Kemar raises the Roofe at last
GARRY Monk expressed his delight for Kemar Roofe as his first goal for Leeds United put them on the path to victory against Aston Villa and moved them up to fourth in the Championship.
Chris Wood added a second deep into stoppage time as Aston Villa’s unbeaten run under Steve Bruce came to an end at Elland Road.
Despite a scrappy first half, Roofe’s header saw the stadium erupt when he got on the end of Souleymane Doukara’s cross and boss Monk was over the moon for the attacker.
“It’s been coming and it’s really good for him,” he said.
“His performances lately have warranted a goal but he’ll tell you it’s about the team and getting three points, but he’s contributed hugely lately so I’m pleased for him.
“When we got that goal that’s when we played our best football.
“I was disappointed with the first half but we looked strong after the goal and I think we always looked like extending that lead after we got the first.”
Despite the 32,648 fans inside Elland Road, it was a tepid first half with both sides well below par. Leeds centre-backs Kyle Bartley and the returning Pontus Jansson both squandered headers from corners whilst at the other end Gary Gardner’s touch let him down after he’d been put through on goal.
Villa only managed one shot on target the whole game, Ashley Westwood stinging the palms of Rob Green shortly after Albert Adomah pulled an effort wide when clean through on goal, leaving Bruce frustrated with his side’s inability to capitalise on their chances.
“Up until the first goal we’ve had the best opportunities in a game that wasn’t exactly enthralling,” Bruce said.
“You have to take those chances and we’ve had two just after the break, then we’ve made a mistake and it’s cost us the game. We’ve had to chase the game after that and it’s disappointing that we didn’t make more chances after Leeds had gone ahead. It’s a poor goal to concede from our point of view and it’s given Leeds the impetus to go on and win the game.”
Villa had a penalty appeal turned away shortly before the break when Green appeared to bring down Adomah, but Bruce wouldn’t lay blame at the referees’ door.
“It looks like Green has wiped out Adomah but I’d have to look at that one again, I’m not going to blame the officials for why we got beat here,” he added.
With the game stretched after Roofe’s opener, gaps appeared in the Villa defence and the pressure told deep into stoppage time.
Hadi Sacko ran through after a sloppy ball from Mile Jedinak, the attacker seeing his effort stopped by Gollini in goal only for Wood to run in to slam the ball home on the line and wrap up the points for Leeds.
It rounded off a good day for the hosts who saw Birmingham City, Huddersfield Town and Reading all drop points, leaving Leeds in fourth and just two points off Jaap Stam’s Royals in third.
With fans starting to look up, Monk is grateful for the constant support, adding: “The fans play a vital role and they’ve really stuck with us this season. An understanding has been struck between the players and the fans and you can see what it does to the players. They really pushed us over the line here.”
IN FULL FLIGHT: Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish attempts to evade Leeds’ Hadi Sacko