Ke­mar raises the Roofe at last

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Richard Laverty

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.”

PICTURES: Ac­tion Images

IN FULL FLIGHT: As­ton Villa’s Jack Gre­al­ish at­tempts to evade Leeds’ Hadi Sacko

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