DOUKARA AT THE HEART OF LEEDS VICTORY
LEEDS manager Steve Evans lauded Souleymane Doukara after his tireless performance set his side on their way to the fifth round.
Doukara struck first and fellow Frenchman Toumani Diagouraga added a second to put Leeds in control at the break, before Darren Pratley struck late on to give Wanderers hope of a replay.
But it was the Yorkshire club who prevailed to heap more woe on cash-strapped Bolton – and Evans could not speak highly enough of Doukara, who now has four in his last six matches.
“He (Doukara) has got a heart the size of Big Ben and he never stops running,” Evans said.
“When I arrived he felt discarded. I told him I’m going to give him the biggest opportunity of his life and he is taking it.”
Evans was also bullish when asked about the fifth round draw – making it clear he fears no one.
“We would take anyone at Elland Road,” he added. “You would want either the lowest ranked team in the competition or the highest ranked.
“But even if we get the highest ranked team in the competition, who’s the biggest club? There could be some debate about that.”
Both sides were Premier League clubs the last time they met in the competition 20 years ago and while both have fallen from grace since, it is Leeds who are in by far the better shape.
This was demonstrated when they took the lead in the ninth minute albeit courtesy of a blunder from home goalkeeper Ben Amos.
Stuart Dallas slipped Doukara through on goal and although he shot straight at Amos, the Bolton goalkeeper could not keep the effort out as it struck his crouched body and looped tamely into the bottom corner.
The travelling supporters were nearly silenced in the 13th minute when Gary Madine wasted a glorious opportunity to level for Wanderers after Leeds skipper Sol Bamba had inexplicably headed Liam Feeney’s cross into the striker’s path.
However with the goal gaping, Madine’s left-footed swipe from close-range was lazy and he blazed his effort comfortably over the crossbar.
The 1972 cup winners doubled their lead five minutes before the break when Mirco Antenucci broke away down the right flank and from inside the box cut the ball back into the stride of Diagouraga, who on his full debut for the club, side-footed calmly home to put the Yorkshire side in command.
Pratley threw the hosts a lifeline with ten minutes to go when a corner from substitute Kaiyne Woolery broke to him inside the box and he thrashed his shot into the roof of the net.
Madine almost levelled for the Trotters three minutes from time but struck the post when Leeds keeper Marco Silvestri’s parry fell to him in the penalty area as Leeds hung on to reach the fifth round for the first time in three years.
Bolton manager Neil Lennon admitted his side left things too late and bemoaned his team’s first half showing – before slamming his players’ attitude.
“We were way too passive in the first half,” said Lennon. “It was a poor first goal, a goalkeeping error, but the reaction to it wasn’t good.
“We didn’t work hard enough in the first half. It’s about desire. It has got to come from within.
“I’m asking the players ‘Do you want to progress in football or do you just want to make a living in the game?’
“If they just want to just make a living in the game then they’ll be better off leaving because that is not what I want.”
THAT’S TWO: Toumani Diagouraga scores Leeds’ second goal