Chris Wood came off the bench to score the only goal of the game as Leeds United advanced into the last 16 of the EFL Cup at the expense of Blackburn Rovers.
The third round tie looked to be heading for extra-time with neither side able to score before Wood came up with a winner with a close range header six minutes from time after Blackburn keeper David Raya had parried his initial close range shot.
Leeds boss Garry Monk made seven changes from the side that won at Cardiff last Saturday, including giving Marco Silvestri a chance in goals, recalling Liam Cooper as captain and central defender and handing Lewie Coyle a chance to impress at right-back.
Surprisingly Kalvin Phillips was given the number 10 role behind lone front man Marcus Antonsson and Leeds struggled to create much after a near stunning start in the opening minute when Coyle’s long range volley was spectacular tipped over by Raya.
Liam Feeney headed an early chance wide for Blackburn, but this was not the prelude for a thriller in the first half with goalmouth action at a premium to prove the stayaway fans right.
A crowd of only 8,488 - the lowest at Elland Road for seven years - had to wait 43 minutes for United’s second shot, a Kemar Roofe angled 20-yard shot that went wide.
Blackburn did create a little more as Stephen Hendrie fired a shot just wide from the edge of the box, Elliott Bennett saw a shot deflected wide and Jack Byrne brought a good save out of Silvestri with a curling shot.
Roofe hit a low shot not far wide at the start of the second half, but the game still failed to come to life until both sides made substitutions, Pablo Hernandez and Wood came on for Leeds while Marvin Emnes, who scored for Blackburn at Elland Road last week, entered the fray for the visitors.
Silvestri made a flying leap to punch Feeney’s dangerous cross clear then made a great double save to keep Rovers out.
Emnes was given time to bring the ball down in the box, but Silvestri parried his shot then denied Feeney from close range.
From the resulting corner, Bennett hooked his shot wide at the near post.
Leeds put in a big finish, however, with Hernandez getting on the ball well and came close when Roofe’s header was grabbed on the line by Raya.
Hernandez fired over from an angle after getting in behind the Blackburn defence and his free-kick then evaded everyone only to be tipped wide by Raya.
United came up with their winner on 84 minutes when Hernandez’s shot was parried by the keeper, Roofe followed up with a cross and Wood beat Raya at the second attempt.
Roofe came close to a second goal a minute later as Roofe’s 20-yard shot was beaten away by Raya.
Blackburn managed only one chance in added time, but Charlie Taylor’s block denied Hope Akpan and it was Leeds who had the final effort as sub Matt Grimes saw his shot from range easily saved by Raya.
Leeds United 1
Blackburn Rovers 0
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
EFL Cup, third round
Leeds: Silvestri, Coyle, Cooper, Bartley, Taylor, Vieira (Hernandez 59), O’Kane, Phillips, Mowatt (Grimes 83), Roofe, Antonsson (Wood 72).
Blackburn: Raya, Lowe, Lenihan, Wharton (Nyambe 8), Hendrie, Akpan, Byrne, Feeney, Samuelsen (Mahoney 62), Bennett, Gallagher (Emnes 62).
Referee: Darren Deadman.