Whites win first pre-season friendly.
Venue: City of York Council’s LNER Stadium
Leeds United 4 (Koch 10’, Firpo 22’, Rodrigo 30’, Joseph 85’)
Leeds: Meslier (GK) (Klaesson 45’), Firpo (Davies 45’), Koch (Mullen 45’), Roca (Bate 61’), Rodrigo (C) (Miller 45’), Struijk (Moore 61’), Harrison (Forshaw 61’), Gelhardt (Joseph 61’), Drameh (Shackleton 61), Greenwood (McGurk 61’), Gray (Allen 72’).
Blackpool first half XI: Maxwell (GK), Bowler, Dougall, Madine, Carey, Virtue, Keogh, Garbutt, Thorniley, Apter, Holmes.
Blackpool second half XI: Grimshaw (GK), Connolly, Dale, Anderson, Lavery, Ekpiteta, Hamilton, Lubala, Tharme, Moore, Hughes.
Jesse Marsch oversaw his first Leeds United friendly of the season, facing Sky Bet Championship side Blackpool at the City of York Council’s LNER Stadium on a fine summer evening.
Marc Roca was the only new signing to start the match, taking his place at the heart of the midfield for his new side, accompanied by Archie Gray alongside him.
The Whites looked dangerous from the off and were quickly into an early lead. Following a quick free-kick, Jack Harrison teed up Junior Firpo who whipped the ball across the six-yard box, finding Robin Koch at the back post who powered home to open the scoring.
10' Goal! A quick free-kick from Harrison, Firpo rolls it through to Koch, who taps it in! 1-0 pic.twitter.com/yVAN6tRrQw— Leeds United (@LUFC) July 7, 2022
The football was matching both the weather and the atmosphere, with plenty of early one-touch exchanges for Marsch’s side who were camped in the opposition half. Rodrigo tested Chris Maxwell in the Seasiders net, seeing his strike tipped wide for a corner.
From the corner, the Harrison and Firpo connection came good once again, with the winger finding his full-back at the front post to head home for a fully deserved second of the match!
23' Goal! From provider to scorer, Firpo heads in from a corner! 2-0 pic.twitter.com/mWvJU520W6— Leeds United (@LUFC) July 7, 2022
The pressing and pressure was continuous and with the away side struggling to cope with the tempo, Leeds added a third! Gray saw an opportunity to put the ball back into the box from a clearance, Joe Gelhardt superbly controlled and laid it off for Rodrigo to smash into the roof of the net!
30' Goal! Rodrigo makes it 3-0! pic.twitter.com/Q6U838tdcS— Leeds United (@LUFC) July 7, 2022
Blackpool did venture forward as the half went on and looked to get back into the match. The closest they came was through a powerful low strike from Luke Garbutt, who forced Illan Meslier into a save at his near post. The whistle to end the first 45 blew with Marsch’s side three goals up!
HALF TIME: Leeds United 3-0 Blackpool
Leif Davis, Kristoffer Klaesson, Amari Miller and Jeremiah Mullen all replace Firpo, Koch, Meslier and Rodrigo for the second half. Blackpool made their planned changes, coming out with an entirely new XI to the first 45 minutes in York.
The second half was a much quieter affair, with regular substitutions throughout, meaning chances were restricted to set-plays and long-range free-kicks. Sam Greenwood struck two efforts at goal following fouls, but neither troubled the Blackpool goal.
For Leeds, the rest of the bench came onto the pitch as Cody Drameh, Gelhardt, Greenwood, Harrison, Roca and Pascal Struijk were replaced by Lewis Bate, Adam Forshaw, Mateo Joseph, Sean McGurk, Kris Moore and Jamie Shackleton.
Second half substitute between the posts Klaesson was nearly tested as the match edged closer to a conclusion, when Callum Connolly’s low free-kick flew just past the keeper’s left post.
Coming even closer minutes later, Klaesson was forced to make an excellent stop when last season’s top scorer for the visitors, Shayne Lavery, raced through one on one, but saw his shot parried clear.
In the final five minutes, Marsch saw his side add a fourth, with another free-flowing move! Shackleton broke down the right wing and cut the ball back for Joseph, who calmly fired into the back of the net!
🙌 Mateooooooo! 4-0! pic.twitter.com/bLv6SI5jNv— Leeds United (@LUFC) July 7, 2022
That goal was to be the last action of what had been an excellent friendly clash, with Leeds United running out comfortable four-goal winners and giving 22 players important minutes during pre-season!
FULL TIME: Leeds United 4-0 Blackpool