Leeds United put some off-the-pitch drama surrounding Marcelo Bielsa and “spygate” behind them as they took the pitch against Derby County and ran out 2-0 winners over the visitors, despite missing some key first-team players through injury and suspension and fielding a bench with an average age of 19 and half years old. Goals from Kemar Roofe and Jack Harrison were enough to see Leeds win, but it was 18 year-old Jack Clarke who was the man of the match, as he created both goals and was a threat down the right wing all night.
Leeds dominated possession early on, with a shout for a penalty denied by a dodgy offside call in the first minute, and a few corner kicks, including a “how did he miss” moment from Cooper. Cooper was only able to scoop the ball with his foot and the ball went skying over the bar in the 9th minute.
ROOOOFE #LUFC pic.twitter.com/ycK1x0uStH— TotalLeeds.co (@Totallufc) January 11, 2019
Leeds would eventually get on the board in the 20th minute, as Clarke collected the ball just outside of the penalty box, beat his defender, and sent in a sublime low cross that Roofe did well to stick the ball into the back of the net. And despite the fact that Roofe got the final ball to put the ball into the back of the net, Clarke was the player most responsible for the goal, as he continued to torment the Derby defence.
Besides the dominating performance by Leeds, the main talking point from the first half was the consistently heavy challenges from the Derby players that resulted in a number of yellow cards for the visiting team.
Leeds continued to be the dominant team in the rest of the first half, and while they didn’t score another goal, Derby were nowhere near scoring at all. It was one of the most dominating performances for a Leeds team all season, despite the single goal.
Harrison GOAL v Derby ⚽ #LUFC pic.twitter.com/ZYx6APIajV— TotalLeeds.co (@Totallufc) January 11, 2019
Leeds didn’t waste any time getting on the board in the second half, however, as Clarke was once again the straw that stirred the drink, as his cross wasn’t dealt with by Derby and after Gjanni Alisoki flubbed his shot, Harrison was able to bundle the ball across the line for his second goal at Leeds and the second goal of the game.
The rest of the half was no different than the other parts of the game, although Leeds still seemed to lack a killer last touch, as a number of chances went begging. Derby also came close on a couple of occasions, with Leeds players coming out to block the shot and a particular moment of madness from Bailey Peacock-Farrell that saw him lucky to intercept David Nugent’s shot as it bounced off of his shins and out of touch.
Leeds dipped into their rather young bench as the game wore on, as Jamie Shackleton and Leif Davis both came on, with Harrison and Clarke coming off. And yes, if you’re keeping track at home, one teenager, Clarke was subbed off for another one, Davis.
So in the end, Leeds did enough to get all three points and extend their lead on top of the table to five points over Norwich City, who play fourth placed West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.