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A brace from El-Hadji Diouf helped Leeds United to a 3-2 victory over Bristol City at Ashton Gate. Read the match report here.
There was a few changes to the side for United's trip to Bristol City. Lee Peltier and Paddy Kenny both missed Leeds' impressive 2-1 win over Everton in the League Cup during the week but both were deemed fit to play and returned to the fold in place of Danny Pugh and Jamie Ashdown.
The first half was a pretty dull affair at Ashton Gate with neither side able to muster a real goalscoring opportunity. Having said that, Aidan White could have repeated his exploits from midweek as he had a sight of goal in the opening 5 minutes just as he did against Premier League Everton. However, The 20 year old was this time unable to convert his chance and his shot went wide of Bristol City's goal. A cause for minor concern for Leeds though was that goalkeeper Paddy Kenny seemed to be struggling with his kicking. The former Sheffield United and Queens Park Rangers number 1 had been struggling with a groin injury which kept him out of the Everton game. The injury still looked to be hampering him as he struggled to clear his lines. Luckily for United, it wasn't something Bristol City took advantage of as their attack seemed rather toothless in the first half with top scorer Sam Baldock sitting on the bench.
Luciano Becchio, making his 200th appearance in a Leeds shirt, had a half chance for the visitors after a good tackle from Michael Brown. Unfortunately for Leeds, Bristol City captain Liam Fontaine was in no mood for his defence's goal to be breached and got across well to block. The hosts huffed and puffed towards the end of the first half but didn't really look like they were going to hit the back of the net in the first half. The end of the half also saw an injury to George Elokobi, the defender on loan from Wolves making his debut for City had to be stretchered off. Elokobi will be cursing his look having joined City in order to get first team football.
As dull as the first half was, the second period couldn't have been any different as the back of the net was found on five occasions. United were awarded two free kicks down their right hand side early on in the second half and both were to show Bristol City's defensive frailties. The Whites could and probably should have scored from both set-pieces. El-Hadji Diouf sent two teasing deliveries into the Bristol City box and on the first occasion Rodolph Austin was unlucky to see his header bounce back off the bar. However, second time around, Austin perhaps should have steered his header beyond the goalkeeper but the Jamaican drew a good save out of the former Cardiff City shot stopper Tom Heaton and score remained all square.
Neil Warnock's men didn't have to wait long to open the scoring though and it was that man El-Hadji Diouf who turned from architect to goal scorer to put United in the lead. Some clever work from Michael Brown sent Sam Byram flying down the right into the box and the youngster showed excellent composure to pick out Diouf who gleefully steered the ball into the back of the net, 1-0 Leeds.
As we all know, nothing is ever easy being a Leeds fan and within a matter of minutes the scores were level. The ball was delivered into the United danger zone from the left and somehow Albert Adomah was left unmarked at the back post. The ball found it's way to Adomah and the he made no mistake in dispatching the ball past Paddy Kenny to send the Whites back to square one. From that point the home side looked to get on top of the game. However, backed by their two thousand strong army, United weren't done. Austin stung the hands of Tom Heaton who could only parry his fierce shot and Aidan White almost pounced on the rebound but some good defending ensured the ball was turned behind for a corner. United did have the ball in the net from the corner but referee Stuart Atwell ruled Michael Tonge's goal out for a foul. The decision seemed something over nothing but nevertheless it was no goal.
With just less than ten minutes to go, United were back in front and it was United's latest fans favourite El-Hadji Diouf who grabbed his second goal of the game. This time it was courtesy of a defensive mishap which led to the ball falling at Diouf's feet and the former Senegal International slid the ball under Heaton to restore United's lead. Minutes later Leeds seemed to have killed off the game and it was Michael Tonge , on loan from Stoke City, who scored a magnificent goal. The former Sheffield United man skipped past a couple of challenges before unleashing a powerful strike from the edge of the box. The ball whistled past Heaton, leaving him with no chance. 3-1 Leeds and seemingly three points in the bag.
United could have added a fourth as City looked a beaten side. Some great work from Aidan White saw him in a similar position to where he scored from on Tuesday night but this time he opted to tee up Becchio. Unfortunately, the Argentine couldn't get his shot passed the City defender and the chance was gone. There was still time for the home side to pull a goal back. A corner was directed into the Leeds goal by a United defender. Fortunately the goal didn't mean anything and United held on as the game finished 3-2.
A great three points for United, that's three wins in a week and confidence continues to grow, on to Bolton on Tuesday night.