Bolton Wanderers 0 Leeds United 1: Whites topple Wanderers as Bamford bags

A Patrick Bamford goal was enough to hand Leeds United all three points on Saturday afternoon as the Whites ran out 1-0 winners over Bolton Wanderers to hit the summit of the Championship with a fifth victory in a row.

Patrick Bamford celebrates after scoring at Bolton Wanderers.
Patrick Bamford celebrates after scoring at Bolton Wanderers.

United's £7million summer signing stepped off the bench to score with his first touch on his return to senior action following a three month absence with knee ligament damage as his 65th minute strike handed Leeds victory.

Marcelo Bielsa made one change for the trip to Bolton with Lewis Baker replacing Getafe bound Samuel Saiz in the starting line-up.

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It didn't take long for United to hit their stride in the opening minutes as a lovely move handed Pablo Hernandez the first chance of the afternoon.

Gjanni Alioski found the Spaniard at the back post after some good play from Mateusz Klich and Adam Forshaw. Hernandez was left on his own and met the cross with a cushioned header which forced Ben Alnwick into quick action as he tipped the effort over the bar.

As the game continued both sides struggled to settle with the rain driving down in freezing conditions.

United though were looking the more threatening as Baker attempted a header from distance which fell well wide of the mark.

Alnwick was again forced into a good save as Klich sliced a shot at goal from inside the area with the goalkeeper blocking the follow up from Kemar Roofe to keep the scores level.

With the rain swirling around the University of Bolton Stadium neither side were able to break the deadlock on what was a miserable December afternoon in Lancashire.

Bielsa responded at the break by introducing Jack Clarke for Baker moving Hernandez into the middle in the process.

It was the hosts who fired the first warning shot following the half-time interval as Craig Noone cut inside onto his left foot and curled a shot past the far post.

Leeds again were struggling to make inroads despite enjoying the majority of the ball and the Argentine made another substitution as Patrick Bamford replaced Roofe on the hour mark for his first senior appearance in over four months.

It was all set-up for the returning striker to re-announce himself to the Whites faithful and he duly obliged just five minutes later as a perfectly weighted Hernandez ball unlocked the Bolton defence allowing Bamford to finish neatly into the bottom corner at the first time of asking.

Bielsa's men pressed on as winger Clarke danced in and out of the Wanderers backline wreaking havoc with every attack.

Kalvin Phillips went close with a header shortly after the opening goal but his effort fell the wrong side of the post.

The United defender was then involved at the other end as Bolton saw a penalty appeal turned down following a mishit pass from Barry Douglas.

Wanderers midfielder Noone attempted to collect the loose ball before being bundled over by Phillips but referee Robert Jones waved away the appeals.

The hosts then went close as Jack Hobbs met a corner but Douglas was on hand to head the ball off the line as Wanderers threw caution to the wind in the closing stages.

Leeds responded as Klich shot from distance with Alnwick getting down low to his left to palm the shot away from goal.

Jason Lowe dragged an effort wide for the hosts as the game ticked into added time but it was Leeds who held on for all three points and lifted themselves to the summit of the Championship table with a fifth league win in a row and Norwich City yet to play.

Bolton Wanderers starting XI: Alnwick, Taylor, Lowe, Vela, Buckley, Noone, Hobbs, Olkowski, Williams, Magennis, Wheather (c). Subs: Matthews, Oztumer, Donaldson, Doidge, Wilson, O'Neil, Wildschut.

Leeds United starting XI: Peacock-Farrell, Douglas, Shackleton, Jansson, Phillips, Baker, Klich, Alioski, Hernandez (c), Forshaw, Roofe. Subs: Huffer, Halme, Clarke, Davis, Roberts, Harrison, Bamford.

Attendance: 17,484 (4,577)