Len­non gets that sink­ing feel­ing

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Steven Chicken

NEIL LEN­NON ad­mit­ted things look bleak for Bolton af­ter they sank to the bot­tom of the ta­ble amid un­cer­tainty over their takeover.

On a day when Leeds fans ex­pressed anger at owner Massimo Cellino with protests be­fore and dur­ing the game, Mirco An­tenucci’s dou­ble con­demned Bolton to mis­ery com­pounded by vic­to­ries else­where for fel­low strug­glers MK Dons, Rother­ham and Charl­ton.

With the Foot­ball League yet to rat­ify Dean Holdsworth’s takeover and Wan­der­ers now ten points from safety, Len­non is look­ing to the long-term fu­ture of the club.

“We need six wins, maybe, from the next 11, and we’ve only won four all sea­son, so we’ll have to re­ally go a bit now to get out of the po­si­tion we’re in,” he said.

“Spec­u­la­tion is in­evitable. We’ve been wait­ing on this takeover for a long time and it’s hin­dered us in terms of there’s an em­bargo and we can’t bring any­one in.

“So if and when it does come it’ll be good news for the long-term fu­ture of the club. Short-term, we’ve got to keep our pride and try to win as many games as we can be­tween now and the end of the sea­son.

“We’ll be in the High Court for the third time on Mon­day and we need the takeover to come through oth­er­wise we could be look­ing at an ad­min­is­tra­tion sce­nario.”

Bolton’s plans were thrown off when Emile Heskey pulled up in the warm-up, with Len­non forced to draft in Gary Ma­dine. The big cen­tre for­ward pro­duced only one mo­ment of note, clev­erly re­leas­ing Liam Feeney but Marco Sil­vestri saved the winger’s ef­fort.

Leeds then had to make an un­ex­pected change mid­way through the first half af­ter Jay Spear­ing’s strong tackle on Gae­tano Ber­ardi left the right-back in a bad way.

Bolton threat­ened again on 33 min­utes but Rob Hold­ing’s fi­nal touch on Feeney’s cross was ap­pallingly off-tar­get.

An­tenucci pun­ished that miss three min­utes later, hook­ing Liam Cooper’s flick-on into the net from close range.

The lead was dou­bled on 62 min­utes when An­tenucci curled su­perbly to the far post hav­ing ini­tially fum­bled an at­tempted pass to Souley­mane Doukara be­fore Hold­ing failed to clear the dan­ger.

Sub­sti­tute Kaiyne Wool­ery gave Bolton a fight­ing chance 12 min­utes later when he im­pres­sively chested Dean Moxey’s cross down be­fore pok­ing past Sil­vestri.

But United were able to hang on and claim only their se­cond win in 12 games, re­liev­ing some of the pres­sure on boss Steve Evans af­ter Mon­day night’s 4-0 hu­mil­i­a­tion at Brighton.

On top of that de­feat, some Leeds fans are so up­set at Cellino’s own­er­ship that they held a mock fu­neral for the club out­side El­land Road be­fore kick-off while a plane flew over the ground with a ban­ner or­gan­ised by group ‘Time to go Massimo’.

Asked if this was there­fore the big­gest game of his Leeds ten­ure, Evans replied: “One hun­dred per cent. When you come through some­thing like Mon­day night your ini­tial thing is to hurt and it’s the worst day of your life, and then you move on to look­ing in and how we can change it.

“We know we’ve been in a run of games that is un­ac­cept­able. We know a lot of them have been draws and we’ve lacked that qual­ity at both ends to get over the line in those games.

“But it was im­por­tant that the play­ers could go out and show a steely de­ter­mi­na­tion and a real to­geth­er­ness and get three points.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd

FIRST UP: Leeds’ Ital­ian for­ward Mirco An­tenucci hooks Liam Cooper’s de­liv­ery into the Bolton net for the first of his two goals


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