Report: Leeds 1-0 BoltonIN BRIEF
Bolton Wanderers were edged out by a solitary goal at Elland Road.
Stephen Warnock's driven effort had given the hosts an early lead in Yorkshire, but the Trotters themselves had earlier hit the woodwork through Joe Mason.
Dougie Freedman’s men did rally in the second period and dominated proceedings in the clash with a number of opportunities to draw level, but their hard work was ultimately in vain as Leeds held out for the win.
Adam Bogdan returned to Wanderers’ starting eleven after missing the midweek cup clash with Crewe due to a cut he sustained to his eye against Brighton, while Craig Davies and Joe Mason returned to lead the line for the Whites.
The home side started the game brightly in a sun soaked Elland Road, with Billy Sharp proving himself to be a handful early on in the clash but failing to trouble Adam Bogdan in the Bolton goal.
Wanderers responded with pressure of their own moments later as Tim Ream swung the ball across the face of goal, but his effort eluded the advancing Wanderers strike force.
Dougie Freedman was then forced into an early change with just seven minutes on the clock as David Wheater sustained an injury, with Dorian Dervite slotting into the heart of defence in his place alongside Matt Mills.
The break in play appeared to be just what Wanderers needed with Joe Mason collecting Jay Spearing’s pass before unleashing the ball in on goal from an acute angle, but the hand of Marco Silvestri somehow pushed his effort onto the crossbar.
Having survived the Trotters’ golden chance, Leeds did hit back soon after but a long range effort by Sharp cleared the goalmouth with Bogdan untroubled.
After failing to really trouble the Bolton goalkeeper however, the hosts did open the scoring with 17 minutes as Stephen Warnock’s tight angled drive somehow nestled into the far bottom corner of the net.
Despite Leeds being visibly boosted by their opener, Wanderers still looked dangerous on the attack with Lee Chung-Yong and Joe Mason coming close to levelling the scores for the Trotters.
A thorn in the United defence from the off, Craig Davies also tried his luck from the edge of the box after he turned his man, only to see his shot ripple the side netting courtesy of the tight angle.
Still looking dangerous on the break, Wanderers almost capitalised on a lapse in concentration in the Leeds defence as Davies, on the turf, somehow looped the ball into the path of Mason who fired the ball straight at Silvestri.
As the fourth official indicated that there would be two minutes of added time, Sharp almost doubled Leeds’ advantage as he raced in on goal, but the frontman’s eventual effort fizzed over the crossbar.
Wanderers themselves also enjoyed a chance to find the back of the net before the half’s conclusion, with Mason again forcing Silvestri into a smart save from an acute angle but it was in vain as Leeds entered the half time break with their lead intact.
Wanderers started the second period with vigour, Mason finding Davies in the box inside the opening minute only for the striker’s header to skew wide.
A knock sustained to Bogdan early on halted play briefly as the Bolton shot-stopper collided with Sharp, but the Hungarian was able to continue in the clash.
Leeds were forced to withdraw goalscorer Warnock with 54 minutes gone as the full-back collided with Hayden White on the byline, with the former Bolton loanee being helped off the pitch.
Following Warnock’s withdrawal, Jay Spearing came within inches of pulling Wanderers level with a driven effort through a crowded Leeds penalty area only to see Silvestri deny him, but Mason was unable to capitalise on the rebound with Giuseppe Bellusci having cleared Leeds’ lines.
With Wanderers visibly growing in confidence with each passing attack, Leeds were struggling to really force their way out of their own half and were almost undone as Lee Chung-Yong saw his shot from the edge of the box cleared off the goal-line with 65 minutes on the clock.
Having failed to trouble Wanderers throughout the opening 20 minutes of the second period, Bellusci almost created a golden opportunity as he played the ball through the legs of Dervite yards from goal, but luckily for the Whites there was not a Leeds body in the box to finish the job.
Bolton were soon back on top in the clash however, with Davies winning yet another free-kick just outside the penalty area with Neil Danns forcing the Leeds keeper into a smart save at the near post.
With 13 minutes remaining, Jermaine Beckford came into the fold to face his former employers in place of the industrious Davies, with the striker receiving applause from both sets of fans.
As the clock ran down, Wanderers were still the side in the ascendancy and with the introduction of Liam Feeney, it was a case of all hands to the pump for the visitors as the game entered its final stage.
With five minutes of time added on, Wanderers looked to have pulled themselves level deep into stoppage time as Beckford found himself unmarked yards away from goal, but the Leeds keeper somehow denied him and kept out Lee’s rebounded effort to secure all three points for Leeds.