Leeds United 2-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • March 30, 2018 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/a367b

Bolton missed an opportunity to edge closer to Championship safety, conceding early in each half as they were beaten 2-1 at Leeds United.

Wanderers fell behind inside four minutes at Elland Road, as Caleb Ekuban fired past Ben Alnwick from close range, while Pablo Hernandez, creater of the opener, added a second five minutes after the restart.

Adam Le Fondre pulled one back on 53 minutes for the visitors, who came close to an equaliser shortly afterwards when Sammy Ameobi fired wide, but it was Leeds who took the points as the Trotters continue to hover six points above the relegation zone.

Phil Parkinson made two changes to the Bolton team that started the victory over Aston Villa before the international break, bringing Derik Osede and Jan Kirchhoff back into the side in place of the injured Darren Pratley and Karl Henry.

With the action underway, it was Leeds who began the better of the two teams, with Ezgjan Alioski curling an effort over the crossbar inside the opening three minutes.

Wanderers failed to heed the warning signs and fell behind just a minute later. Pierre-Michel Lasogga's cross from the left was headed down by Hernandez, allowing Ekuban to smash home unopposed from inside the six-yard box to make it 1-0 to the home side.

The visitors came close to equalising on 10 minutes, when a corner from Sammy Ameobi was headed over by Kirchhoff, but it was Leeds who continued to look the more threatening - especially on the break - with Lasogga volleying over at the other end after getting on the end of a cross from Alioski.

Comfortable with their advantage, Leeds afforded Bolton plenty of possession as the half progressed, but Parkinson's side failed to make this count as they struggled to press into the final third.

They were almost made to pay for their lack of intensity on 35 minutes, as United pushed forward in a move which ended with Alioski dragging a shot wide of Alnwick's far post.

Lasogga glanced a header wide from another corner from the next attack, shortly before the hosts came close to doubling their advantage when a miscued clearance from Mark Beevers rippled the side-netting of his own goal.

They then hit the woodwork from the corner-kick that followed, with Pontus Jansson getting in ahead of Alnwick before seeing his header crash back off the bar - with Leeds forced to settle for a one-goal cushion going into the interval.

There were no changes to either team as the players came back out for the start of the second period, which began in similar fashion to the first.

Just as they did in the opening 45 minutes, Leeds fired a warning shot as Hernandez forced Alnwick into an outstanding save from the edge of the box. But the ball was in the back of the net moments later, as the hosts doubled their advantage.

Hernandez, who was denied with his previous attempt, gambled after Alnwick could only parry a shot from Alioski and was given his just rewards with his second goal in three games - making the score 2-0 to Leeds.

Bolton, who had failed to muster a single shot on target by this point, came close when Ameobi saw a deflected strike loop into the arms of Bailey Peacock-Farrell, but they were back in the game on 53 minutes as they reduced the deficit to one.

With Ameobi standing over a free-kick on the right-hand side, his cross into the United box picked out Le Fondre, who powered a header beyond Peacock-Farrell to make it 2-1.

Wanderers then wasted two glorious chances to get themselves back on level terms, with Ameobi first seeing a powerful drive from 20 yards flash inches wide of the post, before a cross from Jon Flanagan was somehow headed wide at the far post as Will Buckley looked to net against his former club.

Ekuban was denied his second of the afternoon with 20 minutes to go, with Alnwick making a reaction save with his boot, shortly before Ameobi saw a goalbound effort cleared to safety at the other end by Eunan O'Kane.

Bolton introduced fresh legs in an attempt to get back on level terms, with both Aaron Wilbraham and Zach Clough now involved in the action, but it was Leeds who looked the more likely goalscorers and they were denied a third in stoppage time as Alnwick once again produced an outstanding save to keep out Ekuban.

There were to be no further chances for the visitors, though, as they slipped to a first defeat on the road in four games. They remain 19th in the Championship table, six points clear of the relegation zone, ahead of Tuesday's visit of Birmingham City to Macron Stadium.

Leeds United: Peacock-Farrell, Dallas, Jansson, Pennington, Berardi, Alioski (Grot 83), Vieira, O'Kane, Hernandez, Ekuban, Lasogga (Saiz 62)
Subs Not Used: Lonergan, Anita, Cibicki, Phillips, Pearce
Booked: Dallas, Jansson
Goals: Ekuban 4, Hernandez 50

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, A Taylor (Clough 89), Beevers, Burke, Flanagan, Osede, Kirchhoff (Wilbraham 73), Vela, Buckley (Morais 66), Ameobi, Le Fondre
Subs Not Used: Howard, Little, Karacan, Wheater
Booked: Osede, Wilbraham
Goals: Le Fondre 53

Referee: Geoff Eltringham
Attendance: 35,377

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Sky Bet Championship Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
20 Reading 46 47
21 Millwall 46 44
22 Rotherham United 46 40
23 Bolton Wanderers 46 32
24 Ipswich Town 46 31
View Full Standings >>

Poll

Who is Bolton's 2018/19 Player of the Year?
34.62% Gary O'Neil
19.38% David Wheater
18.92% Pawel Olkowski
9.27% Joe Williams
5.33% Jason Lowe
4.13% Sammy Ameobi
2.85% Josh Magennis
2.75% Mark Beevers
1.19% Jack Hobbs
1.01% Ben Alnwick
0.28% Andrew Taylor
0.28% Craig Noone