Currently Leeds United’s first team squad can buy neither luck nor a win, they also can’t keep 11 mean on the pitch. But the Under 23s are different.

Today, at Leeds United’s Thorp Arch training complex, the young Whites kept up their improving recent form by taking apart their Nottingham Forest counterparts – a resounding 5-1 win keeping up their impressive home form.

The damage was done early on the part of the young Leeds United side with two goals inside the opening 15 minutes. First to get his name of the scoresheet was ex-Benfica forward Oliver Sarkic (4′) who burst onto a free-kick from Tom Pearce and found the net from close range.

1-0 became 2-0 minutes later when a corner fired in by the impressive Pearce was flicked towards the Forest goal and knocked in at the back post by unmarked Spanish centre-back Oriol Rey, one of Leeds’ summer signings from Barcelona.

It was all Leeds in the game up to that point and they continued to press their early two-goal advantage. However, it was Forest, through Virgil Gomes (20′), who clawed themselves back into the game, a through ball being Leeds’ undoing with Gomes rounding Bailey Peacock-Farrell and slotting in.

12 minutes later and Adrian Balboa (32′), who’d only been on the pitch for six minutes after replacing the injured Sarkic, slotted home after a mesmerising run by Jack Clarke to restore the home side’s two-goal advantage.

Leeds continued to drive forward in droves, many probing balls nearly finding a Leeds United boot and with Rey having a hooked shot towards goal (45′) cleared off the line by a forest defender. Moments later and United were three goals to the good when the impressive Rey’s volley at goal was headed in by Paudie O’Connor (45′) after Forest’s keeper Tim Erlandsson parried save.

The half-time break saw the young Whites side go in 4-1 to the good in a half of football that they, in all honesty, dominated. It was also true after the break that Leeds dominated proceedings.

Leeds United continued to press and players such as ex-Ajax defender Pascal Struijk and Tom Pearce came close to adding to Leeds’ tally. It was Pearce who added the cherry-on-top performance when his pace and guile took him through the tiring Forest defence (65′) and enabled him to drive the ball home for Leeds’ fifth goal of the game.

A hungry Leeds outfit continued to press for a sixth and the likes of Jay-Roy Grot and Alex Machuca went close for the home side but there were to be no more goals in what was a canter of a game for Leeds United’s Under-23s.

It was a fluid performance by the Young Whites, Leeds’ players showing excellent footwork and a willingness to play the ball into spaces that encouraged an overlapping run, a drive to the byline and a dangerous cross into the box.

With many fans quick to criticise the set-up and buying policy of the Under-23 side at Elland Road, it is refreshing to see what is rapidly becoming a class outfit.


About Author

Cynicism turned to optimism but without the woop woops and ringing bells. Leeds United supporter through thick and thin, more thin than anything recently. Write mainly about the Whites but turn my hand to other clubs. Lover of salted crisp sandwiches. Not a hipster.

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