Leeds United under 21’s were beaten 1-4 at Thorp Arch on Monday afternoon after a clinical second half display by Barnsley.
Despite United having the majority of chances and dominating large periods of the game, Paul Hart’s side could not secure a positive result in their first league match in over a month.
New signings Jack and Paul McKay were making their debuts for the club; first teamers Jordan Botaka, Casper Sloth and Lee Erwin also started the game.
Eoghan Stokes, one of the stand out performers of the under 21's in recent months was busy throughout again and had a number of attempts early on. His 25-yard dipping effort didn't dip enough as it narrowly went over the bar.
Lee Erwin and Casper Sloth, looking to force their way back into first team contention, were next to go close to breaking the deadlock.
Chris Dawson was recalled following injury and with Tomasso Bianchi on the verge of leaving the club, and the Wales U21 international looked lively, cutting in on his left foot and sending a shot agonisingly wide of Nick Townsend’s far post.
The home side were really starting to turn the screw, Stokes skated past two defenders of the edge of the box before shooting, only to see Townsend somehow get down quick enough to match it.
The rebound then ended up with Erwin on the edge of the area, back to goal – he flicked it up for himself and volleyed on the turn, his brilliant effort beat the keeper but went the wrong side of the post.
After crashing out of the Premier League Cup Tuesday night despite dominating against Liverpool, Leeds must have been wondering how many chances they could afford to miss, as Dawson went close again.
Like Tuesday night, just on the stroke of half time, Leeds were made to rue those missed chances. Bradley Ash on hand to tap in Cameron Scott’s great cross to give the visitors a one-goal lead.
Steve Evans was on the touchline for the start of the second half and despite the Whites starting brightly, they conceded a goal similar to that of the first. The defence got turned, this time down the right flank, before an enticing ball was missed by everyone in the area and fell kindly for Mohamed Saeed, who leathered the ball home to double Barnsley’s lead.
Three minutes later it was 0-3. Grimes adjudged to have taken out Ash, despite the striker not being in control of the ball. He picked himself up and sent Grimes the wrong way.
Leeds looked to respond straight away and Jake Skelton had a header cleared off the line, before Botaka went on a mazy run, taking the ball past three players and shooting over.
The home side were just starting to look out of ideas when a great off-the-ball run by Tyler Denton was spotted by Stokes who pinged a raking pass straight onto the fullback’s head, then falling at the feet of Jack McKay to score his first Leeds goal.
Denton then sent an inviting cross in for Erwin, who connected with a diving header – Townsend was equal to it though with another fingertip save.
The next Barnsley attack sparked massive controversy as they were awarded another penalty. Denton with a good challenge on Jack Alton in the area – the linesman kept his flag down but the referee thought different and pointed to the spot. Ash went the same way as last time for his hat-trick and secure three points for his side.
Frank Mulhern, Luke Parkin and Lewis Walters were all thrown on after to try and get a goal back but Barnsley defended well to a couple more attacks to hold on for a 1-4 victory.
By Alex Mulvey
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