Bolton Wanderers: DLDDW
Against Bolton: DDWWW
At Home vs Bolton: LLWLW
Leeds: Peacock-Farrel, Berardi, Pennington, Jansson, Dallas, O’Kane, Vieira Alioski, Hernandez, Lasogga, Ekuban, Subs: Lonergan, Anita, Pearce, Phillips, Cibicki, Saiz, Grot
Bolton: Alnwick, Flanaghan, Beevers, Burke, Osede, Taylor, Kirchoff, Vela, Buckley, Ameobi, Le Fondre Subs: Howard, Little, Karacan, Wilbraham, Morais, Wheater, Clough
Leeds United picked up their second win under Paul Heckingbottom at Elland Road on what turned out to be a very Good Friday for the Whites.
Goals from Caleb Ekuban and Pablo Hernandez gave leeds a two goal cushion as they took control of a game against a side fresh from a victory against promotion challengers Aston Villa.
Leeds started well and within a minute nearly too the lead after Caleb Ekuban sneaked past a defender and stole the ball from an errant pass back, his layoff to Alioski looked to give Leeds a guaranteed chance but the wingers curling effort was just wide. The second time the chance came round Leeds were not going to disappoint. Lasogga strayed out wide and fired a ball into Pablo Hernandez, without any control it fell to a perfectly placed Ekuban who was able to bury the ball in the far corner.
For most of the first half Leeds were the team in control with the brilliant interplay of Lasogga, Hernandez and Alioski giving Leeds the edge and an abundance of half chances. It wasn’t until the end of the first half when Leeds had a glorious opportunity to go in at half time with a two goal cushion after Pontus Jansson’s header clashed again the crossbar.
Straight after the half Leeds were back in control and if it wasn’t for some brilliant keeping by Bolton stopper Ben Alnwick Pablo Hernandez would have doubled the lead within minutes of the restart. Alnwick’s presence in goal would be a common pest as the game went on.
The home side picked up their second goal when a world class pass was sent from Vieira’s boot straight to Alioski’s chest. The winger cut inside and saw his blistering effort parried away from goal only for Pablo Hernandez to catch the rebound (twice) and poke it into the net.
Bolton didn’t want to make the game easier however and not long after the restart they pulled one back after Adam LeFondre was able to climb above everyone and head in a free kick from Sammy Ameobi. Leeds then seemed to sit back and favour a counter attacking approach as Bolton looked to throw everything forward.
Caleb Ekuban had been a key figure today and continued to battle for the ball being Leeds’ main outlet. On two occasions this payed off as the forward was sent through on goal but could not deliver the killer blow. If Ekuban is to consider a real option for next season, he needs to take the chances gifted to him.
Leeds take the three points in a game that would have been expected to win and now look to Tuesday against promotion hopefuls Fulham. However, Heckingbottom will now have a minor selection headache with the likes of Vieira, Ekuban and Alioski showing their worth today.
Man of the Match: Ronaldo Vieira who looked like one of his namesakes today as he battled for every ball in Leeds’ midfield. Vieira showed the skill and strength in the game that made it all too easy to love him last season.
By Ryan Ingham