Strikers on target as United return to winning ways...
UNITED 2 (McCormack 52, Poleon 80), BOURNEMOUTH 1 (Grabban 73).
United: Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Pearce, Warnock, Austin, Tonge, Mowatt, Green, McCormack, Hunt (Poleon 72). Subs. Cairns, Murphy, Byram, Smith, Diouf, Varney.
Bournemouth: Allsop, Francis, Cook, Pugh (Surman 62), Grabban, Harte, Fraser (Flahavan 32), Ward, Rantie (Pitman 76), Collison, O'Kane. Subs. Elphick, McDermott, Addison, Cornick.
Referee: D Coote
Booked: Austin, Poleon (Leeds), Francis, Pugh (B'Mouth)
Sent Off: Allsop (B'Mouth)
United manager Brian McDermott made several changes to his starting line-up for the visit of Bournemouth on Tuesday evening. There were recalls for Tom Lees, Paul Green and Noel Hunt in place of Scott Wootton, Luke Murphy and Luke Varney after the defeat at Millwall at the weekend.
There was a home debut for Alex Mowatt after making his first three United appearances on the road.
The away side included former United defender and dead ball specialist Ian Harte, and there was also a debut for West Ham United loanee Jack Collison after he signed for the Cherries on Tuesday afternoon.
United went into the game with the south coast side on the back of three straight league defeats, and they started the better against a side that have never recorded a victory over the Elland Road club.
Ross McCormack, who was playing up front with Hunt, had an early chance to open the scoring within a matter of minutes, but the striker's shot was easy pickings for the Bournemouth keeper. McCormack's strike partner also had a chance early on but his headed effort went wide of the mark.
Much of the early pressing came from United with McCormack looking lively up top. The Scot was causing the away defence problems with his trickery and pace and Elland Road debutant Mowatt was pulling the strings in the midfield. A chance came United's way on the quarter hour mark when Michael Tonge struck from distance but the strike was blocked.
United's dominance of possession continued as the half went on. A Lee Peltier cross on the 25-minute mark led to another chance coming the way of McCormack. Peltier's cross bounced off a number of players in the Bournemouth area but the important touch came from Rudy Austin. The Jamaican's inadvertant pass fell to McCormack who shot at goal but a superb save from Ryan Allsop stopped United taking the lead.
Moments later the away side's first strike on goal came from Lewis Grabban, but the forward could only watch as his strike from distance went over Paddy Kenny's crossbar.
On the half-hour mark United's pressure led to Hunt winning a penalty for the home side. Allsop was the Bournemouth man who ran towards the ball and with the Irishman getting the vital first touch the keeper brought him down. The keeper was seen to have prevented a goalscoring opportunity and was shown a straight red card. McCormack took the spot kick, but the away substitute keeper Darryl Flahavan saved well down to his left with his first touch of the game.
The away goal was living a charmed life during the closing stages of the first half with multiple United efforts homing in on its target. Goal attempts from Peltier, Austin, McCormack and finally Tom Lees were either blocked, saved or missed the target, as the 10 men of Bournemouth stood strong as the first half came to an end.
With just seven minutes of the second half played Bournemouth were broken down. Mowatt released Warnock down the left hand side who delivered brilliantly for McCormack, who made no mistake in slipping the ball into the back of the net.
The opening goal gave United control in the game as the home side continued to have the majority of the ball. On the hour mark Austin tried his luck from distance but the Bournemouth keeper got his body behind the ball well to save.
The away side rallied together after the hour past when Collison showed his Premier League experience to strike at Kenny's goal. Although the United keeper had been a spectator for most of the evening he was equal to the effort and saved well.
The following 10 minutes of the game brought the away side's best spell of the match. Bournemouth forward Grabban brought Elland Road to silence when he got on the end of a headed ball forwards to smash the ball past Kenny from close range to level the game on 73 minutes.
United responded to the equaliser with McCormack seeing two shots, in quick succession, blocked by the away defence. Moments later United came even closer but Dominic Poleon's effort was saved brilliantly by Flahavan.
But the United substitute wasn't to be denied. Moments later he restored the Whites advantage on 80 minutes. Jason Pearce's looping header in the Bournemouth box teed up Poleon perfectly in the middle of the area and the striker blasted the ball past the keeper for his first league goal of the season.
The final 10 minutes of the 90 brought very little goal mouth action as United looked to attack the away side on the counter. The United defence held firm on the few occasions Bournemouth advanced and kept them at bay.
With five minutes of injury time added on United were still the team looking the more dangerous on the attack and as no real threat came from Bournemouth the strikes from McCormack and Poleon proved to the deciding moments of the match.