EFL

Patrick Bamford helps Leeds back to winning ways against Birmingham

By Sports Desk January 01, 2024

Patrick Bamford marked his first Leeds start of the season with the opening goal in a 3-0 win over struggling Birmingham at Elland Road.

It was far from the sort of free-flowing attacking football Leeds have been known for at home this season but it did not need to be against a fairly toothless Birmingham side.

The victory ended a run of two successive defeats for Daniel Farke’s side and increased the pressure on under-fire Birmingham boss Wayne Rooney, whose team continue to struggle at the wrong end of the Championship table.

Leeds claimed the lead just after half an hour as Bamford met a Dan James cross from the right with a perfectly timed header.

James doubled the home side’s lead in first-half stoppage time when his shot deflected past Birmingham goalkeeper John Ruddy.

Crysencio Summerville picked his spot for the third midway through the second half.

Dion Sanderson got in to block a Bamford shot as the home side threatened inside the first five minutes and was again in the right place to end a run by Georginio Rutter.

Birmingham were using the right wing to good effect and smart link-up play between Jay Stansfield and Oliver Burke almost saw the latter escape into open space and a run on goal.

Leeds were indebted to Joe Rodon’s covering interception to end a Siriki Dembele run behind the defence.

Summerville’s shot forced Ruddy into the game’s first real save after 25 minutes and James’ follow-up was blocked by Emmanuel Longelo.

Bamford opened the scoring with a well-placed header after 34 minutes as a James cross from the right picked out the striker and he rose above the Birmingham defence to head home.

Rodon again tidied up at the back to cut off Stansfield’s run as Birmingham tried to hit back on the break.

Ruddy got down to hold a James shot but was left helpless as the same player saw his stoppage-time effort deflect in off Lee Buchanan.

Leeds’ third-choice goalkeeper Kris Klaesson saved a Dembele shot to maintain his side’s two-goal advantage to the interval.

Birmingham should have pulled a goal back early in the second half as Dembele set Juninho Bacuna free with a pass on halfway. The finish was lacking as his chip over Klaesson was off target.

Ivan Sunjic fired just off target as Leeds failed to clear a corner before Bamford’s shot came back off the post and James’ follow-up hit Buchanan in the face with nearly an hour gone.

Leeds scored their third when Rutter set Junior Firpo away down the left and he pulled the ball back for Summerville to pick his spot from 12 yards.

Ruddy’s fingertip save denied Ethan Ampadu an injury-time fourth in what turned out to be a comfortable win for Leeds.

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