A huge weekend for Leeds United’s promotion hopes nearly turned sour had it not been for Ezgjan Alioski’s inexplicable goal.
It certainly wasn’t the easy game United fans were expected from the arrival of 23rd placed Bolton Wanderers, who are on course to suffer relegation to the third tier of English football for the second time in five years.
Very different circumstances to the hosts.
Patrick Bamford converted an early penalty (16′) to kickstart what should have been a fairly routine victory before Bolton’s Mark Beevers responded almost immediately (22′).
Loanee Jack Harrison did well enough to clear David Wheater’s header off the line, but his teammates then failed to clear the danger from the box leaving open the opportunity for unlikely source Beevers to prod it home from close range (68′).
There were some nervy times for Bielsa’s men in the ensuing minutes with Magennis missing a golden chance to put his side ahead from Craig Noone’s freekick.
Soon after normality was restored.
Leeds United pressed on and, had it not been for the efforts of Bolton’s no.1 Matthews, probably should have been way ahead before the break following the saved efforts from Harrison and Bamford.
It took a freak goal to make all the difference. Alioski’s skewered cross somehow found its way past Matthews who tried his best to spare himself the embarrassment but could do little to prevent it from bouncing off the underside of the bar and crossing the line.
A decent enough performance from Leeds United but their inefficiency in front of goal was proven once again. It needs to improve.
That said, Patrick Bamford deserves extra credit from us. It’s not been easy for Bamford since arriving, having to battle a number of injuries before getting a chance, but he did extremely well to take his chance today.
The penalty was converted well and his hold up play was admirable. He probably could have scored a couple more, but with the three points that’ll all be forgotten.
He joined Leeds for £7.11 million (as per Transfer Markt), but thus far, he hasn’t really justified that price tag. However, with a couple of solid displays under his belt throughout February, perhaps he’s finally going to reward Leeds for their patience.
There’s certainly a gap for a lethal, consistent offensive player within the Leeds attack.
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