Leeds move top of the Sky Bet Championship after earning comfortable win over 10-man Wigan
Saturday 17 August 2019 18:53, UK
Two goals from Patrick Bamford gave Leeds a comfortable 2-0 Sky Bet Championship victory at Wigan, who played for 70 minutes with 10 men after the dismissal of Joe Williams for two bookable offences.
Bamford opened the scoring in the 34th minute before making the game safe in the second half when he bundled home.
The win sees Leeds top the fledgling table on goal difference, having taken seven points from their opening three games, while Wigan sit in 19th.
Wigan welcomed back skipper Sam Morsy from a hamstring injury, and the Egypt international announced his presence by conceding the first free-kick of the game inside 60 seconds.
But it was Morsy's central midfield partner Williams who picked up the game's first caution on nine minutes, for a clear trip on the breaking Stuart Dallas.
After Lee Evans saw a brilliant 35-yard free-kick tipped over the top by Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla, that early booking came back to haunt Wigan.
The home side were actually given the free-kick in the first place, but Williams' reaction was enough to see him given a second yellow by Andy Madley with barely 20 minutes gone.
Leeds predictably picked up the pace and took the lead on the 34-minute mark.
After former Wigan man Adam Forshaw somehow headed against the post from six yards, the rebound fell to Bamford, who could not miss from even closer.
Wigan managed to get to half-time without further alarm, and gave it a decent go at the beginning of the second period.
Kieffer Moore - making his first start for the club - appeared to be taken out at the far post from a Wigan corner, but the official waved play on.
Then Leeds upped the ante further, with Barry Douglas sending over a free-kick that was headed over by Ben White, and teeing up Forshaw, who forced a fine save from goalkeeper David Marshall - albeit the flag was already up.
Douglas himself fired over for Leeds, before they found a killer second goal on 66 minutes.
They were initially denied what looked to be a stonewall penalty when Pablo Hernandez's cross clearly struck the outstretched arm of Antonee Robinson, with the referee awarding only a corner.
But from the resulting set-piece from Douglas, Bamford bundled the ball home for 2-0.
Forshaw fired inches wide of Marshall's far post, before the Wigan goalkeeper produced a fabulous save to deny Hernandez from 25 yards.
It was all going against Wigan, whose manager Paul Cook was yellow-carded 13 minutes from time for one too many comments in the direction of the official.
Wigan came close to pulling one back on 83 minutes, but Casilla was again equal to a great free-kick from Evans.
The visitors came close to adding to their total in the closing stages, only for desperate defending to keep them at bay.
Paul Cook: "It's always going to be a tough game when you play Leeds, they're such a strong team who ask so many questions of you. Big decisions will always influence the outcome of games. Are we aggrieved at the sending off? No. I did think it was a second yellow, without a doubt.
"But are we aggrieved with the decision just before, when (Kalvin) Phillips commits a very similar foul, and no yellow? Yes, we are. All we're asking for as managers is for referees to show consistency in a game - that's all we're asking for."
Marcelo Bielsa: "It was a fair result, we deserved to win. Yes, we could have scored more goals, playing with a player more, we could have shown a little bit more. But we played with a lot of calmness and I was happy with the performance.
"The performance of the team is increasing game by game, which is pleasing. For a striker, scoring goals is always going to be important. It's going to be a major positive for him [Patrick Bamford] and also for the team. He is a player with a big personality, and to score two goals is obviously going to be exciting for him."