Patrick Bamford returns to rescue Leeds but tougher tests lie ahead

As the clock ticked into the final minute of second half stoppage time, the eye was involuntarily drawn to a slip of neon orange lurking in Brentford’s penalty area. With Leeds trailing 2-1 at home to the freshly promoted Londoners, Illan Meslier was ushered forward for a final throw of the dice.

Yet, it was the similarly skeletal figure draped in white that proved decisive. Jostling on the other side of the box, Patrick Bamford was the first to react to Luke Ayling’s flick on at the near post, contorting his newly healed body to divert a last gasp equaliser over the line, emphatically announcing his return from an 11-week injury layoff.

Marcelo Bielsa, never one to skimp on a detailed answer, had become so fatigued fielding questions about his absent number nine, he offered a blunt assessment of Bamford’s qualities on the eve of Brentford‘s visit: “Just to say he was a player who scored one goal every two games last season is enough to show his importance.”

Goals have been desperately hard to eke out for Leeds this season. Sunday’s 2-2 draw was just the third time in 15 league games Leeds had netted more than once. In the previous campaign, a Bamford-led front line rattled off at least three goals in half of their first six Premier League matches.

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