Second half goals from Ross McCormack and Dominic Poleon enabled Leeds United to end their losing run in an eventful Sky Bet Championship game against Bournemouth at Elland Road.
The Whites were up against 10 men for the last hour after their opponents had goalkeeper Ryan Allsop sent-off, but were made to work hard for their 2-1 victory after missing a number of chances, including a penalty by McCormack that was saved by substitute keeper Darryl Flahavan.
Leeds boss Brian McDermott made three changes in a bid to get back to winning ways after four straight defeats, bringing back Tom Lees in defence for Scott Wootton, Paul Green in midfield for Luke Murphy and Noel Hunt up front in place of Luke Varney.
They started in lively fashion with McCormack seeing an early angled shot saved and Hunt unable to get his head to a Lee Peltier cross. McCormack then saw his effort saved by Allsop’s legs when he only had the keeper to beat after an attempted clearance fell to him off a Bournemouth defender.
The game’s key moment arrived in the 31st minute when Hunt raced onto a ball into the box and went down under a challenge from keeper Allsop with neither getting anything on the ball.
Referee David Coote awarded a penalty and harshly sent Allsop off, giving United an extra man for the remainder of the game.
However, McCormack then saw his spot kick saved by one-time Leeds goalkeeper Flahavan and reacted too slowly to put away the rebound.
Two more shouts for penalties followed before the break to be turned down by the referee while United pushed forward to try and take advantage of the extra man, but looked woefully short of confidence in front of goal to take advantage of being camped in their opponents’ half.
They finally found a way through the visitors’ defence eight minutes into the second half when Stephen Warnock played a great low ball in from the left and McCormack slid in to make the breakthrough.
It should have been the cue for an easy victory, but aside from long range efforts from Rudy Austin and Michael Tonge Leeds failed to get shots away and wasted several good attacking positions. They took their foot off the gas and paid the price when Bournemouth equalised on 73 minutes, Lewis Grabban slamming home a volley after Eunan O’Kane headed down a free-kick.
To their credit, United rolled their sleeves up again and after Austin saw his close range effort well saved by Flahavan they came up with what turned out to be winning goal 10 minutes from time.
A cross by impressive teenage midfielder Alex Mowatt was headed back by Jason Pearce to sub Poleon and the young striker hammered home a volley for his first league goal of the season.
There was little goalmouth action in a tame end to the game, but Leeds saw out the closing stages to earn a vital three points after their recent tribulations.
Leeds United 2
(McCormack 53, Poleon 80)
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Sky Bet Championship
Leeds: Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Pearce, Warnock, Austin, Green, Tonge, Mowatt, McCormack, Hunt (Poleon 72).
Bournemouth: Allsop (sent-off 32), Francis, Ward, Cook, Harte, Fraser (Flahavan 32), O’Kane, Collison, Pugh (Surman 62), Rantie (Pitman), Grabban.
Referee: David Coote.