Leeds United saw its week start off with news that Massimo Cellino was banned and, despite two consecutive draws, sat dangerously close to the relegation zone. However, in motivated fashion, the club rallied around each other and put any negativity in the rearview mirror en route to a massive three points.
The scoreline over AFC Bournemouth may have only been 1-0, but the heart and grit that countless Whites displayed on the pitch in front of a small, but vociferous, home crowd paved the way for a result for the ages. With the win the club now sits in 19th place with 29 points and seems to be on an upward trajectory towards more promising football pastures. Below is some insight into the match as well as what went right and wrong in the affair.
Luke Murphy: The 25-year-old Englishman has paved his way back into Neil Redfearn's starting eleven with virtue and class. Previously out of the 18 altogether, Murphy now seems to be an integral part of what Leeds does on the pitch and is blossoming finely in his holding midfield role. Against the Cherries, Murphy turned in another man-of-the-match performance and bossed the center of the park alongside his midfield partners. He could be seen getting stuck in on multiple occasions and stringing passes together, but the pick of the litter was undoubtedly his game-winning strike in the 36th minute. And what a strike it was.
Lewis Cook: The 17-year-old academy product turned in a virtuoso performance against Bournemouth. To many in observance at Elland Road, he was the best player on the pitch for either side. It seems that the small-statured midfielder is truly coming into his own in the newly instituted 4-2-3-1 formation and is going to be one of the first names penciled into the team sheet for weeks to come. Judging by Redfearn's post match comments, he surely thinks that the U-18 England international is indispensable.
Redfearn says Lewis Cook was "the best player on the pitch by a mile" - "He's a Leeds boy through & through, that's the best thing." #lufc— Leeds United FC (@LUFC) January 20, 2015
Clean Sheet: Even though Luke Murphy's blistering finish was the talk of the town, a great deal of credit must be given to the back four and Marco Silvestri for keeping Bournemouth from finding the back of the net. The Cherries lead the Championship with 57 goals scored, so preventing them from firing home a single shot is an extremely impressive feat. Even more impressively, one has to look all the way back to the 2-0 win over Derby County on November 29th for the last time Leeds kept their opponent scoreless. Redfearn and his squad will surely look to build on this in future fixtures.
Bellusci Sees Red: One of the pivotal moments of the match was Giuseppe Bellusci's challenge in the 86th minute that drew a red card from referee Oliver Langford. It set up a nervy final ten minutes or so in the match and even presented Bournemouth with a golden opportunity to find an equalizer via a penalty kick. Fortunately for Bellusci, Yann Kermorgant missed the ensuing attempt, but the red card will nonetheless hurt a Leeds side that is rounding into form. Bellusci has been an integral part of the resurgence and it was his second red card of the season to boot.
Adryan Missing Again: The Brazilian playmaker seems an ideal fit for the attacking midfield role in the new 4-2-3-1 formation, but he was again missing from the squad altogether on Tuesday night. While the team has been getting results without him, it is slightly disappointing to see a player with such talent and flair unable to crack the lineup. One explanation for his absence is that the qualities Leeds has thrived on in recent weeks - determination and collective intensity - are not part of his repertoire.