Leeds started the game brilliantly, opening the scoring just after the five minute mark. Joe Gelhardt received the ball with his back to goal, turning his man brilliantly before picking out Sam Greenwood between the centre-halves, who poked the ball home to give Leeds the lead.
The Whites were in again just two minutes later, as the Leeds press from a Sunderland corner led to McKinstry breaking with Drameh on the right. The right-back took the ball in his stride before squaring it back to McKinstry who fired just over the bar.
Another chance came Leeds’ way in the 19th minute, with an accidental hand-ball from Bogusz going unseen by the referee. He found Gelhardt on the right side who twisted and turned into some space at the goal-line before trying a shot from a tight angle, but he hit the side netting.
Sunderland got their first chance on 26 minutes, with the Black Cats building well into the left channel. There seemed to be a clear shot at goal available, but he wasn’t allowed by Cody Drameh who flew in to block the shot at the near post.
In the 34th minute, Caprile was finally given some work to do. From a long free-kick crossed in, Sunderland won their aerial battles, heading it on before another header across goal toward the left corner. Caprile was well prepared though, clawing away the close range header and keep his clean-sheet intact.
Leeds made a triple change at half-time with Robbie Gotts, Jack Jenkins and Pascal Strujik replaced Davis, Shackleton, and Bogusz.
Leeds came very close to doubling their lead five minutes into the second half, with Greenwood stealing possession high-up the pitch before taking the ball to the by-line. His shot across goal was recovered and squared to Gotts who couldn’t quite get there to finish.
Leeds came close again from a similar position just moments later, with Gelhardt twisting and turning at the far by-line before smashing the bar with his tight-angled shot.
The Whites kept pushing for a second, coming close on the hour mark as McKinstry sent the ball through to Gelhardt who had decent time and space to score. He didn’t manage on this occasion, with Gotts picking up the pieces and finding McKinstry whose shot swung over the bar.
Leeds did get their second soon enough, as Sam Greenwood doubled his tally against his former club, and what a goal it was. Gelhardt won a freekick on the edge of the box at right-of-centre. Greenwood took an assured run-up before smashing the ball over the wall as it dipped into the right corner to put Leeds 2-0 up.
Greenwood got his hat-trick soon after on 68 minutes, with McKinstry intercepting a Sunderland ball out from the back. Greenwood’s run cut across the defence from right to left, with a bit of luck on the control as the ball came of his heel. Greenwood spun onto his left foot before finishing high into the top left corner as he claimed the match-ball with 20 minutes to go.
Cody Drameh was sent off late-on after he was brought down by a late challenge, before committing dissent for a second yellow card. An unfortunate moment for a player who had a good game nonetheless.
Sunderland got one back on 93 minutes after Strujik gave away a penalty kick ifollowing a poor goal kick from Caprile, a dampener on such a great performance from the Leeds defence.
The game finished 3-0 and here are the *fully negotiable* player ratings:
Elia Caprile (7.5): Wasn’t called into action loads but when he was Caprile had no problems. Brilliant save to keep Leeds in the lead at 1-0, just a shame he couldn’t keep his deserved clean-sheet.
Cody Drameh (7.5): Similar situation with Drameh, a great performance at RB and CB, but a silly red card dampens the mood. Excellent going forward and was really aggressive in the press.
Olly Casey (6.5): Didn’t appear much in the game, particularly when Leeds were on the ball. No major moments for him, good or bad, having played holding midfield and centre-back.
Charlie Cresswell (6.5): Similar situation for the youngster, wasn’t called into action loads but did well when he was involved.
Bryce Hosannah (7): Played well at CB and RWB, as the shackles came off when playing wing-back. Defended well and brought energy to the team.
Leif Davis (6.5): Played pretty well in his 45 minutes but not overly involved. Took up some decent positions but nothing of note from this one.
Mateusz Bogusz (7.5): Very good on and off the ball in the first-half, did his defensive duties and always wanted the ball. We might’ve seen more had he stayed on.
Jamie Shackleton (6.5): Another one who wasn’t massively involved in the game, led the press well and brought some energy but didn’t have many notable moments.
Stuart McKinstry (7): Very energetic and looked dangerous at times but his bid moment came in assisting Greenwood’s third goal. Overall solid performance.
Joe Gelhardt (7): Another solid performer with a brilliant assist for Greenwood’s opener. Went a little quiet in the second half but worked hard and looked good.
Sam Greenwood (10): Today’s number nine could hardly be faulted. Not only for his three great goals, but also for his movement and passing ability as he showed how well he’s adapting to the style Leeds play. His movement reminded me of Bamford’s while his passing reminded me of Rodrigo a little. Nice combination plus the three goals to make a man of the match performance.
Pascal Strujik (8): Was almost flawless as well apart from the penalty at the end, but he was put in a difficult situation. Nonetheless, he appeared all over the pitch and owned the Sunderland attackers that came his way. His passing was very good and he showed how far he’s come in the last year or so.
Robbie Gotts (7): Played well for his 45 minutes and showed why he was academy player of the year last season. Assured on the ball, picked the right pass and brought energy.
Jack Jenkins (6.5): Wasn’t overly involved in play, but didn’t have any issues. Controlled the ball well and kept things running in deep midfield.