First-half strike secures 1-0 win for 10-man United...
UNITED 1 (Murphy 36), BOURNEMOUTH 0.
United: Silvestri, Wootton, Bellusci, Cooper, C Taylor, Byram, Murphy, Austin (Berardi 90), Cook, Mowatt (Pearce 87), Morison (Sharp 67). Subs. S Taylor, Bianchi, Antenucci, Doukara.
Bournemouth: Boruc, Francis, Cook, Elphick, Daniels, Ritchie (Stanislas 72), Arter (Gosling 60), Surman, Pugh, Pitman (Kermorgant 60), Wilson. Subs. Allsop, Smith, O'Kane, Fraser.
Referee: O Langford
Booked: Cook, Byram (United), Francis (Bournemouth)
Sent off: Bellusci (United
The midweek visit of league leaders Bournemouth saw United head coach make just the one change from the draw with Birmingham as Alex Mowatt was recalled in place of Mirco Antenucci. Elsewhere, Gaetano Berardi returned from injury to occupy a place among the substitutes.
It was the visitors who had the first sight of goal on four minutes, Callum Wilson dragging wide after racing away up-field, before Brett Pitman scraped the side-netting as he looked to turn home a low Marc Pugh cross. But United were quick to threaten themselves and Rodolph Austin forced Artur Boruc into tipping his header over the bar following Mowatt’s floated cross.
Simon Francis was then the saviour for Bournemouth, keeping the scoreline level as he hacked Steve Morison’s dangerous-looking cross away from the feet of the awaiting Mowatt, before Austin twice fired wide in quick-succession as United began to enjoy the better of proceedings inside the opening 20 minutes.
There was a visible air of confidence from Redfearn’s side as the home crowd urged them forward, and the volume inside Elland Road was notched up a level when Luke Murphy’s rasping long-range drive was diverted over the bar by an acrobatic Boruc save.
It was largely one-way traffic and United deservedly took the lead on 37 minutes as Murphy made it two goals in as many games with a stunning left-footed strike from 25 yards. Austin teed up the midfielder and Murphy let fly in front of the South Stand, with the ball sailing beyond the sprawling Boruc and into the top corner.
The visitors looked to respond and thought they had pulled level almost immediately as Pitman tucked away Wilson’s rebounded effort, only to be denied by the offside flag. Marco Silvestri was then called into action as he clutched Wilson’s goal-bound header right on the goalline to preserve the lead on the stroke of half-time.
Both sides returned unchanged from the break and United quickly began the second half on the front foot as Morison raced behind the Bournemouth defence, only to be hauled down by Simon Francis, who went into the book for his troubles, before Austin blazed over from a tight angle.
A quieter period followed and the United defence stood firm to clear a couple of balls into the box before Matt Ritchie fired well wide from distance as he looked to catch Silvestri off his line. Wilson then came close to finding an equaliser for Bournemouth as he poked inches wide after working his way into the area.
And the Cherries striker came even closer moments later after being slotted through on goal to lift over the onrushing Silvestri, but the home fans were relieved to see his effort go just wide of the post. Redfearn then made his first substitution of the evening on 67 minutes as Billy Sharp replaced the tireless Morison in attack.
Bournemouth were starting to assert some serious pressure inside the United half as they began to enjoy more of possession, but Redfearn’s side remained organised and compact, restricting substitute Dan Gosling into firing a speculative effort wide from range.
United held firm and soon had the chance to go on the attack themselves as the effervescent Lewis Cook sent Byram hurtling through on goal down the right. The full-back’s low strike cannoned back off the legs of Boruc before Austin saw his headed rebound scrambled off the line by some desperate Bournemouth defending.
The visitors quickly re-found their stride, though, as Pugh clipped the post after turning free inside the area before the United defence managed to clear their lines from the penalty-box pinball which ensued. Andrew Surman then lashed wide before the hosts survived even more late drama.
Giuseppe Bellusci was shown a straight red card after being adjudged to have brought Wilson down inside the area, prompting referee Oliver Langford to point to the spot on 87 minutes. Substitute Yann Kermorgant stepped up from 12 yards but smashed his penalty against the bar and over to the delight of the home crowd.
Jason Pearce was introduced in place of Mowatt as four minutes of stoppage time were added on. The 10 men of United were hanging on but the final whistle brought Elland Road to its feet as Redfearn’s side celebrated doing the double over the Cherries and securing their first win since late November.