Bolton 2-3 Leeds: Winning Start for Thomas Christiansen in Thriller at the Macron
Leeds United head coach Thomas Christiansen got off to the perfect start with a 3-2 victory in his first competitive game in charge. It also meant a home defeat to start for Bolton Wanderers in their first game back in the Championship after a season away.
Leeds made the perfect start as they opened the scoring after 7 minutes. Bolton switched off at a corner and Kalvin Phillips lashed home with the help of a slight deflection.
Leeds went close again when a cross narrowly missed the head of Chris Wood and new signing Ezgjan Alioski saw his shot blocked. Bolton's promotion last season had been built on being strong at set-pieces and a corner brought their first opportunity, as Mark Beevers' header was cleared off the line.
30' Kemar Roofe crosses, Alioski heads back across goal and Wood heads the ball home via the crossbar! 0-2— Leeds United (@LUFC) August 6, 2017
The Whites would double their lead on the half hour mark and it was a poor goal to concede for the hosts. After 30 goals last season, Chris Wood was off and running for 2017/18 campaign as he was left totally unmarked in the six-yard box and headed into the back of the net.
Bolton would finally make a corner count six minutes before half time. The impressive Josh Vela put in a wonderful delivery that Gary Madine headed home to bring the home side back into contention.
However, Leeds did not take long to restore their two goal lead. Despite suspicions of offside, Wood played in Phillips and he had his second goal.
Both sides went close in 7 minutes of added time which was caused by an injury to Beradi; Alioski really should have done better from six yards out for Leeds while Madine had a long range effort for the Trotters that went just wide. Despite being ahead on the stats, Bolton found themselves 3-1 down at half time.
It was the first time since October 2011 that Bolton had conceded three goals in the first half of a game, they were a Premier League club then and they started the second half poorly with only the offside flag preventing Chris Wood from being in on goal.
New Leeds man Vurnon Anita went close with a 25 yard effort that was well saved by Mark Howard, while it was to be a disappointing debut for Leeds for Matthew Pennington, on loan from Everton, after he was forced off with an ankle injury on 64 minutes.
His replacement was Connor Shaughnessy whose first involvement was to concede a penalty for shirt pulling. Adam Le Fondre duly converted the spot kick to get Bolton back in the game again but Leeds very nearly responded with Hernandez striking the bar with a spectacular effort.
Despite being behind, Bolton lacked urgency in the closing stages, the closest they came was Josh Cullen firing into the stands.
Meanwhile, the Trotters suffered a blow in injury time as Josh Vela was carried off with a nasty looking injury. It capped off a miserable return to the second tier for Wanderers as Leeds ran out deserved winners.