Bolton Wanderers 2-3 Leeds United: Kalvin Phillips stars as Whites get off to winning start

Leeds United began their 2017/18 Championship campaign with a 3-2 win at Bolton Wanderers on Sunday afternoon.

The Whites made a blistering start to the match and took an lead early through Kalvin Phillips. Chris Wood then got off-the-mark for the season soon after to put his side 2-0 ahead. Gary Madine got the Trotters back into the match before Phillips got his second and Leeds' third before half-time.

Adam Le Fondre did pull another goal back for the home side midway through the second-half from the spot, but it wasn't enough as the visitors were able to hang on for a valuable three points in their opening game. 

Leeds take control in one-sided first-half

New Leeds manager Thomas Christiansen named a number of new signings in his starting lineup for this game with the likes of Felix Wiedwald, Matthew Pennington and Ezgjan Alioski all featuring for the first time at their new club. Leeds supporters were certainly eager to see how quickly the imports could settle into English football. 

The early signs were very good as the away side took the lead only seven minutes into the match. Pablo Hernández's corner was pulled back to Phillips and his shot found the back of the net via a deflection. It was the perfect start to Christiansen's first match in charge and it sent Leeds' large away support into delirium. 

Wanderers were struggling to compete with Leeds on their first match back in the second tier since winning automatic promotion from League One last season. They found themselves 2-0 down after half-an-hour as Wood got his first goal of the season. His header went in off the underside of the crossbar after Alioski kept it alive in the area. 

However, despite a superb start from his side, Christiansen was dealt a blow when left-back Gaetano Berardi was forced off through injury. The Swiss defender left the field with his arm in a sling after falling awkwardly following a collision with team-mate Liam Cooper

One area in which Bolton did always look dangerous from was set-pieces. This theory was supported minutes after Berardi was taken off as Madine converted from a corner to make it 2-1. It was not a great moment for new Leeds keeper Felix Wiedwald as he was nowhere to be seen as Madine headed into an empty net from close range. 

Madine's header got Wanderers back into the match. (picture: Getty Images / Andrew Kearns - CameraSport)
Madine's header got Wanderers back into the match. (picture: Getty Images / Andrew Kearns - CameraSport)

However, the away side still had time to restore their two goal advantage before half-time. Hernández was able to play Wood through on goal with an inch-perfect pass and he squared it to Phillips who was able to cooly pass the ball into an empty net to make it 3-1. 

This was a huge blow to Wanderers shortly after getting themselves back into the game and the crowd at the Macron Stadium were certainly not impressed as their side went into half-time 3-1 down. 

Wanderers fight-back is not enough

It was a slow start to the second-half with Leeds happy to retain possession and frustrate Wanderers further. They did have a chance to kill the game off as Kemar Roofe broke clear down the right hand side but both his and Alioski's rebounded shot were kept out by Mark Howard.

However, despite the fact Leeds looked like they would comfortably see the game out for three points, the hosts found a way back into the match. Referee Simon Hooper pointed to the penalty spot after substitute Conor Shaughnessy was caught pulling Madine's shirt in the area. Le Fondre was the man to step up and convert from the spot to make it 3-2. 

Remarkably, Leeds almost responded immediately by scoring another goal themselves, just like they did in the aftermath to Bolton's first. Hernández found himself closing in on goal straight from the resulting kick-off and his shot rattled the crossbar before going over. It was a huge let off for the hosts after they switched off once again following a goal. 

Despite Wanderers desperately trying to get themselves back into the match to claim a point in the latter stages, Leeds were able to hold firm and claim a valuable three points to end the Championship's first round of fixtures.