Two goals from recalled midfielder Luke Murphy proved enough for Leeds United to end their losing run and all but secure their Sky Bet Championship status for another year as they beat Blackpool 2-0.
Murphy had not scored since the opening day of the season and had sat out the previous three games after a run of bad form, but came up with a goal in each half after being given an attacking midfield role in a 3-5-2 formation to give the Whites the edge.
The £1 million signing from Crewe had a chance before he scored his first when getting on the end of a Ross McCormack pass, but could not quite control the ball and it was cleared for a corner.
But Murphy did find the net on 21 minutes following another superb McCormack pass in the box. He miss controlled with his first touch after getting clear, but stayed calm and dragged the ball back with one foot before beating keeper Matthew Gilks with his other.
McCormack went close with a flicked header from a Scott Wootton cross, but Leeds again failed to create many clear chances and breathed a sigh of relief on 34 minutes when Neal Bishop headed over for Blackpool.
The half did end more positively as Michael Tonge’s free-kick had to be saved at two attempts and United were just about value for their half-time lead.
Blackpool made a good start to the second half when David Goodwillie almost turned the ball in at the near post following a three-on-one break.
Andrew Holliday also went close before Stephen Warnock sent a shot over at the other end.
It was a better game now as Bishop’s header was easily saved by Jack Butland and McCormack had a shot blocked following a promising run into the box.
Tonge also saw a goalbound shot blocked, but Leeds doubled their lead on 73 minutes when Tom Lees’ long pass forward was headed on by substitute Noel Hunt and Murphy got beyond the strikers to beat Gilks to the ball and beat the keeper with a smart chip finish from an angle.
It was then just a matter of seeing the game out for the much needed three points and there were few defensive alarms. Indeed United came closest to more goals as McCormack had a shot and a free-kick saved by Gilks.
Brian McDermott was pleased for goal hero Murphy.
“The two finishes were terrific and he could have actually scored before the first one.
“You have to run forward and get beyond and he did that. We needed that win.
“A lot of stuff that has gone on has been positive. Thank God we’ve got Massimo Cellino and I’m pleased for him. The fans gave him a great reception, which I was pleased with.”
Leeds United 2
(Murphy 21, 73)
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Sky Bet Championship
Leeds: Butland; Lees, Zaliukas (White 81), Pearce; Wootton, Brown, Tonge, Murphy, Warnock; McCormack, Smith (Hunt 65).
Blackpool: Gilks; McMahon, Mackenzie, Cathcart, Robinson; Basham (Haroun 67), Perkins, Ferguson, Halliday (Keogh 74), Bishop; Goodwillie.
Referee: David Coote.