Back to win­ning ways

Whites

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Ned Bris­tow

IT MIGHT not have been pretty but Leeds boss Steve Evans ad­mit­ted it is all about the end re­sult af­ter scrap­ing a nar­row vic­tory over strug­gling Bris­tol City.

The hosts were booed off at half-time af­ter a dis­mal show­ing, but Souley­mane Doukara snatched the win­ner just shy of the hour mark.

City fought back from 2-0 down to draw the re­verse fix­ture, but there was no such come­back this time and Evans was re­lieved to take home the points.

“The first half was like a morn­ing at the den­tist,” said Evans.“We were a yard off all over, and I can’t re­peat the words I said at half-time – there’s a nine o’clock wa­ter­shed.

“It was pretty fierce, but only for a minute or so, but the in­struc­tion was clear – to grind our­selves into the game.

“You need to find that mo­ment of magic and be able to get wins when you are not your best, and we got our re­ward.

“Good teams don’t lose three in a row, but they do lose back-to­back fix­tures.

“Bris­tol City didn’t come here and dom­i­nate – a lot of teams will come here that we sim­ply have to beat.”

Buoyed by com­plet­ing the dou­ble over Mid­dles­brough last week­end, City con­trolled early pro­ceed­ings with Nathan Baker head­ing wide af­ter 12 min­utes.

Loa­nee Ben Glad­win, mak­ing his de­but for the vis­i­tors, then dis­pos­sessed Liam Brid­cutt on the by­line only to fire straight at Marco Sil­vestri. The Ital­ian goal­keeper was Leeds’ stand­out player in the first pe­riod, punch­ing three dan­ger­ous in­swing­ing cor­ners away be­fore sav­ing the best chance of the half from Kod­jia.

The French­man made an op­por­tu­nity from noth­ing, wrig­gling in­side the box past Giuseppe Bel­lusci only to poke straight at the out­stretched Sil­vestri un­der pres­sure.

Spurred on at the break, Leeds be­gan to peg City back and their pa­tience was re­warded just be­fore the hour when Doukara broke the dead­lock.

Stu­art Dal­las’ cross from the right bounced off sub­sti­tute Chris Wood and fell kindly for his strike part­ner, who coolly slot­ted his se­cond goal in three Cham­pi­onship games.

City could have lev­elled through a sub of their own four min­utes later, when Mar­lon Pack’s cor­ner found Alex Pearce un­marked only for de­fender to head over. As the game wore on City started to surge for­ward, wast­ing an­other free header that would have put them level against the run of play on 79 min­utes.

Luke Free­man placed a whipped cross di­rectly on Aden Flint’s head six yards out, but last sea­son’s 15-goal cen­tre half saw his ef­fort sail wide of the far post.

Flint’s fel­low de­fender Luke Ayling also saw a chance go beg­ging five min­utes later, cut­ting in and shoot­ing tamely at Sil­vestri af­ter Aaron Wil­bra­ham had slid him in.

City couldn’t find a way through in an end-to-end fin­ish, with Leeds see­ing out the re­main­der for their first Cham­pi­onship win in six.

City’s in­terim boss John Pem­ber­ton was left per­plexed by the re­sult, ac­knowl­edg­ing that the rub of the green is hard to come by at the bot­tom of the ta­ble.

“We’re dis­ap­pointed with the score­line – it’s one we didn’t de­serve,” he said.

“But it is what it is – they had one chance and scored and we had a few op­por­tu­ni­ties but couldn’t take them.

“That’s what hap­pens when you’re scrap­ping at the bot­tom. But we pick our­selves up and go again.

“It’s not un­lucky be­cause you make your own luck.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

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