have been better served spending Rhodes' fee on some centre-halves.
Ruben Rochina rode to the rescue for Blackburn, though, preserving their unbeaten start to life back in the second tier with a cute backheel that earned his side a point with six minutes left, although that would have evaded them had Diouf converted a 95th-minute sitter.
It was no surprise to see Rhodes thrown in from the off, especially with two-goal Colin Kazim-Richards out injured, but it was one of Blackburn's longer-serving players who stole the show early on.
Morten Gamst Pedersen, who in pre-season was labelled a pensioner by the club's outspoken business manager Shebby Singhy, warmed the palms of Paddy Kenny with a stinging shot from the edge of the area, before laying on the opener with 19 minutes gone.
The Norway international spotted that Lee Peltier had left Leeds' right-back spot vacant and, with unerring accuracy, threaded through a pass which Olsson ran on to, with the full-back doing the rest as he cracked a first-time drive across Kenny and in to the bottom corner.
It was no more than Blackburn deserved and Pedersen's fizzing corner landed on top of the bar moments later before Gomes made it 2-0 after a move which from Leeds' point of view, was scarily similar to the opener.
Pedersen and Olsson were again involved, with the former finding the latter in space, with the only difference being that there was an extra pass to the feet of former Portugal striker Gomes who did the rest.
The goal provoked a response from Leeds, with McCormack claiming a penalty after going down under Gael Givet's challenge, and it was after further goalmouth chaos that the home side pulled one back.
Uncertainty in the Blackburn defence caused a scramble during which Paul Robinson recovered from a poor clearance to Becchio but, from the subsequent ball in from Luke Varney, the goalkeeper flapped one too many times and Diouf was able to ram home at the back post.
The same duo locked horns again just seconds later, with the ex-England goalkeeper making a brilliant one-handed stop to keep out what had appeared to be an innocuous header from Diouf.
Blackburn's problems in the air continued after the break too as Jason Pearce got free in the box, only to plant his header over the bar, while Varney should have done better with a back-post half-volley.
It did not matter, though, as McCormack levelled things up in the most emphatic of fashions in the 56th minute, chasing Adam Drury's lofted pass, shrugging off the challenge of Jason Lowe and volleying beyond Robinson, with both feet off the ground, from the edge of the box.
Becchio then had a chance to put Leeds ahead but his header was cleared off the line by Olsson, however it was made irrelevant with 65 minutes gone, with the Argentinian swooping to nod in his fifth of the season at the back post after Blackburn again failed to clear their lines from a Diouf cross.
There was still time for more drama, though, as first Pearce had a fourth goal ruled out for Leeds for pushing, and then Rochina squared things up from six yards with as many minutes remaining, before Diouf fired over from six yards after Givet's clearance went wrong.
Sat 1st Sep
Millwall3 - 1Middlesbro'
Barnsley1 - 0Bristol C
Birmingham1 - 0Peterboro
Leeds3 - 3Blackburn
Burnley1 - 3Brighton
C Palace2 - 1Sheff Wed
Ipswich2 - 2Huddersfld
Derby5 - 1Watford
N Forest2 - 1Charlton
Hull City3 - 1Bolton
Leicester1 - 0Blackpool
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