Stephen Warnock's first-half strike sinks Bolton at Elland Road...
UNITED 1 (Warnock 17), BOLTON 0.
United: Silvestri, Wootton, Pearce, Bellusci, Warnock (C Taylor 55), Cook, Mowatt, Bianchi, Sloth (Benedicic 78), Sharp, Antenucci. Subs. S Taylor, Cooper, Dawson, Tonge, Smith.
Bolton: Bogdan, Mills, Ream, Spearing, Mason, Danns, Chung-Yong, Davies (Beckford 78), Wheater (Dervite 7), White, Medo (Feeney 82). Subs. Lonergan, Hall, Pratley, Hughes.
Referee: S Hooper.
Booked: Wootton, Pearce (Leeds).
Following the departure of David Hockaday on Thursday it was Neil Redfearn that was in caretaker charge of the United first team on Saturday for the visit of Bolton Wanderers. Redfearn made a number of changes to his side and gave Alex Mowatt his first appearance of the season. Also, Lewis Cook was named from the start and there was home debuts for Giuseppe Bellusci and Mirco Antenucci. And, Danish international Casper Sloth made his United debut.
United started the game well and played the more adventurous football. There was very little in the way of chances during the opening 10 minutes but United were playing bright and penetrating football. The midfield foursome of Tommaso Bianchi, Mowatt, Cook and Sloth controlled the game during the opening quarter-hour.
But, against the run of play in the 12th minute, the away side had the meaningful opportunity of the match. Joe Mason was played through on goal with a killer through-ball but Marco Silvestri made a great save and tipped his strike onto his crossbar.
Following Mason's effort United regained control of the game and were rewarded in the 17th minute when Stephen Warnock struck. The full-back was played through high up the pitch and his low drive beat Adam Bogdan and sweetly nestled in the back of the net.
United's opener was just rewards for a bright start to the match and after the goal the away side didn't really caused United's back line too many problems. With five minutes of the half remaining the game sparked into life with a flurry of opportunities. Cook, who had an outstanding first 45 minutes, pulled the strings for United's attack on 40 minutes when Mowatt collected the ball on the edge of the box but his strike was just too high.
Then, once again against the run of play, Mason showed pace and determination to break forward, but his shot was straight into the grateful hands of Silvestri. The former Cardiff City striker had a further chance but the interval but Silvestri once again thwarted the forward.
Billy Sharp also threatened before the break when he showed great movement to open up the space to shoot but his effort went over the crossbar.
Both sides came out unchanged from half-time and Bolton were the first to threaten early on in the second half as Craig Davies was unable to find the target. United were then forced into their first change of the afternoon on 55 minutes as the goalscorer, Warnock, limped off to be replaced by Charlie Taylor after coming off worse in a strong challenge with Hayden White.
Bolton continued to press in search of an equaliser and Silvestri was forced into action once again as he kept out Jay Spearing's strike from range before thwarting Mason on the rebound.
United were having to defend in numbers to stem the tide as Dougie Freedman urged his men forward, but Cook's pin-point ball over the top for Sharp almost created an opening, only for Sharp's slightly heavy touch to take the ball into Bodgan's arms.
Redfearn's side were standing firm as Silvestri was once again alert to keep out Lee Chung-yong's 20-yard strike before the following corner was scrambled clear. United were still looking a threat on the break and they almost caught Bolton out with a swift counter-attack, only for Bianchi's low cross to be cut out inside the area.
Mason then fired over from range before Silvestri was equal to a Neil Danns free-kick. United debutant Sloth left the field to a standing ovation as he made way for Zan Benedicic with 12 minutes remaining, while Jermaine Beckford also received a similar reception from the Elland Road crowd as he replaced Davies for the visitors.
A tense final 10 minutes remained and both sides took turn to have efforts on goal. Beckford, who had saluted the home fans just moments earlier, lashed a strike wide after skipping past two United defenders, while Antenucci's movement was continuing to cause Bolton problems and his curling effort just evaded Bodgan's far post.
Five minutes of stoppage time were added on and a frantic finale ensued as Bolton threw everyone forward in search of a dramatic late equaliser. Former Liverpool midfielder Jay Spearing fired wide from outside the box before Silvestri clutched onto a searching Liam Feeney cross.
Bolton's golden opportunity to leave West Yorkshire with a point fell to Beckford inside the area but, yet again, Silvestri was on hand to preserve his clean sheet with a superb reflex save to keep out the striker's downward header before pouncing on the loose ball.
A final attack saw Bolton send Bogdan forward for a free-kick but the United defence held tight to secure a much-needed three points ahead of the international break.