Young­sters blos­som as Leeds dis­cover that win­ning feel­ing once again

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FOOTBALL - LEE SOBOT AT ELLAND ROAD ■ Email: [email protected]­me­dia.co.uk ■ Twit­ter: @YPS­port

KALVIN PHILLIPS hailed the never-end­ing con­veyor belt of suc­cess within Leeds United’s Academy af­ter a patched-up Whites swept aside Satur­day’s vis­i­tors Bris­tol City at Elland Road.

An al­ready in­jury-hit Leeds were forced to make two more changes with­out tal­is­man cen­tre-back Pon­tus Jans­son and goal­keeper Bai­ley Pea­cock-Far­rell, who are re­cov­er­ing from foot and knee in­juries re­spec­tively.

Pea­cock-Far­rell’s set­back left Leeds with­out a recog­nised first­team goal­keeper last week, with for­mer loa­nee Ja­mal Black­man hav­ing bro­ken his leg and re­turn­ing to par­ent club Chelsea.

With United not sign­ing an emer­gency loan goal­keeper, 20-year-old Academy grad­u­ate Will Huf­fer was handed a de­but between the sticks by head coach Marcelo Bielsa with fel­low 20-year-old Finn Aapo Halme also fill­ing in for Jans­son at cen­tre-back.

Bar the odd set piece, the duo were rarely threat­ened by a fairly tooth­less Robins side, who shot them­selves in the foot when Josh Brown­hill was sent off for a sec­ond book­ing in the 55th minute.

The dis­missal proved the cat­a­lyst for a Whites on­slaught with Lee John­son’s vis­i­tors for­tu­nate to only con­cede twice to strikes from Ke­mar Roofe and Pablo Her­nan­dez.

At the other end of the pitch, Halme and Huf­fer helped United to their sev­enth clean sheet of the sea­son – im­press­ing Phillips who him­self is a grad­u­ate of the club’s Academy.

“I thought they did ex­cep­tion­ally well, both of them,” said Phillips.

“I’ve been there and it is nervewrack­ing but they han­dled it very well and it is a credit to Leeds United and the academy.”

Mid­fielder-turned-de­fender Phillips lined up in a back three along­side Halme and cap­tain Liam Cooper and the trio plus goal­keeper Huf­fer sur­vived a few nervy mo­ments in the first half.

Two head­ers from Lloyd Kelly both threat­ened while Huf­fer was for­tu­nate when punch­ing clear a cross di­rectly to Jamie Pater­son, who could only send his lob over the bar.

Leeds had two clear chances in the first half with vis­it­ing goal­keeper Niki Maen­paa tip­ping a ris­ing Gjanni Alioski vol­ley over be­fore a de­flected ef­fort from Roofe trick­led past the post. But the Robins were left stuffed shortly be­fore the hour mark when the al­ready-booked Brown­hill lunged at Roofe in the cen­tre cir­cle and was sent for an early bath. United then cre­ated a plethora of chances – es­pe­cially af­ter the in­tro­duc­tion of sub­sti­tute Samu Saiz – with Alioski, Roofe and Jack Har­ri­son squan­der­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties be­fore Maen­paa bril­liantly pre­vented a Barry Dou­glas ef­fort which seemed des­tined to find the top right-hand cor­ner.

A United opener looked in­evitable and City fi­nally crum­bled in the 69th minute when Roofe di­verted home a shot from Her­nan­dez from close range.

Leeds then en­sured vic­tory with Her­nan­dez mak­ing sure there was to be no City come­back when, four min­utes from time, he neatly looped a header over Maen­paa fol­low­ing a su­perb re­verse pass from Saiz.

The vic­tory was a wel­come way for United to bounce back from the 4-1 hid­ing at West Bromwich Al­bion be­fore the in­ter­na­tional break. and keeps them third in the ta­ble, one point be­hind sec­ond-placed Mid­dles­brough and three be­hind lead­ers Nor­wich City

United’s play­ers ded­i­cated the vic­tory to Black­man with Cooper hold­ing aloft Black­man’s shirt in cel­e­bra­tion of Roofe’s goal.

Phillips said: “With the send­ing off, I am a modern-day mid­fielder and I think it was a bit harsh to be hon­est.

“We have had yel­low cards for the same thing but I think it was a turn­ing point.

“But as a Leeds United player I thought that we were well on top.

“I thought they maybe had some threat from set pieces but other than that they didn’t re­ally catch us out on any­thing.”

“Ob­vi­ously it was very dis­ap­point­ing for us at West Brom, and then hav­ing two weeks to dwell on it. It’s not good but we came in last week and worked re­ally hard. The man­ager told us what we’d done wrong and this shows that we’re im­prov­ing as a team.”

PIC­TURE: TONY JOHN­SON.

CLOS­ING OUT: Leeds United’s Pablo Her­nan­dez beats Bris­tol’s Adam Web­ster to nod the ball home for the hosts’ sec­ond goal of the game against Bris­tol City at Elland Road on Satur­day.

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