Mowatt’s cracker ends Leeds United’s Cardiff hoodoo

Alex Mowatt celebrates his goal with Gaetano Berardi. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Alex Mowatt celebrates his goal with Gaetano Berardi. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

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Alex Mowatt came up with a stunning winning goal on a night of firsts for Leeds United against Cardiff at Elland Road.

It was Mowatt’s first goal of the season when he fired the ball into the top corner of the net with a shot from 35 yards out in the second half and the Whites’ first home win for exactly eight months.

For Steve Evans it was his first win as United head coach and he was in charge of the first Leeds team to beat Cardiff at home for 32 years.

In the process the Whites kept their first clean sheet at home this season as they recorded a hugely morale-boosting 1-0 victory.

Evans made three changes from the side that lost the previous game to Blackburn, bringing in Giuseppe Bellusci for the suspended Sol Bamba in defence, Alex Mowatt in midfield for Tom Adeyemi who was ineligible to face his parent club and Scott Wootton at right-back instead of Sam Byram.

They struggled to create much in the opening stages, but did defend better than against Blackburn and had a big shout for a penalty turned down when Mirco Antenucci appeared to be hauled down by former Leeds defender Lee Peltier.

Alex Revell lashed a long distance volley well wide for Cardiff and that was their only effort in an opening 45 minutes that had people wondering how they were in ninth place in the table before kick-off.

It took Leeds 28 minutes to manage their first shot, an effort hit wide by Stuart Dallas as he cut in from his right wing position.

But they then came to life for the rest of the half and were backed by an increasingly appreciative crowd.

Antenucci shot wide from a tough angle after a decent move involving Gaetano Berardi and Dallas then Mowatt had a shot blocked after seizing on a loose ball in the box after Dallas’s low cross had only been half cleared.

Dallas was denied by keeper David Marshall after cutting in from the wing again to get a good strike in from the edge of the box and Lewis Cook sent a shot over before Chris Wood headed over when well placed in the area.

Cardiff somehow survived to half-time and looked sharper after the break, winning several corners, one of which led to Sean Morrison’s header being scrambled away near the line by Wootton.

It was somewhat against the run of play when United took the lead on 63 minutes as Mowatt beat Marshall with a superb bending strike from all of 35 yards out.

It was a stunning goal fit to win any game and that is what it did, although both sides could have added more to the tally before the finish.

Wood missed the best chance for the hosts when he did well to chase down a long ball, take it off Peltier and round the keeper only to then screw his shot into the side netting with only one defender within 20 yards and the unmarked Antenucci alongside him.

Cardiff finally tested home keeper Marco Silvestri as he tipped away Joe Mason’s low strike and caught Morrison’s header from the resulting corner.

The visitors kept going to the end, but were kept at bay by some good defending, led well by skipper for the night Liam Cooper, and Leeds deservedly held on for their victory.

Match facts

Leeds United 1

(Mowatt 63)

Cardiff City 0

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sky Bet Championship

Attendance: 17,914

Leeds: Silvestri, Wootton, Cooper, Bellusci, Berardi, Dallas (Byram 82), Murphy, Cook, Mowatt (Phillips 87), Antenucci (Doukara 90), Wood.

Cardiff: Marshall, Peltier, Morrison, Connolly, Malone, Ralls, Gunnarsson, Whittingham (Pilkington 77), Noone (Ameobi 60), Revell (Jones 67), Mason.

Referee: Carl Boyeson