Leeds United 1-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • January 01, 2013 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/c0a18

Luciano Becchio scored the only goal of the game as Bolton began 2013 with a 1-0 defeat at Leeds United.

In a game of few chances for either side, United were awarded a penalty in the 66th minute - as Ross McCormack was brought down by Tyrone Mears inside the Wanderers box.

Becchio stepped up to send Adam Bogdan the wrong way and claim the three points for Neil Warnock's side and condemn the visitors to their tenth defeat in the Championship this season.

Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman opted to stick with the same side that beat Birmingham City on Saturday, with David Ngog recalled to the bench after recovering from injury.

Both sides struggled to get going on a blustery afternoon at Elland Road and the first talking point arrived with eight minutes gone, as Leeds full-back Sam Byram was shown a yellow card for a synical foul on Lee Chung-Yong.

The first shot of the game fell the way of Leeds. With 12 minutes on the clock, Rodolph Austin let fly with a 35-yard free-kick, only to see it deflect off a Wanderers defender and behind for a corner.

Bolton's first big chance came midway through the half. Neat play involving Darren Pratley and Kevin Davies resulted in the latter picking out Chris Eagles. The former Burnley midfielder cut inside from the left flank and shot across goal, only to see his strike clip the outside of the post and go behind for a goal-kick.

A nasty collision involving Austin and Jay Spearing resulted in the Wanderers midfielder receiving treatment for an ankle knock just before the half hour, but the on-loan Liverpool man managed to shrug off the problem and continue.

Eagles, who had earlier come close to breaking the deadlock, brought a fine save out of Paddy Kenny inside the final ten minutes of the first half. The Wanderers wide-man picked up possession and hit the target with a 30-yard strike, only to be denied by the fingertips of Kenny, who pushed the ball behind.

That would prove to be the final strike of a lackluster half, with the two sides going in goalless at the break.

Both sides came out unchanged for the start of the second period and the first chance fell at the feet of Bolton's Marcos Alonso, who had raced forward, but could only succeed in firing over the top of Kenny's crossbar.

Leeds saw appeals for a penalty turned down just before the hour, but they were celebrating with 65 minutes on the clock, as McCormack went down under a challenge from Mears inside the Bolton box - with referee Philip Gibbs promptly pointing to the spot.

Becchio stepped up to take the resulting penalty and sent Bogdan the wrong way from 12-yards to give Leeds the breakthrough that neither team really deserved.

Spurred on by the goal, the hosts continued to push men forward and should have doubled their lead just 60 seconds later, only for McCormack to fire high over the bar when presented with a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Becchio headed over the bar from an El-Hadji Diouf corner on 74 minutes, before substitute Ngog missed arguably Bolton's best chance of the game.

The Frenchman, who had come on as a substitute for Pratley, found himself unmarked inside the Leeds box. He was teed up by Kevin Davies, but failed to keep his balance and subsequently fired his shot high into the stand behind the goal.

With five minutes to go, Ngog went down inside the Leeds area under a crunching challenge from Alan Tate, but the referee signalled play on and that would prove to be the last foray into opposition territory - as Leeds held on to claim all three points.

Bolton take a break from league action on Saturday, with Premier League Sunderland the visitors to the Reebok Stadium in the third round of the FA Cup.

Leeds United: Kenny, Byram, Pearce, Tate, Peltier, Norris, Austin, Green, Diouf (Gray 90), Becchio, McCormack
Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Drury, Lees, Brown, Somma, Hall
Booked: Byram
Goals: Becchio 66(pen)

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Mears, Knight, Ream, Alonso, Andrews, Spearing (Butterfield 79), Chung-Yong (Afobe 68), Pratley (Ngog 68), Eagles, K Davies
Subs Not Used: Lonergan, Petrov, Ricketts, Sordell
Booked: Afobe, Andrews

Referee: Philip Gibbs
Attendance: 22,386

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Pos Team Pld Pts
20 Tranmere Rovers 2 0
21 Peterborough United 2 0
22 Southend United 2 0
23 Bolton Wanderers 2 -11
24 Bury 0 -12
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