The Leeds United u23s momentarily extended their lead at the top of the Premier League 2 Division 2 table with a 4-2 win over Middlesbrough.
Elia Caprile returned between the sticks while Casey and Kenneh also came into the starting lineup. The dynamic duo of Sam Greenwood and Joe Gelhardt started together with roles reversed as Gelhardt played upfront, while 16-year-old Max Dean came into the team. Under-18 players Charlie Allen, Kris Moore broke into the squad while Nicklas Haugland and Cole Gibbon also made the bench.
Leeds took the lead inside two-and-a-half minutes as Crysencio Summerville hugged the goal-line on the left, nutmegging his man before finding Max Dean across goal who had an easy finish as the youngster keeps up his excellent scoring record for the u23s this season.
Boro came close on the five-minute mark as Kenneh was beaten by Ashley Fletcher with the referee calling no foul as Boro broke into the box. A scramble ensued around the Boro attacker who was crowded out in the box with the deflection being cleared off the line by Casey in a crazy moment.
The Whites came close again as Crysencio Summerville cut inside from the right and unleashed a curling strike toward the keeper’s near post which was well saved. Summerville picked up the rebound and went down under a challenge with calls for a penalty but the referee wouldn’t budge.
Leeds doubled their lead on 17 minutes from a corner-kick, with McKinstry’s cross toward the near post being blocked by the defender ahead of Greenwood. The ball broke for Nohan Kenneh who prodded the ball home as he scored a rare goal from centre-back.
Crysencio Summerville started so brightly and came close again just a few minutes later. He picked up the ball in the midfield before turning toward the Boro goal and charging through several challenges before firing the ball at the goal with the keeper once again called into action.
The flying Dutchman was at the centre of yet another Leeds attack on 23 minutes as he was slipped in on the right by Stuart McKinstry. He skipped past the initial challenge before driving into the box and cutting the ball back for Joe Gelhardt. His marker tightened up and Gelhardt took his time, playing mind games of ‘will he? won’t he?’ before catching out the defender and keeper with a left-footed strike which snuck into the net.
Joe Gelhardt doubled his tally five minutes later as he blocked a Boro clearance to keep the initial Leeds attack going. He got the ball back from Summerville and was left just a couple of yards of space on the corner of the box. That’s all he needed to catch everyone out once again as he swung the ball toward the far post dipping right into the bottom left corner of the net.
Boro wouldn’t give up though, forcing Caprile into an excellent save soon after the fourth goal. Ashley Fletcher then headed over the bar from close range before a shot from outside the box skewed just inches wide of the bottom left corner to keep The Whites on their toes.
Boro built upon these chances as they came so close once again on 36 minutes as Ashley Fletcher played a one-two with Spence who had an open shot at goal, with his strike toward the bottom left corner once again well saved by Caprile.
HT: Middlesbrough u23s 0 - 4 Leeds u23s.— Through It All Together (@ThruItAllLUFC) February 7, 2021
Max Dean, Nohan Kenneh, Joe Gelhardt x2.
Excellent performance in that half. Crysencio Summerville setting up three goals (although the fourth goal was all about the finish rather than his assist). #lufc #MOT #lufcu23s
Kris Moore (CB) and Charlie Allen (CM) came onto the pitch for Jack Jenkins and Joe Gelhardt at the start of the second half.
Boro had the first chance of the second half as Spence came inside from the right, beating three men in the process before his left-footed strike rolled into Caprile’s arms. This game was far from over for Boro despite the scoreline.
They pulled one back a couple of minutes later from a corner-kick as a corner-kick dipped toward an open man at the back post who caught out the defence. He headed across goal and it bounced off the inside of the post and across the line.
Leeds rode the wave and got their reward for it as a penalty was one in the 52nd minute by Stuart McKinstry. Sam Greenwood managed to get out of a sticky situation as he turned on the spot and took three defenders out the equation before finding a cute pass to Drameh. His switch found Allen who slipped the ball between the lines to McKinstry on the left channel. He was brought down and the referee pointed to the spot.
Sam Greenwood took the penalty and sent the keeper the wrong way, but hit the inside of the left post and Boro were given a let-off as they looked to claw their way back into the game.
Crysencio Summerville came close twice in two minutes as the first chance came as he won the ball back in the midfield before driving forward with Max Dean in space ahead of him. Dean pulled his marker wide and Summerville attacked the middle as his strike was well saved by the keeper. He was then found attacking the far post from a cross on the left, his shot from close range was straight at the keeper as the Dutchman should’ve scored Leeds’ fifth.
It took a while but Boro managed to get a second goal on 83 minutes as the right-back, Sykes attacked McCarron on the far side before cutting inside at a rather tight angle before whipping an excellent strike with his left around the far post and into the net to pile the pressure on their opponents in the final minutes.
The Whites held on to the three points to extend their lead at the top of the league to 12 points with teams behind them having 1-2 games in hand.