Leeds United’s season suffered a potentially fatal blow with a shocking 5-1 defeat at home to Bolton Wanderers.
Three goals in 12 minutes either side of half-time settled the clash at Elland Road and punished Leeds for woeful performance in front of their own crowd.
Joe Mason snatched the opener seconds before the break and poor defending after the interval allowed Lukas Jutkiewicz and Zat Knight to increase Wanderers’ advantage.
Mark Davies intensified the rout on 72 minutes when he arrived at the back post to head home Jutkiewicz’s delivery with United’s defence missing again and Andre Moritz’s late finish rounded off United’s humiliation.
Matt Smith’s late effort was barely a consolation for a demoralised Leeds side.
A tight and congested first half saw few chances and no goals until injury-time.
Bolton threatened in the second minute when Mark Davies fired wide of Jack Butland’s right-hand post and Luke Murphy’s 20-yard effort dipped narrowly over the crossbar at the other end but neither side gave much away.
Neil Danns’ long-range attempt was safely gathered by Butland on 24 minutes and Connor Wickham’s hit on the half-hour bounced wide after a deflection.
But Bolton took the initiative at the end of a very poor half when Danns carried Tim Ream’s clearance forward, played Mason clean through with the aid of a ricochet and left the striker to finish off an easy chance.
United argued that the ball had run out of play when Ream hacked it forward but referee Keith Hill ignored the appeals.
And Bolton moved further ahead seven minutes into the second half when Jutkiewicz ghosted onto Jay Spearing’s free-kick and nodded an easy header beyond Butland.
A third Wanderers goal followed two minutes later as Knight anticipated another free-kick, wrestled his way into space and stabbed a low finish under Butland.
In a desperate situation, Leeds tried to salvage some pride and Bolton survived three goalbound efforts in one attack on 68 minutes but Davies’ header sent a large crowd spilling out of Elland Road.
Bolton still had time to add a fifth goal as Danns knocked a pass through to Moritz who hammered a shot against the bar and past Butland, and Smith’s injury-time header from Ross McCormack’s cross was of no consequence.
Leeds United: Butland, Peltier (Byram 46), Lees, Wootton, Warnock, Kebe (Mowatt 64), Murphy, Austin, Stewart (Smith 64), Wickham, McCormack. Subs (not used): Hunt, Zaliukas, Brown, Cairns.
Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Baptiste, Knight, Wheater, Ream, Spearing (Moritz 83), Medo, Davies (Chung-Yong 75), Danns, Mason (Trotter 70), Jutkiewicz. Subs (not used): Lonergan, Hutton, Hall, Eagles.