Whites make it five wins in a row!
Premier League 2
Leeds United 1 (Llorente 27’)
Stoke City 0
Leeds: Caprile, Huggins, Davies, Phillips (McKinstry 45’), Cresswell, Llorente (Casey 45’), Costa, Jenkins, Roberts (Kenneh 45’), Greenwood, Poveda. Subs not used: Van Den Heuvel, Summerville.
Mark Jackson’s side made it five wins on the bounce in Premier League 2, following Diego Llorente’s first half header at Thorp Arch.
With no Premier League fixture coming up this weekend for the first team, Leeds United U23s were able to give important minutes Kalvin Phillips, Tyler Roberts, Ian Poveda, Helder Costa and the returning Llorente as they all looked to either keep up or regain their match fitness.
Stoke arrived at Thorp Arch with the knowledge that they had previously beaten the Whites, recording a resounding 4-0 victory on their home turf to begin the PL2 campaign.
Not wanting a repeat of that scoreline and with the possibility to further the lead at the top of the division, Jackson’s side started on the front foot and looked to take the lead right from the off.
Sam Greenwood raced forward and drilled a left-footed effort narrowly wide of the post, before Llorente tried his luck from range which went just over the bar.
Elia Caprile was forced into action through Christian Norton’s shot, before the Whites went up the other end shortly after and took the lead.
Phillips showed his class by picking out Llorente at the back post with a perfectly executed cross, and the defender did the rest by accurately putting his header into the opposite corner to make it 1-0.
Greenwood would once again come close in what was proving to be an entertaining and evenly contested match between the two teams, but no further goals would arrive before the interval.
HALF TIME: Leeds United 1-0 Stoke City
Making three changes at the break, Leeds brought off Phillips, Roberts and Llorente, who were replaced by Nohan Kenneh, Olly Casey and Stuart McKinstry.
A half that saw a flurry of yellow cards meant the action was often stop-start and neither team could get a real grip of the game.
Helder Costa shot over the bar at one end, before Poveda showed important defensive ability at the other by diving to block an effort from the visitors.
With the fouls and bookings starting to tot up, the Potters saw their best chances come from set-pieces. Tom Sparrow was the player taking them, and he was twice denied with free-kick’s on target by solid Caprile saves.
Sandwiched between those efforts was a close-range miss from Stoke top-scorer Ethon Varian, very much a let-off for the Leeds defence as he fired over the bar inside the six yard box. Greenwood went one closer straight down the other end, seeing his shot deflected onto the crossbar.
The visitors continued to pressure United’s goal, but Caprile was in fine form and commanded well alongside the ever-organising Charlie Cresswell in defence, who between them cleared most of the danger.
Stoke’s determination to throw players forward almost saw them caught out in stoppage time. The impressive Blondy Nna Noukeu made a double save to deny Niall Huggins and Ian Poveda, then Greenwood’s follow up was blocked on the line.
The final whistle blew and claimed Mark Jackson’s side another three points, a reward for a battling display in a tough match.
FULL TIME: Leeds United 1-0 Stoke City
Venue: Thorp Arch
Booked: Greenwood, Kenneh, Cresswell, Poveda (Leeds) - Varian, Sparrow, Wimmer (Stoke)