The Whites looked to be heading for an important victory when leading at half-time through Souleymane Doukara’s seventh goal of the season, but the game was turned on its head in a dramatic final 20 minutes as hosts Blackburn scored twice either side of having Tom Cairney sent off.
Head coach Neil Redfearn was critical of his defenders after another calamitous mix-up resulted in the first Blackburn goal and was unhappy his side had not taken all three points.
He said: “The first goal is a mix-up between the goalkeeper and the centre-back. I would say the goalkeeper is favourite, he’s coming on to it.
“It happened at Cardiff, we have to sort it out. It’s part of growing up, I said it to them in the dressing room afterwards.
“The criticism I aimed to them wasn’t about the performance, because that was good, it’s the stuff that gets us across the line. They should be nowhere near this game because they were passed out of it.”
Redfearn named an unchanged side from the one that had beaten Blackpool before the international break with Liam Cooper keeping his place in the back four and Giuseppe Bellusci only on the bench on his return from suspension.
Leeds had the first half-chance as home keeper Jason Steele came off his line to deny Adryan after he got away from his marker.
Cairney’s curling effort hit the top of the crossbar at the other end before Marco Silvestri was called into his first serious action to keep out Ben Marshall’s low shot.
United went close to the opening goal when Adryan’s shot from the edge of the box was superbly saved by Steele.
Lewis Cook then saw his half-volley deflected behind and from the resulting corner the Whites took the lead. Blackburn could not clear Adryan’s corner and Doukara pounced to score the only goal of the first half.
Leeds started the second half positively with Cook seeing his shot saved comfortably by Steele and Alex Mowatt curling a strike wide.
Rhodes was denied by Silvestri and Rudy Gestede fired wide as the hosts remained dangerous.
But when an equaliser came it was easy for Rhodes as he was left with an empty net after Silvestri and Cooper were involved in a dreadful mix-up.
United’s response was initially good as Adryan put Mirco Antenucci through, but he was unlucky to see his shot come back off the post.
Blackburn were then reduced to 10 men when Cairney’s late challenge on Cooper saw him sent-off for his second cautionable offence.
However, it was Blackburn who came up with a controversial late winner when former Leeds player Luke Varney went down easily in the box under a Sam Byram challenge and Rhodes put away the resulting disputed penalty.
Blackburn Rovers 2 (Rhodes 71, 87 pen)
Leeds United 1 (Doukara 33)
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Sky Bet Championship
Blackburn: Steele, Baptiste, Hanley, Duffy, Olsson, Cairney, Evans (Taylor 89), Williamson (Tunnicliffe 65), Marshall, Rhodes, Gestede (Varney 73).
Leeds: Silvestri, Byram, Pearce, Cooper, Warnock, Mowatt, Cook (Sharp 88), Bianchi (Bellusci 76), Adryan, Doukara, Antenucci.
Referee: Kevin Wright