Leeds United were the dominate team against Bolton Wanderers today, as an early Caleb Ekuban goal and a 2nd half finish from Pablo Hernandez was enough for Leeds to grab all three points for only the second time since Boxing Day.
Easter miracles do happen, as Caleb Ekuban scored in the fourth minute. After a busted play from a corner kick, Pierre-Michel Lasogga got the ball out wide and he crossed for Pablo Hernandez at the near corner. Ekuban won the ball after the Hernandez headed the ball back towards him and even Ekuban could’t miss while he was unmarked in the box.
Bolton won a few corners in the next ten minutes, as they looked to use their height advantage to bully Leeds in the box from set pieces. An unmarked Jan Kirchoff headed over the goal from a corner, but otherwise the Bolton attack was largely unable to get a foothold in the Leeds box.
Panic in Bolton's box as Ekuban is dispossessed with a sliding tackle and a bit of dithering allows O'Kane to pounce on the loose ball. Alnwick rushes out to parry. 1-0 on 24 mins. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) March 30, 2018
Ekuban went for a tumble into the Bolton box and in the confusion, Eunan O’Kane tried to get to the loose ball, but he was denied by Bolton keeper Alnwick. Ekuban had made a couple decent runs forward, but his final efforts were either a misplaced pass or being dispossessed from a tackle.
Bolton had been enjoying a bulk of the possession without a lot to show for it, and Leeds fans would have felt lucky that Ekuban’s early effort went into the back of the net, because the team didn’t have a lot going forward. Gjanni Alioski got onto a loose ball and streaked foward but his shot went just past the post on a breakaway.
Lasogga headed wide from a corner kick as he was left wide open at the far post, but his header was extremely poor. From the edge of the six-yard box, you would have expected someone with his pedigree to score from that distance and in that situation.
CROSSBAR: Jansson heads against the bar after meeting Alioski's corner at the far post. Alnwick beaten. 1-0 on 45 mins. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) March 30, 2018
Pontus Jansson had a header come off the bar from another Leeds corner kick. A second goal would have been an almost impossible hill for Bolton to climb back from in the second half, and Leeds were once again left ruing another missed chance.
The first part of the second half once again saw Leeds grab another goal. Alisoki was set free down the right hand side of the pitch. He latched onto the ball and fired a shot that Alnwick was only able to direct into his six-yard box where Pablo Hernandez was able to get past two Bolton defenders to poke the ball home.
But because Leeds fans can’t have nice things, Bolton scored from a free kick. Adam LeFondre was able to nick a header at the near post that shot past Bailey Peacock-Farrell and into the back of the net.
Samu Saiz came on in about the 60th minute for Lasogga and along with it the club returned to the cursed 4-2-3-1 from the previous 4-4-2 formation. Caleb Ekuban was free on goal in the 68th minute, but his shot lacked power and Alnwick was able to save the ball. A better ball would have easily beaten the keeper, but to be fair to Ekuban, Alnwick did pull off a very good save after his defence had left him one v one with the striker.
Gjanni Alioski’s afternoon ended early in the 83rd minute as Jay-Roy Grot came on for the winger. Alioski had looked good all afternoon and was unlucky to not score in the first half. Leeds looked to hang on to the lead in the last ten minutes or so of the match. Matthew Pennington went close from a header in the 88th minute from a corner kick, but otherwise Leeds seemed to try and catch Bolton on the break as Bolton looked for an equaliser in vain.
CHANCE: Ekuban one on one but shoots against Alnwick. Played clean through by Saiz. Had to score. 2-1 on 90 mins. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) March 30, 2018
Ekuban had yet another great chance to score, but once again, Ekuban seemed to bottle it as Saiz did brilliantly to break free and his pass to Ekuban put the striker perfectly on goal, only for Ekuban to once again be unable to score.
Jansson and Bolton’s Wilbraham were both booked in stoppage time for an off the ball incident, but Leeds did just enough to finally pull out another win at home. While the match should have been put away sooner, with the number of wasted chances, Leeds did enough to pull through and get a victory.