Souleymane Doukara papered over the cracks as Leeds United stretched their unbeaten home run to six matches and deepened Bristol City’s relegation worries in a match Steve Evans called a “scrappy game”.
Frenchman Doukara’s 59th-minute goal settled a tepid contest lacking in quality, apart from some delightful footwork from City’s own French striker Jonathan Kodija.
After successive away defeats to Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds were pleased to return to Elland Road, but for much of the game they struggled to make any impact and are in no-man’s land, midway between the play-offs and the drop zone.
Leeds head coach Evans confessed: “The first half was like going to the dentist. It wasn’t pleasant and it was a long 45 minutes. It was a scrappy game. We were poor in quality all over the pitch in that first half - it was lazy and sloppy.
“I told them to find a moment of magic in the second half and they did that with Souleymane Doukara’s goal.”
Evans was full of praise for Doukara’s attitude on the field and in training. The Frenchman’s goal, driven in after City failed to clear a right wing cross from Stuart Dallas, was his third in four games and Evans said: “He is a player who needs to be loved and valued. He is getting the rewards for all the hard work he has put in.”
John Pemberton, City’s interim manager and former Leeds defender, was disappointed after seeing Aden Flint head wide of an open goal with 11 minutes left.
Pemberton said: “The one Aden missed near the end he would have buried last year.
“I was expecting the net to ripple and I couldn’t believe it when the ball went wide. We are disappointed with the scoreline because we didn’t deserve to lose, but we can get out of the trouble we are in. We have a stronger foundation now and are looking harder to beat.
“We probably need a bit more experience in the middle of the park and a bit more composure with our final ball, but I was at Leeds for four years so I know what it is like to play here. Some of my players were experiencing the mental test of playing at Elland Road for the first time.
“The result was a bitter pill to swallow because Leeds had one chance and scored from it. That is what happens when you are where we are in the table.”
Evans expects the transfer of Toumani Diagouraga from Brentford to go through over the weekend if the midfielder passes his medical.
“He was here today and we are just awaiting the outcome of his medical to complete the deal,” said Evans.