U23 Report: Leeds 3-2 Saints

By SFC Media time Mon 21 Jan Leeds v Saints
Photo by James Bridle
Mon 21 Jan 7PM
Premier League Cup
Leeds United
3
Southampton
2
Halme [9'] Diaz [75'] Edmondson [85']
goal
Sims [53']. Barnes [58']
Venue: Tadcaster Albion | Attendance: 2,500

Southampton’s youngsters were narrowly beaten by their Leeds counterparts in the Premier League Cup on Monday evening - the Yorkshire outfit edging an entertaining five-goal encounter at the i2i Stadium.

The hosts had taken the lead from a corner early in the first period, but it was all change after the interval, as a quick-fire double, scored by Josh Sims and Marcus Barnes meant Saints were in ascendance.

But more set-piece disappointment was to follow, as Leeds clawed themselves level from another corner routine, and hit the decisive blow five minutes later - striker Ryan Edmondson pouncing in the box to secure all three points for Leeds.

With two Premier League Cup Group H encounters to go, Radhi Jaïdi’s side remain in contention to qualify, but have surrendered top spot to Newcastle - ahead of their Magpies meeting in Northumberland in early February.

Scorer Barnes got Saints on the front foot within the opening two minutes, as a cross from the left fell kindly at his feet back post, but the low shot did little to trouble former Real Madrid stopper Francisco Casilla - on his Leeds debut.

The hosts, fielding plenty of senior experience, upped the tempo shortly after, and were ahead in the ninth minute as defender Aapo Halme, unmarked in the area, headed home an in-swinging Tom Pearce corner.

Another first-team face, Tyler Roberts, returning from injury, was additional threat for Leeds and twice tested Harry Lewis from distance. The first, a fierce drive from a central position, was comfortable enough, but the second produced more industry from Saints’ stopper who stretched to his right and pushed the curling shot to safety.

Winger Barnes, Saints’ brightest player in the first half, tricked his way into the area in the 40th minute, and had a brief sight of goal. He beat three men, using quick feet and muscle in combination, before Halme recovered to make a crucial interception, taking ball and player in one swift movement. 

The visitors, accepting a narrow deficit at the break, weren’t to be denied in the second period. Seven minutes after the restart, Sims was presented with the easiest of finishes, owing much to the good work of Jonathan Afolabi, who had sped down the left and fizzed a low cross towards the winger who tapped home for the equaliser.

And with a foothold in the game, Saints were soon in front. It was a solo effort from Barnes, who picked the ball up wide, drifted infield, and fired precisely with his favoured right boot to find the far corner - leaving Casilla stranded. 

But there was plenty more goalmouth action to come, with Saints unable to prevent further woe from a series of set-plays. Leeds won a corner in the 75th minute, which was ineffectively dealt with, and fell to defender Hugo Diaz at the back post who finished low beneath Lewis.

Five minutes later, the home side had retaken the lead. Striker Edmondson siezed upon a lose ball in the box, and with two bites at the cherry, eventually despatched what turned out to be a scruffy winner given the game's overall quality.

Jaïdi’s side had chances to further effect the scoreline late on; Tyreke Johnson with the best of the bunch, as he advanced down the left, chopped inside fooling his opposition defender, but forced no more than a smart save from Casilla at his near post.

Leeds United

1
Francisco Casilla (GK)
2
Gaetano Berardi
replace Jamie Shackleton (45′)
3
Pascal Stuijk
4
Alfie McCalmont
5
Hugo Diaz goal
6
Aapo Halme goal
7
Jordan Stevens
8
Robbie Gotts (C)
9
Ryan Edmondson goal
10
Tyler Roberts
replace Izzy Brown (46′)
11
Tom Pearce
replace Leif Davis (46′)
12
Will Huffer
13
Kun Mihaylov
14
Izzy Brown
15
Jamie Shackleton
16
Leif Davis

Southampton

1
Harry Lewis (GK)
2
Dare Olufunwa
3
Tyreke Johnson
4
Tom O'Connor (C)
5
Aaron O'Driscoll
6
Alfie Jones
7
Josh Sims goal
replace Nathan Tella (87′)
8
Harry Hamblin
9
Jonathan Afolabi
10
Will Smallbone
11
Marcus Barnes goal
replace Dan N'Lundulu (77′)
12
Christoph Klarer
13
Alex Cull
14
Jake Vokins
15
Nathan Tella
16
Dan N'Lundulu
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