Leeds claimed a ‘double’ over their Lancashire rivals Bolton Wanderers, the 2-1 win wasn’t the hammering many had forecast and it was won thanks to a deflected Alioski shot that Matthews in the Bolton goal couldn’t keep out. Despite the win Leeds stay third as both Norwich City(3-2 v Bristol City) and Sheffield Utd.(1-0 at WBA) won.
The visitors were quick on the attack and it took a superb save from Kiko Casilla to deny Meggennis the opening goal, strangely the home side giving Connolly the freedom of Elland Road to supply the opening minute chance. From that Leeds surged forward and with Tyler Roberts linking well with Patrick Bamford and they deservedly went ahead on 16 minutes thanks to only the second penalty to be awarded this season, Roberts played a one-two with Harrison and was clattered in the area. Penalty!! Only the second one we’ve been awarded since JC was a lad.
There after a ‘discussion’ took place between Hernandez, Roberts and Bamford about who was taking the penalty, the seven million pound striker finally grabbing the ball and putting it confidently past Bolton keeper Matthews who dived the opposite direction.
Patrick’s third of the season.
With the home fans expecting more goals it was a major surprise when Bolton equalised, a corner was headed off the line by Harrison but the ball was not cleared, in the next breath the ball was put past Casilla by Beevers. From then on Leeds struggled to get behind their visitors but when they did Matthews denied Harrison with a superb save and also denied Bamford more than once.
To be honest Leeds were much better after their half time orange and with “We are the Champions, Champions of Europe” being sung by the faithful they were unlucky not to be ahead when Luke Ayling’s goal bound effort just went by the far post, Bamford was desperately close on getting on the end of a flick by Hernandez.
As in most games Leeds dominated possession but in many occasions the final ball wasn’t good enough to trouble the Bolton defence, when they did they found Matthews again in fine form. Bamford once again denied by the Bolton number twenty.
Leeds needed a little luck and got it on 68 minutes when Ezgjan Alioski shot from outside the area, his goal bound effort hit a defender’s outstretched leg and via the keepers hand and the bar bounced over the line to produce the unusual celebration that was first seen after Pontus Jansson’s goal against Swansea.
Alioski’s ‘Hands’ celebration.
There was a bust up between several players and Phil Parkinson seemed to aim a punch at Jansson, the end result was that the former Bradford City manager was sent to the stands after he was shown a red card by the referee. Both clubs might find themselves in trouble with the Football League because of the ill tempered incident.
What frustrated the home fans, myself included was the constant passing back in defence inviting the visitors on to them, mark my words this will cost Leeds in a forthcoming game. One thing is certain they will have to up their game a fair bit to have any hope of getting three points from next Friday’s ‘six pointer’ with West Bromwich Albion.
Bolton so nearly stole a point in injury time when substitute Sammy Ameobi’s shot from outside the penalty area just went past Kiko Casilla’s far post, I wasn’t the only one that thought that the ball had gone in and not took paint off the far post.
Leeds will head down south on Tuesday where they will face QPR at Loftus Road. The Londoners have lost seven straight games but will no doubt raise their game because ‘it’s Leeds next’, another team that will be hard to beat despite their recent form.
Not the prettiest of games but the three points were very welcome, stand out players; Alioski had a good game as did Hernandez, Roberts was ‘busy’ and Cooper at the back. Casilla for the superb save when the game was scoreless and impressed throughout.
Man of the Match: Tyler Roberts, always available and put in a good performance before being substituted, just shaded the accolade from Ezgjan Alioski.
By Keith Ingham