UNITED 1 (Becchio pen, BOLTON 0
Leeds: Kenny, Byram, Tate, Pearce, Peltier, Green, Norris, Austin, McCormack, Becchio, Diouf (Gray 90). Subs: Ashdown, Drury, Lees, Brown, Somma, Hall.
Bolton: Bogdan, Mears, Knight, Alonso, Ream, Pratley (N'Gog 68), Eagles, Spearing (Butterfield 79), Chung-Yong Lee (Afobe 68), Andrews, Davies. Subs: Petrov, Sordell, Lonergan, Ricketts.
Referee: P Gibbs
Booked: Byram (Leeds)
Att: 22, 386
Neil Warnock recalled Rodolph Austin, Luciano Becchio, El-Hadji Diouf, and skipper Lee Peltier to his starting line-up for the New Year's Day clash with Bolton Wanderers.
United had suffered back-to-back defeats at the hands of Nottingham Forest and Hull City and were targeting a return to winning ways against Bolton.
United started the game positively and after Becchio had lifted a shot over, Bolton defender Zat Knight got a decisive touch on an Austin free-kick to turn the ball wide.
Bolton carved out a decent chance on 20 minutes, through Chris Eagles, but the former Burnley man's finish didn't match his approach work. United responded by winning a corner after some great individual work by Diouf.
In truth, there was little else to excite the fans as the game headed towards half-time. Bolton did have a goal attempt shortly after the half-hour when Paddy Kenny made a decent save, but the contest was largely a scrappy war of attrition in the middle of the park.
United mounted the first attack of the second half, but Sam Byram was closed down as he looked to advance.
Both sides were guilty of wasting possession, but as the game slipped past the hour-mark, United enjoyed the best spell so far and were rewarded with a penalty on 65 minutes after Tyrone Mears was adjudged to have fouled McCormack.
Becchio stepped up to convert the spot-kick to give Leeds the advantage.
Moments later, Diouf led a quick break before laying off the ball to McCormack, but the Scot's finish was over the top.
Bolton made three substitutions in the wake of the goal, and one of those, David N'Gog, lifted a shot over the bar after some good play by the visitors.
Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan was called upon to collect a deflected header from Paul Green with seven minutes still remaining as United looked for a second goal.
But there was little else in the way of chances as the game headed into injury time. Kenny had to react quickly to thwart Kevin Davies, but United defended well when called upon, David Norris making one vital late challenge.