Report: Bolton 2-3 Leeds United
Despite a valiant performance, Wanderers found themselves on the wrong side of a five-goal opening day thriller against Leeds United at Macron Stadium.
The visitors drew first blood in the clash with Kalvin Phillips’ curling effort eluding Mark Howard in the Bolton goal with just seven minutes on the clock, while they added a second on the half hour mark courtesy of Chris Wood’s close-range header.
Phil Parkinson’s side halved the deficit with six minutes of the half remaining however, only for Phillips to add his second of the game in the 43rd minute when prodding home from eight yards.
Bolton once again pulled themselves back into the game with 24 minutes left as Adam Le Fondre fired home from the penalty spot, but it was to be in vain come the final whistle as Wanderers fell to an opening day defeat.TEAM NEWS
Wanderers saw David Wheater take the captain’s armband in the absence of Darren Pratley, while there was a debut for Josh Cullen following his loan move from West Ham United earlier in the week. FIRST HALF
Both sets of fans were in fine voice as the game got underway at a sodden Macron Stadium, while it was the home side who looked the more menacing early on with a number of lofted balls into Leeds territory.
On what was their first attack however, the visitors broke the deadlock with Phillips curling home from a corner kick.
A sucker punch for the Whites, it was certainly the fillip needed for United with them pressing forward in their numbers following their opener.
Adam Le Fondre enjoyed Bolton’s first shot on target just after the quarter-hour mark when taking the ball down ten yards shy of the goalmouth, but his effort was a tame one and failed to trouble Felix Wiedwald between the sticks.
A goalmouth scramble ensued with the first period reaching its halfway point, with Jem Karacan, Le Fondre and Mark Beevers all in the mix as the ball was knocked around a crowded box, only to see it eventually hoofed away.
Confidence was growing for the Whites though, with the home faithful sensing so and responding with their vocal backing.
Against the run of play however, Leeds had a second on the half hour mark with Wood nodding home from a yard out.
Despite this though, Wanderers continued to lay siege on United’s goalmouth as the half drew to its conclusion.
And they were rewarded with six minutes of the first period remaining as Madine nodded home from a Josh Vela corner.
A lifeline for Wanderers, their pressure continued but yet again, the visitors hit them on the counter and in arguably fortuitous circumstances with Phillips and Wood eluding an offside flag as the former poked home from eight yards out to make it 3-1.
Madine looked set to have his second of the game as the clash entered seven minutes of additional time when unleashing a thunderous volley from 30 yards out, but his effort rippled the side netting with Wiedwald a beaten man.
Come the half time whistle however, the scoreline was as you were.SECOND HALF
With no changes for either side at the break, the game got back underway in front of a confirmed attendance of just under 20,000 at Macron Stadium.
Inside the opening stages of the second period, Wanderers attempted tentative steps in the way of halving the deficit once again.
It was Leeds who enjoyed the first sight of goal however, with Howard doing well to get down at his near post to keep out Ezgjan Alioski’s close-range thunderbolt.
Soon after meanwhile, David Wheater made way for another debutant in the form of Reece Burke, while Howard was called upon again with Vurnon Anita’s pile driver from 25 yards stinging his palms.
Wanderers were still searching for their second goal of the game, and in their endeavours managed to win a number of set-pieces which had Leeds on their guard.
And they were handed the perfect opportunity with 23 minutes to go as the referee awarded Bolton a penalty kick for a pull on Madine's shirt, which Le Fondre calmly thundered past Wiedwald to the delight of the home faithful.
Somehow, Leeds almost restored their two goal advantage moments after the restart, only for Pablo Hernandez’s long-range strike to cannon off the crossbar with Howard a beaten man.
It was end-to-end stuff at BL6, with Wanderers desperately trying to force an equaliser and make their pressure count while Leeds were hoping to put the game to bed.
The visitors, visibly rattled, were throwing men forwards in a bid to kill the Whites off but the home side just kept coming at them.
With the match entering its final throes, it was all Bolton with Thomas Christiansen's side penned into their own box. And with four minutes of added time, it was all hands to the pump for the hosts.
Despite their best efforts however, it wasn't to be come the final whistle as Leeds hung on for the win, while Josh Vela was stretchered from the field for Wanderers.FULL TIME[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]