Lennon gets that sinking feeling
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.”
FIRST UP: Leeds’ Italian forward Mirco Antenucci hooks Liam Cooper’s delivery into the Bolton net for the first of his two goals
STAR MAN MIRCO ANTEN