Leeds United 1 Bolton 0: Happy return for Becchio as he fires Leeds to victory
Wayne Gardiner, Press Association
18:21 GMT, 1 January 2013
00:38 GMT, 2 January 2013
Luciano Becchio returned to the Leeds
side and immediately got back in the scoring groove as the Whites
prevailed in a dire contest with Bolton.
The Argentinian striker was rested for
Saturday's 2-0 loss at Hull in which Leeds failed to register a shot on
target, but he showed his team-mates how it was done today as he scored
his 18th goal of the season from the spot after 65 minutes.
Bolton could stake a claim for an
undeserved defeat – they had the best of a torrid first half during
which they hit the post – but in the end Leeds just about edged it owing
to their second-half improvements.
Match winner: Becchio tucked away his second half penalty to give Leeds all three points
Becchio's goal after Tyrone Mears'
clumsy foul not only earned Neil Warnock's men a fifth straight home win
for the first time since 2009, it also booked him a spot in Leeds'
all-time top-10 leading goalscorers on 76.
Leeds: Kenny, Byram, Pearce, Tate, Peltier, Norris, Austin, Green, Diouf (Gray 90), Becchio, McCormack.
Subs: Ashdown, Drury, Lees, Brown, Somma, Hall.
Goals: Becchio 66 pen.
Bolton: Bogdan, Mears, Knight, Ream, Alonso, Andrews, Spearing (Butterfield 79),Lee (Afobe 68), Pratley (Ngog 68), Eagles, Kevin Davies.
Subs: Lonergan, Petrov, Ricketts, Sordell.
Referee: Phil Gibbs (West Midlands).
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It means United remain in touching
distance of the play-offs, but Warnock will surely still need new owners
GFH Capital to give him the backing he has asked for if they are to
mount a genuine push, as winning without playing well can only last for
With Rodolph Austin's deflected
12th-minute free-kick skipping wide Leeds had already improved on their
dismal display at Hull on Saturday where they did not register a shot,
and even though the Jamaica midfielder was also off target with the next
effort, they were at least showing some attacking intent.
In spite of their chances, Leeds were
well off the pace in the middle of the park and should have been behind
in the 20th minute.
Darren Pratley robbed Alan Tate of
possession in the centre circle and he and Kevin Davies worked the ball
to a clean-through Chris Eagles, but his shot clipped the post and went
Defeated: Bolton Wanderers manager Dougie Freedman was left looking dejected after today's loss
The long strides of Pratley were
giving Bolton the edge and after more good work from him Eagles should
have done better from the edge of the box, before the tricky winger
brought about the best moment of an awful half when he forced Paddy
Kenny to tip his 35-yard shot around the post.
The quality of play scarcely improved
after the break, Eagles dribbling one wide and Marcus Alonso thumping
over from distance, and even when a goal did arrive it was an ugly one.
Leeds built an attack with Austin
going down the right and, after his cross was not cleared, David Norris'
mishit pass rolled into McCormack who was ungainly bundled over by
Mears, allowing Becchio to send Adam Bogdan the wrong way for the second
time this season.
All of a sudden there was some energy
inside Elland Road and El-Hadji Diouf sent McCormack clear but he rushed
his shot and found the stand, before Becchio headed a Diouf corner
Bolton had to raise their own game and
David N'gog shouted in vain for a penalty when he was tackled by Tate,
but they had no way of getting a clear sight of Kenny's goal and were
left to rue Eagles' first-half near miss.