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Match report: Leeds United 2, Nottingham Forest 1
POTENTIAL investors must have been impressed by injury-hit Leeds United ’s guts and determination as they ended Nottingham Forest’s unbeaten start to the season.
Before kick-off under-fire chairman Ken Bates announced he was in “advanced negotiations” with a Middle Eastern banking institution regarding further investment in the club.
Much to the frustration of United fans the takeover saga has dragged on since the summer and despite bringing in 12 new players manager Neil Warnock’s squad is already down to the bare bones after injuries to key men Ross McCormack, David Norris and Paul Green.
Luciano Becchio , a pre-match doubt, thumped Leeds into a 14th-minute lead doubled ten minutes later by 19-year-old Dominic Poleon, who was making his first Championship start.
The Whites were dominant in the first period but Becchio missed a glorious chance to make the lead watertight.
A subdued Forest were galvanised by substitute Lewis McGugan’s arrival as they forced Leeds to defend a series of set-pieces and on the hour Forest’s pressure earned its reward. The cap-less Paddy Kenny seemed to lose Greg Halford’s torpedo throw in the sun and Dexter Blackstock headed in.
McGugan came close with a free-kick, then drew a superb sprawling save from Kenny but the Forest fire was eventually dowsed as Leeds saw out the final minutes – which included a sizeable chunk of added-on time – to record their first Championship win in four games.
A delighted Warnock said: “They had £5 million worth of talent on the bench while we had a young lad making his debut. It just shows you what a good win it was.”
The victory buys Warnock more time as he strives to keep Leeds in the mix up to the January transfer deadline by which time the takeover deal may have gone through and more player funding made available.
He said: “We’ve played some top teams and we’ve got a thin squad so it shows you how well we’ve done. Luciano was a big plus for us because he was touch and go.
“I told him to take his missus shopping on Friday because we couldn’t afford him to get injured.
“Our first goal gave us a lift but we should have been out of sight by half-time.”
Leeds United: Kenny, Peltier (Varney 66), Lees, Pearce, Drury, Byram, Austin, Tonge, Diouf, Poleon (White 66), Becchio (Gray 89). Subs (not used): Ashwon, Kisnorbo, Brown, Payne. Cautions: Pearce, Lees.
Nottingham Forest: Camp, Halford, Ayala, Collins, Harding, Coppinger (Sharp 82), Moussi (Lansbury HT), Gillett, Reid (McGugan HT), Blackstock, Cox. Subs (not used): Cohen, Moloney, Majewski, Evitmor.
Referee: Andy D’Urso.
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