Bolton Wanderers 1 Leeds United 1: YEP jury verdict

Luke Murphy. PIC: Tony Johnson
Luke Murphy. PIC: Tony Johnson
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Our panel of Leeds United fans gives its verdict on Saturday’s game at Bolton.

Matthew Evans

United turned in one of the best away performances of the season on Saturday as Neil Redfearn ditched the diamond and further experimented with the makeshift wingers and lone striker that he debuted at Sunderland.

The conditions, recent form for both sides and an unfamiliar starting line up suggested another miserable afternoon, but the constant wind mixed with driving rain, hail, sleet and a darkening sky added to the drama of what was a genuinely entertaining 90 minutes – a rarity of late.

Barring the opening 10 at Ipswich, the last time United looked so vibrant away from home was on our last visit to Lancashire in November when the points were lost to a questionable Blackburn penalty. On this occasion it was a story of two penalties, both up for debate and neither any clearer after watching video replays.

Nevertheless, if the referee determined that Andy Lonergan brought down Sam Byram when he was through on goal then a red card should surely have been shown. The fact that Lonergan didn’t even receive a yellow revealed the uncertainty in the referee’s mind.

Having successfully dealt with a spell of Bolton pressure and a long series of corners for the home side it was frustrating to see the referee point to the spot again, just after half-time, at the same end. Luke Murphy swung a kick at the ball in an effort to clear and was, instead, judged to have caught a Bolton player. Marco Silvestri hasn’t saved a penalty this season and hopes of him doing so faded further when Eidur Gudjohnsen stepped up to take what was an inch-perfect spot-kick.

The play around the two penalties was end to end but for once Leeds looked more energetic in the middle of the field and more driven without the ball. Rodolph Austin and Luke Murphy stood out most while Gaetano Berardi had his best performance in a Leeds shirt at right-back. Charlie Taylor’s enthusiasm saw him getting up and down the left flank, putting in last-ditch tackles at one end and stretching to make an unlikely cross at the other. Meanwhile his predecessor as a promising, young full-back was relishing a role on the right wing. Sam Byram’s performance was up there with the best and ultimately deserved a goal.

Casper Sloth and Steve Morison were less accomplished and Lewis Cook struggled to show the same class he has in previous games but none was without merit. It’s vital that we now pick up some points to pull ourselves clear of the relegation pack. It’s another tricky run of games coming up, but we have to keep improving and rediscover our early-season home form as a matter of urgency.

Man of the match: 
Luke Murphy.

James Harrison

I’m really disappointed not to get all three points. We had plenty of chances to finish the game off in the first half and the penalty we conceded was very soft. Fans have been calling for Sam Byram to play in midfield all season and he was definitely our best player.

Man of the match: Sam Byram.

Stephen Clark

A point away from home is not to be sniffed at, and although Leeds dropped down the table, there was enough heart shown in the 1-1 draw with Bolton to give encouragement for the battles ahead.

Neil Redfearn made some courageous decisions. Adryan and Doukara were out of the squad completely, Murphy retained his place in midfield and Steve Morison came out of the cold to lead the line. The change that seemed to work best though was the decision to push Sam Byram further forward. Leeds held their own for most of the game. And the last game-and-a-half has shown that the side might have the heart for what lies ahead.

Man of the match: Sam Byram.

Gary Newbould

United registered a point at a freezing, windswept Macron Stadium. Leeds were handed a dream start within five minutes, but the Trotters were awarded a penalty of their own early in the second to level. A point on the road is an improvement to build on.

Man of the match: Sam Byram.

Jonathan Ford

With the line-up experimental to say the least, we had nothing to lose, and the performance showed. We battled, and grafted our way to a point, and disappointed it wasn’t more.

We couldn’t have asked for a better start from the penalty, and it was great link-up play between Cook and Byram that did it. We dominated for long periods of the game and only our finishing has cost us winning a game we deserved to.

I thought Steve Morison worked his socks off and did what he could with only a goal missing from his performance.

Luke Murphy has come in for criticism, but if he plays like that every week, there will be no complaints from me.

Man of the match: Luke Murphy.

Keith Ingham

Leeds will feel hard done by with a point from their visit to the Macron Stadium after dominating the second half.

Neil Redfearn made four changes with Steve Morison a surprise starter as a lone striker. Rudy Austin gave Leeds the perfect start when he drilled a penalty past Lonergan, after Sam Byram had been brought down, the only surprise was the offender wasn’t shown a red card for the offence. It had been all Leeds, but gradually Bolton came back into the game. A decent first half from Redfearn’s men.

Within minutes of the restart Bolton were level with a penalty. From where I stood it looked like a harsh decision too. Gudjohnsen made no mistake in beating Silvestri. This though spurred on Leeds and with Cook and Murphy dictating play they broke at every opportunity and Murphy was so unlucky when his effort went past a post. Lonergan saved well to deny Sam Byram.

A better display without the finishing, and if it was true that a certain Argentinian was sitting with the owner at the game he would be a welcome addition. Murphy, Austin and Morison did as much as they could to earn the points but without doubt the star of the performance was Lewis Cook, who never stopped running. The display even brought an impromptu dance on the way home from the Keighley Whites Steve Pickles. A good day out.

Man of the match: Lewis Cook.