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Ince starts with defeat
Published : 20 Feb 2013 22:17:14
Paul Ince's return to the dugout with Blackpool was spoiled by a Leeds side who emerged from a period of managerial confusion themselves to secure a 2-0 win.
Ince made the Seasiders his sixth club on Monday when he replaced Michael Appleton. However, under-fire Leeds boss Neil Warnock galvanised his men to produce their best performance in months, with David Norris and Steve Morison scoring second-half goals that were due reward for a dominant performance.
A top-six finish in the npower Championship still looks ambitious, with Leeds six points off the play-offs with a game in hand. But their odds are better than Blackpool, who are five points above the bottom three with two wins in 11.
The hosts managed to stifle a Blackpool team who relied heavily on Ince's son, Thomas Ince, and Matt Phillips for creativity and were rarely in the contest despite some errant United finishing.
Former Blackpool striker Luke Varney was twice the guilty party, mis-hitting wide after a Morison cross and then heading straight at Matt Gilks from six yards when he had the majority of the goal to aim at after Ross McCormack's cross.
McCormack himself was not blameless as he could not get his feet sorted after Morison got to the byline and beat Gilks to tee up a free shot from close range, while Norris - making his 400th league appearance - was shut down by a brilliant Stephen Crainey block.
Blackpool tried to rally through two Phillips efforts that Paddy Kenny dealt with, while at the other end Leeds continued to squander chances. When Gilks failed to push away a Varney cross, Morison unselfishly rolled the ball into McCormack's path but, even with a half-empty goal to aim at, he found the sprawling body of his fellow Scotland international.
Blackpool's response to that was at last a serious one, Kenny at his best to keep out Ludovic Sylvestre's 30-yard effort and then Phillips from closer in, but the common order of play resumed in the second half as Varney skewed wide from close in, clipping the post as he did so.
A goal did arrive in the 57th minute, as Norris comprehensively cracked in a right-footed shot from the edge of the box after Varney's cross fell to him via the back of Tom Lees' head. Three minutes later Blackpool handed Leeds another, with Morison the grateful recipient of a first strike since leaving Norwich last month.
Sam Byram's cross should have been cleared by Crainey, but he inexplicably passed it to the standing Morison who beat Gilks with a smart eight-year finish. Blackpool now had a problem but their answer to it was in the negative, with Kenny not worked as Leeds saw the game out with ease.