What a game that was. Remember last Saturday vs. Charlton at the Valley? Where Leeds slept through the first half and dominated the second, but nothing would go in? The Thursday night game at Wolverhampton could've been that, part two. Instead, after sleeping through the first 30 minutes, having only Stuart Dallas' 7th minute chance, and allowing a 10th minute (offside?) goal to Wolves young striker Benik Afobe, Steve Evans made a change.
Apparently seeing an opportunity to exploit, Evans subbed out Tom Adeyemi after giving the team a thorough dressing down on the sideline. On came Souleymane Doukara, a bench regular since the signing of Stuart Dallas, and everything changed. Moving to a 4-4-2, Leeds dominated the final 15 minutes of the first half behind a spectacular performance from Doukara and a 45th minute goal from Sam Byram, who earned his start and more over the course of this game.
BYRAM puts the three dimensional circular object into the web!— Through It All: LIVE (@ThruItAllLIVE) December 17, 2015
If going into half at 1-1 felt like a win, the dominant performance of the second half was even better. Dallas put one in between the Wolves keeper and the near post in the 52nd, and Byram added another off a spectacular floating header in the 61st. Though the final minutes were nervy after Nathan Byrne scored in the 81st, bringing the score to 3-2, Leeds would hold on to win the contest and the three points in what might called be the best win yet under Steve Evans.
The Whites jump to 14th place in the middle of a crowded Championship table (3 points from 8th, 3 points from 18th). In a quick turnaround, Leeds plays 16th place Preston North End on Sunday.
Leeds United (@LUFC) December 18, 2015
As we mentioned earlier this week here on Through It All Together though, it's never simple with Leeds United, and questions and subplots abound after the win. Did Evans choose Byram for the lineup against the wishes of Cellino? Will Mowatt return to a starting role or will Byram now take his place more regularly? Will Byram's brace and Man of the Match honors make him more likely to sign a contract or more likely to leave? Did Doukara have enough of a breakout performance to warrant a start? Will a back line of Wootton-Bellusci-Taylor-Cooper be enough in the absence of Berardi?
We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading (and thanks for the brace, Sam Byram). #MOT