Leeds United’s first-team squad are riding high in the Sky Bet Championship, but not as high as their Under-23s are in the Professional Development League 2.
Whilst the first-team sit in third place ahead of tomorrow’s away game at Blackburn, the Under-23s are sitting very pretty indeed at the top of their table.
Today’s game was one against near neighbours from South Yorkshire, the young Whites travelling the relatively short distance to Barnsley for a derby fixture. It was a game that many thought would be competitive, that proving to be the case.
It was the home side who started the better, punishing some sloppy work by the Leeds United youngsters. Barnsley youngster Gerry McDonagh had all the time in the world in the Leeds box to pick out striker Tai-Reece Chisholm whose one touch and stroked finish put the home side 1-0 up.
United were taking some time to get into the game and get up to speed, with a rash challenge by Callum Nicell giving the young Tykes a penalty and a chance to make it 2-0. Up stepped the now-confident Chisholm, his penalty skied over the bar.
The young Whites began to push back with striker Ryan Edmondson getting Leeds’ first chance – a header glanced wide. It was a mistake that he’d rectify just three minutes later, the burly ex-York youngster glancing a pin-point header into the far corner after a precision corner by Robbie Gotts.
Just into the second half and Leeds United were in front courtesy of Sam Dalby. The rangy former Leyton Orient striker ran down the left, clipped a ball beyond the defender for Clark Oduor to race onto. Oduor drilled the ball to Edmondson, who second blocked attempt bobbled to Dalby who stroked it into the top corner with his left foot.
Two soon became three and it was former Forest Green midfielder Jordan Stevens who danced into the Barnsley box, played an exquisite poked pass to Edmondson who scored his second of the afternoon, sending the Barnsley keeper sprawling the wrong way. The build up was so fluid that Luke Ayling, playing as he’s suspended for tomorrow said, “It’s an absolute pleasure.” as the ball nestled in the net.
United were in total control, Barnsley hardly getting a sniff of a chance. It was left to that man Edmondson to round off the scoring with his hat-trick goal. Gotts laid off the free-kick to Oduor who lofted the ball into the danger area. Aapo Halme and Edmondson both challenged but it was the young Leeds striker who netted his third of the afternoon for the winning 4-1 scoreline.
That victory made sure of the young Whites sixth win of the campaign, with three draws and just the solitary loss to Bolton Wanderer’s Under-23s. It looks promising for the young Whites as they seamlessly carry over the great form that they showed last season into this.