U21 Report: Leeds United 3-0 Nottingham Forest
Whites win promotion!
Premier League 2 Division 2 Play-Off Final
Leeds United 3 (Rutter 20, Mullen 38, Moore 54)
Nottingham Forest 0
Leeds: Van den Heuvel (Christy 89), Moore, Mullen, Monteiro, Gyabi, Allen (Debayo 84), Gray, McGurk (Spencer 78), S. Perkins, Joseph (Ferguson 84), Rutter (Thomas 78).
Forest: Bott, Hanks (Mighten 45), Donnelly, Hammond (Larsson 62), Abbott, McDonnell, Taylor, Hammond, Osong (J. Perkins 45), Konate, Powell. Subs not used: Willows, Thompson.
Booked: Gray (Leeds)
Referee: Ed Duckworth
Venue: Elland Road
Leeds United's Under-21s won promotion back to the Premier League 2 top-flight at the first attempt, with a fine three-goal victory over Nottingham Forest in the Premier League 2 Division 2 Play-Off Final at Elland Road.
Leeds started brightly, winning an early free-kick and Mateo Joseph nearly put the Whites ahead when he was found in the six yard box, but he couldn’t get the ball out of his feet to slot home.
Paco Gallardo’s side created another good chance in the fifth minute, Joseph’s deflected cross fell into the path of Sean McGurk, who dummied brilliantly, before firing at goal, with his effort hitting the post.
A minute later, Georginio Rutter tried his luck from distance, forcing Forest stopper Aaron Bott into a really good save and from the resulting corner, Kris Moore went close with a hooked volley, with his strike going just wide.
The Whites continued to dominate the opening stages and Joseph met a neat cross from fellow forward Sonny Perkins, but was unable to get the better of Bott.
Joseph again nearly got a breakthrough, this time meeting a neat cross from Sonny Perkins, but he was unable to get the better of Bott, before Rutter was denied from a narrow angle after being played in by Joseph.
Following a Whites corner, McGurk did well on the left flank and provided a cross for Rutter to head at goal, but once more Bott made another fine stop.
Leeds finally took the lead in the 20th minute, Joseph played a neat one-two with Perkins to enter the Forest box and he picked out Rutter, who found the bottom corner with a neat finish.
The Whites nearly doubled the advantage nine minutes later, Perkins sent Archie Gray down the right flank and he provided a lovely cross for Joseph, but he could only head narrowly wide.
Leeds did make it two before the break from a free-kick. Charlie Allen delivered a great cross to Jeremiah Mullen, unmarked in the Forest box and he smashed a fantastic volley and goal of the season contender into the bottom right corner.
Half time: Leeds United 2-0 Nottingham Forest
After the break, Leeds continued in the same manner as the first half, looking to extend the lead. Allen put a decent cross in from the right and Rutter looking for his second of the game, fired a volley at goal, but Bott made another brilliant stop.
Leeds stopper Dani van den Heuvel was called upon for the first time, eight minutes into the second period, denying Josh Powell’s strike from the edge of the box well.
However, Leeds went further ahead when Kris Moore made it three in the 54th minute. Allen played a short corner to McGurk and his cross was headed home by the defender from close range, to give the Whites breathing space.
Leeds continued to push to extend the advantage and nearly did following some neat build up, McGurk saw a good strike from the edge of the box blocked well, as did Rutter with the rebound.
Against the run of play, Forest carved out a decent opportunity, with Ateef Konate forcing Van den Heuvel into another decent stop.
Allen nearly caught out Bott with a free-kick, from a narrow angle on the left flank, but the Forest goalkeeper made another superb stop, whilst substitute Luca Thomas almost got on the scoresheet, when the ball landed with him on the edge of the Forest area following a corner and he struck just inches wide.
Forest nearly pulled back a consolation goal with two minutes of regular time remaining, Konate teed up Dale Taylor on the edge of the Whites box and he fired just past the post.
Taylor again tried his luck for the visitors in stoppage time, striking from 30 yards, but substitute Leeds stopper Harry Christy was on hand to prevent it from going into the top corner, with a great diving save.
The Whites then saw out the final seconds, to clinch promotion back to the top-tier, with a well deserved and comprehensive victory.
Full time: Leeds United 3-0 Nottingham Forest