Bolton Wanderers 0-1 Leeds United

  • September 14, 2013 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton are in the midst of their worst start to a season in 50 years, after losing 1-0 to Leeds United at the Reebok Stadium.

Luke Varney's sixth minute header, from a Luke Murphy corner, was the difference between the two sides, who managed just three shots on target in the whole game between them.

The closest Wanderers came to equalising was when Darren Pratley flashed a shot inches wide in second half stoppage time, but Dougie Freedman's toothlessness in front of goal cost them dear yet again as they slipped to a fifth successive defeat in all competitions.

After defeat at Blackburn Rovers before the international break, Freedman made four changes to the side that started at Ewood Park. Matt Mills, Tim Ream, Marc Tierney and Chris Eagles all came in, with Tyrone Mears, David Wheater, Medo Kamara and Jermaine Beckford all dropping to the bench.

The first chance of the game fell the way of the hosts, but Pratley's looping header lacked the necessary power to trouble Paddy Kenny in the Leeds goal.

At the other end, with six minutes gone, the visitors showed how it should be done, as they went ahead with their first attempt of the match. Murphy's corner from the right picked out the run of Varney inside the Wanderers box. He glanced his header across goal and into the bottom corner, leaving Adam Bogdan with no chance.

Bolton responded brightly as, first, Eagles fired wide from 35 yards, before David Ngog saw a strike roll across the Leeds goalmouth. Ngog was involved again soon after, but he was adjudged to have handled the ball just prior to bringing a smart save out of Kenny.

The Frenchman tried his luck again as the game approached the 20 minute mark, but he sliced his shot well off target after a neat one-two with Eagles. Pratley also shot wide with half-an-hour on the clock, as Bolton were found guilty of wasting clear goalscoring opportunities.

With their first attack since taking the lead, Leeds then came close to doubling their advantage. Ross McCormack did well to control a long-ball, before narrowly striking his shot over the top of the crossbar.

Noel Hunt dragged a shot across goal as the game entered the final five minutes of the first half, before Jay Spearing cleared the bar at the other end.

The final chance of the opening 45 minutes fell the way of the visitors, and should have resulted in another goal. Ream was caught in possession and a Leeds counter-attack resulted in the ball falling kindly to Varney on the edge of the box. With one goal already to his name, Varney shaped to curl a shot into the bottom corner but bent his effort inches wide of the far post with Bogdan beaten.

Having taken their one-goal lead into the break, there were no changes to either side at the start of the second half - as both managers looked for more of the same in terms of attacking threat, but with a little more accuracy in terms of getting their shots on target.

The opening stages of the second period were halted somewhat by an injury to United defender Lee Peltier, who was replaced by substitute Tom Lees.

Things were a little flat, although the referee, Andy D'Urso had to go to his pocket on two occasions to issue yellow cards to both Mills and Spearing.

With an hour on the clock, Bolton made their first change of the match as Beckford came on against his former club - taking the place of Zat Knight. The captaincy was handed to Eagles, who was soon replaced by Robert Hall. The armband was then given to Pratley.

At the midway stage of the half, Varney brought a smart low stop out of Bogdan before controversy struck at the other end. Having worked his way inside the Leeds box, Hall went down six yards from goal. Despite the protests of players and supporters, alike, referee D'Urso ordered play to continue.

A half-chance then fell the way of Beckford, but he failed to make the desired contact from a Tierney cross that could have resulted in an equalising goal.

Pratley was booked for a late challenge on Hunt as the game entered the final 15 minutes, before Michael Tonge shot wide from the edge of the box as Leeds pressed for a second.

Murphy fired over shortly afterwards, before a shot from Ngog fizzed inches wide of the target at the other end. Medo shot wide, moments after coming on for Tierney, before Pratley did the same with stoppage time looming.

Five minutes of added time were indicated by the fourth official, in which Pratley and Lee Chung-Yong both came close for Bolton. It was a case of wasted opportunities for Wanderers, however, as Leeds held on to claim an away win which consigns Freedman's side to their worst start since 1963.

The Trotters return to action on Tuesday evening, when they play host to Derby County at the Reebok Stadium. The Rams were victorious at Millwall this afternoon, winning 5-1 at The Den.

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Mills, Baptiste, Knight (Beckford 62), Ream, Tierney (Kamara 85), Eagles (Hall 68), Spearing, Pratley, Chung-Yong, Ngog
Subs Not Used: Mears, Moritz, Lonergan, Wheater
Booked: Mills, Spearing, Pratley

Leeds United: Kenny, Peltier (Lees 54), Wootton, Pearce, Warnock, Austin, Tonge, Murphy, McCormack, Varney, Hunt
Subs Not Used: Green, Smith, Diouf, Poleon, Cairns, Mowatt
Goals: Varney 6

Referee: Andy D'Urso
Attendance: 19,622

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Accrington Stanley 0 0
2 Barnsley 0 0
3 Bolton Wanderers 0 0
4 Bristol Rovers 0 0
5 Burton Albion 0 0
View Full Standings >>


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