Bolton 1 Leeds United 1: Redfearn’s bold selection choice is vindicated as United secure point

Leeds boss Neil Redfearn.
Leeds boss Neil Redfearn.
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LEEDS UNITED fans present at Bolton will not have needed to be told twice about the club’s apocalyptic visit in May 2004.

It culminated in relegation to the second tier amid a flood of tears and while the stakes were nowhere near as high as on that fateful Spring day, this had the potential to be a prophetic afternoon in Leeds’s season.

The storm warnings beforehand were not exclusively concerning the weather, with Leeds mindful defeat and results elsewhere could have seen them plunge into the drop zone.

Thankfully, events were more benign, albeit in torrid conditions, as Leeds became the second side to take something from Bolton since October 4.

It may have extended their winless sequence to seven games and run without a goal in open play in all competitions to 10 and a half hours, but it was a sound performance that needs to be acknowledged.

Neil Redfearn made some bold changes in promoting Steve Morison to the starting line-up, dropping Mirco Antenucci – and Adryan and Souleymane Doukara from the squad altogether – and retaining Luke Murphy and Casper Sloth.

He was vindicated, but the point will only be a good one if they beat Birmingham City on Saturday.

Leeds took the lead on three minutes when Rudy Austin blasted home from the spot after Andy Lonergan was penalised for bringing down Sam Byram, impressive in an advanced role.

The leveller arrived on 48 minutes when Eidur Gudjohnsen netted another penalty after Luke Murphy was penalised for felling Darren Pratley.

Redfearn said: “It’s a great result. We’ve got to be tough, but in the last three away games we’ve got two points, at Forest and Bolton who are good sides.”

“Our away form’s been hit and miss, but it feels like we’re turning that round.”

Bolton Wanderers: Lonergan, Mills, Ream, Dervite (Wheater 67), Vela, Feeney, Trotter (C Davies 73), Danns, Pratley, Gudjohnsen (Walker 90), Heskey. Unused substitutes: Bogdan, Moxey, Spearing.

Leeds United: Silvestri, Berardi, Bellusci, Cooper, C Taylor, Byram, Austin, Murphy, Cook, Sloth (Mowatt 85), Morison. Unused substitutes: S Taylor, Pearce, Bianchi, Montenegro, Antenucci, Sharp.

Referee: A Woolmer (Northants).

Man of the match: Sam Byram.