U18s Report: Leeds United 2-4 Middlesbrough

Defeat at Thorp Arch.

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U18 Premier League North

Leeds United 2 (McDonald 8’, McFadden 70’)

Middlesbrough 4 (Samuels 39’, Matthews 64’ 84’, Hamelburg 90’)

Leeds: Mahady (GK), Richards, Bird, Toulson (C) (Gorman 61’), Cresswell, Lopata-White, Vincent, Chadwick, Pirie (Brown 81’), McFadden, McDonald (Chambers 61’). Subs not used: Grainger, Billet

Boro: Connor (GK), Patterson, Samuels, Grant (Wilson 74’), Myers-Smith, Acheampong (Parker 52’), McPartland (Lennon 63’), McCabe, Matthews, Hamelberg, Coulson (Dore 74’). Subs not used: Simpson

Venue: Thorp Arch

Booked: Pirie (Leeds) Myers-Smith, Acheampong, Patterson, Samuels (Middlesbrough)

Sent-off: Cresswell (Leeds)

Leeds United Under-18s and their counterparts from Middlesbrough came into the game level on points so it was expected to be a close encounter.

That is exactly what the game produced with an early goal from Josh McDonald to put the Whites in the lead and, after Middlesbrough got two goals of their own, Max McFadden levelled the scores at 2-2 in the 70th minute.

But, with minutes to play the away side scored two in quick succession to claim all three points.

The early pressure came from the home side and led to a piece of individual brilliance from McDonald who opened the scoring.

The winger picked the ball up on the right-hand side and weaved his way past the Boro defenders before whipping a spectacular effort into the right-hand side of the goal.

After scoring, McDonald continued to cause all kinds of problems down Middlesbrough’s right-hand side. After creating space for himself, the winger tried to curl another effort goalwards – but this time Shea Connor in the Boro goal was equal to it.

Despite the early dominance from the Whites, the away side levelled the game just before half-time. A deep cross from the right wing evaded all those in the box, but Oliver Samuels arrived late at the back post and took one touch before unleashing a left-footed strike into the bottom corner.

With the scores level, the referee blew his whistle and signalled for half-time.

HALF TIME: Leeds United 1-1 Middlesbrough

After a slow start to the second half, Boro were awarded a penalty just after the hour mark. Ajay Matthews was pulled down inside the area and stepped up to take the penalty himself, converting the spot-kick by sending Rory Mahady the wrong way.

After the penalty, the Whites were soon reduced to 10 players when Alfie Cresswell collected two quick yellow cards.

This didn’t stop Scott Gardner’s side, though, and minutes later Leeds were awarded a free-kick 20-yards from goal. McFadden stepped up to take it and hit a right-footed effort into the top corner, leaving the keeper with no chance and drawing the sides level again.

As the full-time whistle approached Boro scored their third and Matthews had his second – from a corner towards the back post where the on-rushing striker met it, directing his header into the top corner from close range.

Boro sealed the victory in added-time when Eric Hamelberg placed home a comfortable finish after a quick counter-attacking move.

This was the last of the action in a six-goal thriller. Leeds will be looking to bounce back as they take a trip up to the North East on Wednesday afternoon, to face Sunderland.

FULL TIME: Leeds United 2-4 Middlesbrough

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