Leeds United’s Under-23s took on their Hull City counterparts today at Thorp Arch with a side that bristled with first-team players.
Barry Douglas, who’s been out injured for a while was one of those named, as were first-team regulars Jack Harrison and Tyler Roberts. Others on the fringes of the senior squad, such as Lewis Baker, Jack Clarke and Tom Pearce were also part of a strong Leeds United line-up.
Douglas’ inclusion will be most welcome as United look to bring him up to speed before Sunday’s game against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium. Bringing Douglas back in to the fold, as a natural left-back, will go some way to redressing the imbalanced back-four that Leeds have through injuries to Gaetano Berardi, and now Luke Ayling who is confirmed out for two months with ligament damage.
Leeds dominated the opening proceedings, taking the game to their East Yorkshire opponents. The Under-23s play a similar style of game to that of the first team and, whilst dominating, were finding the young Tigers a tough nut to crack. However, concerted pressure from the Whites soon saw them take the lead.
A glorious through ball from Chelsea loanee Lewis Baker found 17-year-old Jack Clarke on the right. His arrowed ball in was met by Ryan Edmondson, the former York City youngster poking the ball in to give Leeds a 1-0 lead. That sweetness was tinged with a hint of a bitter aftertaste, Edmondson having to go off after an earlier clash with Tyler Roberts – Callum Nicell his replacement.
Leeds turned around 1-0 to the good at the half, the second 45 kicking off with Jordan Stevens replacing Clark – a hint perhaps to the latter’s possible inclusion in the squad for the Wigan game. 15 minutes in and Leeds made their final change, Douglas coming off after a 60-minute run out, Tom Pearce replacing him.
The game opened up somewhat, Hull pushing for an equaliser and the game increasingly becoming more end-to-end. As the game entered the last 10 minutes, it was still 1-0 to the home side, but Jack Harrison doubled that advantage as time ticked by. Robbie Gotts spun another peach of a ball for Harrison and the Manchester City winger shot at goal, the Hull keeper getting a hand to it but not being able to prevent it going in.
There was still enough time for the visitors to get a consolation goal, Will Keane turning in a rebound after his header had come back off of Jamal Blackman in the Leeds goal. That spurt ended the scoring, and kept up the young Whites position at the top of Professional Development League 2.
More importantly though, it was a chance for some of Leeds United’s first-team players to stretch their legs. It also gave Barry Douglas a good 60 minutes of action that could prove more than useful in a Leeds United side going through something of a spate of injuries.