Following Leeds United's 1-1 draw away to Nottingham Forest this past weekend a great deal of the talk surrounding the club was its ability to grind out a result against a solid team and get back on track prior to the New Year. As a whole the team put in a disciplined and concentrated 90 minutes, which ultimately resulted in Leeds discrediting its usual poor form away from home.
Neil Redfearn in his post-match comments with LUTV was even quick to point out how proud he was of his team's resolve: "I thought the players were excellent with the way we applied ourselves and competed and battled and fought. The overall performance, and the diligence when we it changed to a 4-4-2, I thought it was a really good away performance. We were dogged today [too], which is a good sign."
Through these remarks a theme of collective perseverance emerges, but there was a particular performance that stood out and helped guide the team to victory. Goalkeeper Marco Silvestri was simply brilliant on the day and without his efforts the Whites surely would not have left The City Ground with a precious away point.
While the 23-year-old Italian was beaten in first half stoppage time by a fine Matt Fryatt finish, he time and time again showed signs of being a top-class goalkeeper. He was solid and dependable in the first half, but it was his second half performance that vaulted him to another level of play.
Several times on the evening he commandingly came off his line to claim services into the box and he was just as quick to corral balls that were slid through the back line. What was most impressive of his performance though was his incredible reflexes and shot stopping ability.
Silvestri repeatedly combined athleticism and positioning to stop quality efforts from Forest players. Shots from Henri Lansbury, Antonio, Jack Hunt, Dexter Blackstock, and Robert Tesche were no match for the former Chievo and Cagliari shot-stopper. The below video clip shows just how inspired Silvestri's form was on the evening.
At the conclusion of the match Redfearn also keenly pointed out to LUTV the vital role that Silvestri played on the evening: "Some of the saves were out of the top-drawer. We have some young guns who are outstanding talents."
Given Silvestri's performance against Nottingham it appears that the costly blunder in the 2-1 loss to Blackburn Rovers is behind him. In the 22 games he has played he has surely experienced ups and downs, but this past weekend's showing was one of the finest of his young career at the Yorkshire club.
As the season carries on for Leeds, Silvestri will surely further cement himself as the club's preferred man between the pipes and show his potential as one of the top young goalkeepers in all of the Championship.