Only 17000 were in attendance at Elland Road for the visit of the league leaders last night, but those who did turn up bore witness to one of the most nerve-shredding fixtures I’ve seen there in years as Leeds rode their luck to topple Bournemouth.

Leeds started brightly enough with first half chances for Rudy Austin fired wide from an acute angle while a long-range warning shot from Luke Murphy was palmed away by the Bournemouth keeper.

The suddenly in-form Luke Murphy followed up with an outstanding left-footed strike from outside the box, right into the top corner of the goal leaving the visiting keeper with no chance and giving Leeds the lead on 36 minutes. 1-0.

After switching to a flat 4-4-2 for the 1-1 draw against Birmingham on Saturday, Leeds returned to 4-2-3-1 which allowed us to keep plenty behind the ball and dominate the midfield. Nevertheless, Bournemouth looked good value for their lofty position and were still managing to create the better chances, the best of which was converted by Brett Pittman only to be wrongly ruled out for offside by a referee whose terrible decision-making only added to the night’s drama.

Before Bournemouth were wrongly awarded a penalty and Bellusci was sent-off for a foul that unquestionably occurred outside the box, the visitors had missed a point black header, seen close-ranged efforts blocked and scrambled away, hit the woodwork and shaved several years off the life expectancy of every Leeds United fan inside Elland Road as the tension hit dangerous levels and 17000 fans were reduced to shivering wrecks – and that wasn’t due to the snowy conditions.

But Kermorgant fluffed Bournemouth’s late penalty and the visiting side must have been left wondering what they’d done to upset the football Gods. For Leeds however, this felt like we were being repaid for all the bad luck we’ve been dealt recently, such as two clear penalties denied against Birmingham last time out.

And while Bournemouth had the better chances and should have taken something from this game, the battling performance from Leeds was something to behold, most notably for the performance – once again – of 17-year-old Lewis Cook, returned to defensive midfield after playing out-wide against Birmingham and central to everything Leeds United did.

Luke Murphy is on-fire at the minute and he too deserves great credit, as does Sam Byram, Rudy Austin and Charlie Taylor who all put in a great shift. Once again I was impressed by Steve Morison’s performance and while he hasn’t managed to snatch a goal, he’s worked tirelessly and definitely deserved one.

The relief around Elland Road as Leeds fans head for the exits was overwhelming, not too dissimilar from the full time whistle against Bristol when we were promoted from League One. The stakes weren’t much lower either when you consider how dangerously close to the edge we’ve been skirting after failing to convert some good performances into wins. This, you feel, was a desperately needed win to attest that slide.

We still have our problems of course. Aside from Massimo Cellino’s ongoing chaos, our defence is still something of a catastrophe, but we’ve kept fighting on, made the best of what we have and four points from the last two fixtures is about right for what the performances deserved – even if the results should probably have been reversed (ie. winning against Brum, drawing against Bournemouth).

Neil Redfearn deserves great credit, as do the fans for maintaining patience after a series of disappointing results. Hopefully this one will prove to be a catalyst for a more enjoyable few months ahead.

On and on…