By Steve Barras
Leeds United have always had a proud tradition of bringing some of the games most famous names through the academy. From the likes of John Charles and Jack Charlton in the 1950’s to Billy Bremner and Peter Lorimer in the 1960’s. Most recently Sam Byram and Tom Lees have left the ranks at Thorp Arch to nestle amongst the first team.
Here we take a look at our Development Squad’s 2012/2013 season.
As we all know the new PDL (Professional Development League) kicked off this season with Leeds being placed in the Under 21 Professional Development League 2 North against the likes of Nottingham Forest, Wigan, Leicester, Birmingham, Barnsley, Huddersfield, Coventry, Crewe, Derby, Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday. Neil Redfearn’s squad for these games will primarily be players under the age of 21 but is allowed to name four overage players.
Leeds Development vs Alfreton.
Paul Rachubka, Sam Byram, Ross Killock, Sebastian Faure, Charlie Taylor, Nathan Turner, Zac Thompson, Lewis Turner, Charlie Clamp, Dominic Poleon, Simon Lenighan. SUBS. Eric Grimes, Monty Gimpel, Jordan Snodin, Sanchez Payne, Scott Harrison.
The development squad kicked off pre-season with a 2-0 win over Blue Square Bet Premier side Alfreton Town, goals courtesy of Dominic Poleon and Lewis Turner.
Leeds Development vs TNS.
Paul Rachubka, Paul Connolly, Ross Killock, Monty Gimpel, Charlie Taylor, Jason Dodds, Jordan Snodin, Sanchez Payne, Simon Lenighan, Charlie Clamp, Jayden Jackson. SUBS. Alex Cairns, Luke Parkin, Lewis Cook, Chris Dawson. Lewis Walters.
The next opponents, welsh side TNS (The New Saints), were fresh from a foray into the Champions League Qualifying Stages and recorded a 3-1 victory with our only goal coming from 15 year old Lewis Cook.
Leeds Development vs Bridlington.
Paul Rachubka, Paul Connolly, Ross Killock, Monty Gimpel, Charlie Taylor, Charlie Clamp, Simon Lenighan, Jordan Snodin, Lewis Cook, Luke Parkin, Lewis Walters. SUBS. Alex Cairns, Sanchez Payne, Kevin Gomez, Chris Dawson, Jason Dodds.
The Development Squad travelled to Bridlington on a mild Tuesday night and secured a 3-0 victory with goals coming from Chris Dawson and a Luke Parkin brace.
Leeds Development vs. Grimsby Borough
Eric Grimes, Lewie Coyle, Afalobi Coker, Monty Gimpel, Smith Tiesse, Charlie Clamp, Simon Lenighan, Sanchez Payne, Ramon Nunez, Lewis Walters, Eoghan Stokes. SUBS. Dan Atkinson, Corey Roper, Jake Skelton, Kalvin Philips, Alex Purver, Ali Amiri, Luke Parkin, Luke Booker.
Grimsby Borough were put to the sword in the next fixture, they lost 4-1, another brace for Luke Parkin and a goal each for Lewis Walters and Luke Booker. Two trialists featured for the Development squad during their pre-season, Sebastian Faure now with Rangers in Scottish Division three and Kevin Gomez has returned to France and plays in the Amateur League with Uzes Pont Du Gard.
Neil Redfearn’s new development squad played in the new league twice in August, against Derby County and Nottingham Forest.
Leeds Development vs Derby.
Paul Rachubka, Lewis Turner, Ross Killock, Patrick Kisnorbo, Adam Drury, Nathan Turner, Zac Thompson, Dominic Poleon, Ramon Nunez, Sean Myler, Patrick Antelmi. SUBS. Charlie Taylor, Monty Gimpel, Charlie Clamp
The whites came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Derby, goals coming from Dominic Poleon and Ramon Nunez.
Leeds Development vs Nottingham Forest.
Paul Rachubka, Nathan Turner, Monty Gimpel, Lewis Turner, Charlie Taylor, Zac Thompson, Simon Lenighan, Sean Myler, Charlie Clamp, Patrick Antelmi, Ramon Nunez. SUBS. Chris Dawson, Alex Mowatt, Lewis Walters.
The match against Forest finished in a 3-2 victory, Patrick Antelmi, Lewis Turner and Chris Dawson securing the win after Forest twice levelled.
Leeds Development vs Wigan Athletic.
Paul Rachubka, Nathan Turner, Patrick Kisnorbo, Ross Killock, Lewis Turner, Zac Thompson, Simon Lenighan, Ramon Nunez, Patrick Antelmi, Peter Poloskei, Dominic Poleon. SUBS. Dan Atkinson, Sean Myler, Charlie Clamp, Lewis Walters, Monty Gimpel.
Development Squad and a home tie against Premier League side Wigan Athletic followed the win over Nottingham Forest. Leedsran out 3-1 winners, trialist Peter Poloskei, Dominic Poleon and Zac Thompson were the scorers in a keenly contested match at Thorp Arch. Zac Thompson ran the midfield, Poleon and Poloskei battled away from the front whilst Paul Rachubka had a good game in between the sticks. Unfortunately during that game Ramon Nunez suffered an injury that is looking likely to sideline him for the foreseeable future.
Leeds Development vs Leicester City
Paul Rachubka, Nathan Turner, Ross Killock, Monty Gimpel, Lewis Turner, Charlie Clamp, Simon Lenighan, Sean Myler, Chris Dawson, Patrick Antelmi, Lewis Walters. SUBS. Alex Mowatt, Luke Parkin.
Eleven days later Leeds travelled to Leicester City and the chance to play in The King Power Stadium, a real experience for some of our raw talent. Leeds lost the game 3-0, this Leicester side boasted experienced heads in their starting line up whilst the whites had a youthful look to their squad. With three regular Development Squad players with the first team and another two out on loan, Leeds played with a few first year scholars and young professionals. Ross Killock, Nathan Turner and Lewis Turner were singled out for special praise from Neil Redfearn, the Development Squad manager. He also said that despite the result the performance of our young players was very encouraging against very experienced opposition.
Leeds Development vs Barnsley
Paul Rachubka, Nathan Turner, Ricardo Rocha, Ustaritz Aldekoa-Talora, Lewis Turner, Simon Lenighan, Patrick Kisnorbo, Zac Thompson, Sanchez Payne, Patrick Antelmi, Dominic Poleon. SUBS. Eric Grimes, Monty Gimpel, Stephen Folan, Ross Killock, Jeremy Balmy
Development Squad take on Barnsleyat home and Leeds ran out deserved 4-0 winners. Dominic Poleon and Patrick Antelmi both bagged a brace in a dominant display. The young Antelmi scored a goal in each half to celebrate the Australian signing his first professional deal with the club a few days before. Poleon scored both of his goals in the second half. This game saw Patrick Kisnorbo playing in an unfamiliar central midfield role to make way for a new centre back pairing in Ricardo Rocha and Ustaritz Aldekoa-Talora, both on trial.
Leeds Development vs Huddersfield Town
Paul Rachubka, Nathan Turner, Stephen Folan, Zac Thompson, Ricardo Rocha, Patrick Kisnorbo, Simon Lenighan, Dominic Poleon, Patrick Antelmi, Joan Pons, Lewis Turner. SUBS. Chris Dawson.
The Development Squad picked up a point the following week in Huddersfield, the whites were held to a goalless draw. Huddersfield had put out a strong side and they had the better of the first 45 minutes and although improved in the second half, Leeds rarely troubled the opposite goal with trialist Joan Pons coming the closest to breaking the deadlock.
Leeds Development vs Sheffield Wednesday
Paul Rachubka, Paul Connolly, Patrick Kisnorbo, Stephen Folan, Lewis Turner, Simon Lenighan, Nathan Turner, Jeremy Balmy, Sanchez Payne, Patrick Antelmi, Luke Parkin. SUBS. Eric Grimes, Chris Dawson, Lewis Walters.
The following match against Sheffield Wednesday was very much a game of different halves. Leeds dominated the proceedings in the first half but Wednesday capitalised on some woeful defending in the second half to win the game 4-0. A lazy back-pass from Patrick Kisnorbo ended with Paul Rachubka being sent off with the scores still level.
Leeds Development vs Coventry City
Paul Rachubka, Paul Green, Patrick Kisnorbo, Monty Gimpel, Charlie Taylor, Nathan Turner, Simon Lenighan, Lewis Turner, Ryan Hall, Patrick Antelmi, Sanchez Payne. SUBS. Lewis Walters.
The following match Leeds were back to winning ways and Patrick Kisnorbo made
up for his mistake against The Owls by scoring the first against Coventry in a 2-1 victory. Loanee Ryan Hall scored his first for the club to double the advantage, rounding the keeper after a terrific move by Leeds and manager Neil Redfearn said that the only disappointment about the game was that we didn’t keep a clean sheet.
Leeds Development vs Derby County
Eric Grimes, Paul Green, Monty Gimpel, Patrick Kisnorbo, Charlie Taylor, Lewis Turner, Simon Lenighan, Nathan Turner, Chris Dawson, Ryan Hall, Patrick Antelmi. SUBS. Alex Mowatt, Sanchez Payne, Lewis Walters.
The Development Squad had against Derby County. The Whites beat The Rams 5-0 with a standout performance from loanee Ryan Hall. The winger scored the first four in the romp that saw Neil Redfearn declare the performance as outstanding. Redfearn also praised Patrick Kisnorbo for the contribution he is making in young Monty Gimpel’s development. Chris Dawson was the other scorer against a strong Derbyside. The Leeds side featured ten players that are yet to feature in the senior side and another hour for Paul Green as he aims to return from injury.
Leeds Development vs Crewe Alexandra
Paul Rachubka, Lewis Turner, Monty Gimpel, Patrick Kisnorbo, Charlie Taylor, Nathan Turner, Simon Lenighan, Jordan Snodin, Chris Dawson, Ross McCormack, Andy Gray. SUBS. Eric Grimes, Charlie Clamp, Eoghan Stokes, Patrick Antelmi, Sanchez Payne.
Ross McCormack took his first steps on the road to recovery as Leeds entertained Crewe Alexandra at Thorp Arch. The game finished in a seven goal thriller in favour of the visitors with McCormack completing the first thirty minutes. Crewe were two goals to the good at half time and Patrick Antelmi halved the deficit shortly after the restart. Crewe had restored their two goal advantage before Charlie Taylor struck from distance to make it 3-2. Crewe made it 4-2 before Chris Dawson set up a tense finale making it 4-3 with the aid of the post.
Nathan and Lewis Turner have left the club to move out on loan. The twins have featured regularly in the Development Squad this season and with the Development leagues taking a winter break they have taken the opportunity to enjoy competitive football in the Blue Square Northern Division. Lewis with Harrogate Town and Nathan has moved to second placed Chester FC.
During December the club ran a feature on one of the shining lights in the Academy – Ross Killock. The teenager has been out on loan at Blue Square Premier side Alfreton Town since October and has made himself somewhat of a permanent fixture under former Chesterfield and Bradfordboss Nicky Law. Killock had been expecting more physical outings than what he was used to playing in the u21’s but he wasn’t expecting to spend so much time in various hospitals. Whilst playing away at Hyde United he took a flailing arm to his mouth which knocked a tooth out and pushed a few more back but that did not stop him playing less than a week later in the second round of The FA Cup against Leyton Orient. Alfreton lost 4-2 on the night in front of live TV camaras.
Goalkeeper Paul Rachubka has been sent on loan to Accrington Stanley. The veteran has been a mainstay in the Development Squad this season.
The Development Squad were due to play Birmingham Cityat Thorp Arch but the game was cancelled due to a frozen pitch.
Leeds Development vs York City
Eric Grimes, Paul Connolly, Patrick Kisnorbo, Lewis Turner, Monty Gimpel, Danny Pugh, Ryan Hall, Simon Lenighan, Jordan Snodin, Chris Dawson, Patrick Antelmi.
The Development Squad finally had their first action of the month when they entertained YorkCity in a hastily arranged friendly. The game ended 5-0 to the whites and the goals came courtesy of Danny Pugh, Lewis Turner, Patrick Antelmi, Ryan Hall and Paul Connolly. The score was 1-0 at half time and Development manager Neil Redfearn felt that The Minstermen held their own for the opening hour of the game.
Leeds Development vs Leicester City
Paul Rachubka, Alex Purver, Monty Gimpel, Ross Killock, Lewie Coyle, Simon Lenighan, Alex Mowatt, Chris Dawson, Luke Parkin, Patrick Antelmi, Dominic Poleon. SUBS. Jake Skelton, Sanchez Payne.
Leeds Development squad were next in action against Leicester City and the game ended in a 1-1 draw with Dominic Poleon getting on the scoresheet for Leeds.
Leeds Development vs Wigan Athletic
Eric Grimes, Lewis Turner, Ross Killock, Monty Gimpel, Nathan Turner, Ryan Hall, Patrick Otte, Simon Lenighan, Alex Mowatt, Habib Habibou, Dominic Poleon. SUBS. Jake Skelton, Lewis Walters, Luke Parkin.
Goals from young stars Dominic Poleon and Lewis Walters earned the Development squad an early February draw at Premier League Wigan Athletic. Poleon scored an early opener before the hosts scored two goals of their own. Walters scored an equaliser late on in a match that was played in atrocious conditions. The waterlogged pitch played a part in Poleon’s opener; he pounced on a pass that was held up in the water. The match was also the first appearance for Patrick Otte; the 21 year old Dutch midfielder was on trial for Leeds from Fort Lauderdale Strikers in America.
Leeds Development vs Barnsley
Eric Grimes, Lewie Coyle, Monty Gimpel, Ross Killock, Jordan Snodin, Simon Lenighan, Alex Mowatt, Sanchez Payne, Chris Dawson, Luke Parkin, Lewis Walters. SUBS. Afalobi Coker, Jake Skelton, Alex Purver, Patrick Antelmi.
The Development Squad’s next game was against Barnsley at a snow covered Oakwell and a side bereft of any senior players were beaten 3-1 by an experienced Barnsleyside. All four goals came in the first half, Alex Mowatt put Leedsahead but Barnsley’s experience told as they scored three goals before the break. Both sides made changes in the second half and Leeds were on top but couldn’t turn their possession into goals.
Young striker Dominic Poleon joined Sheffield United on loan until the end of the season hoping to gain more senior experience. Poleon has currently made seven senior appearances for Leeds, scoring his first and only competitive goal to date against Nottingham Forest. Poleon is also the Development Squad’s leading goalscorer with seven goals in all competitions.
Leeds Development vs Sheffield United
Eric Grimes, Alex Purver, Jason Pearce, Monty Gimpel, Lewie Coyle, Ryan Hall, Simon Lenighan, Alex Mowatt, Habib Habibou, Chris Dawson, Lewis Walters. SUBS. Smith Tiesse.
The Development Squad hit back after their defeat to Barnsley by beating another Yorkshire side in Sheffield United. The game finished 3-1 with Leeds’ goals coming from Chris Dawson, Lewis Walters and a first goal in a white shirt for Habib Habibou. The Blades went in front but a rasping 25 yard strike from Dawson levelled matters before Habibou tucked a penalty away. Keeper, Eric Grimes saved a penalty before Walters sealed the win.
Leeds Development vs. Coventry City
Eric Grimes, Alex Purver, Ross Killock, Monty Gimpel, Adam Drury, Ryan Hall, Simon Lenighan, Aidy White, Chris Dawson, Patrick Antelmi, Lewis Walters. SUBS. Jordan Snodin, Sanchez Payne, Luke Parkin.
The Development Squad made it back-to-back victories against Coventry City at Thorp Arch. Goals from Patrick Antelmi, Ryan Hall and Lewis Walters secured the 3-0 win. Walters opened the scoring in the first half with a deft chip after good pressure from Chris Dawson and Antelmi. The advantage was doubled when Antelmi ran onto a poor back pass and slotted the ball past the keeper, the third came via the penalty spot after Adam Drury weaved his way into the box and was brought down, Hall converted.
18 year old Chris Dawson was called up to the Wales u21 squad for the second time running.
Leeds Development vs. Crewe Alexandra
Eric Grimes, Lewis Turner, Ross Killock, Monty Gimpel, Smith Tiesse, Nathan Turner, Simon Lenighan, Alex Mowatt, Sanchez Payne, Patrick Antelmi, Lewis Walters. SUBS. Kalvin Phillips, Alex Purver, Luke Parkin.
A young Development Squad travelled to Creweand were beaten 4-1; all four of Crewe’s goals came in an awful first half for the young Whites. Manager Neil Redfearn shuffled the team around for the second half and Leedsmanaged to get a foothold, they should have pulled more than the one goal back, scored by Patrick Antelmi from the edge of the box.
Leeds Development vs. Birmingham City
Eric Grimes, Nathan Turner, Jason Pearce, Ross Killock, Lewis Turner, Ryan Hall, Simon Lenighan, Chris Dawson, Aidy White, Lewis Walters, Habib Habibou. SUBS. Alex Mowatt, Patrick Antelmi.
Next for the Development Squad was a game at Elland Road against Birmingham
City, a game that Leeds easily won 3-1. Leeds were on top for most of the game with Chris Dawson running the show from midfield. Ryan Hall opened the scoring with a sublime free kick which completely wrong footed the Birmingham keeper, Dawson popped up with the second in the second half, a strike from distance from the young Welshman. Lewis Walters completed the scoring after a Birmingham consolation, keeping his composure and sliding the ball past the keeper.
April started with the news that young centre back Ross Killock had agreed to extend his contract by another year. Killock had been on loan at Blue Square Premier side Alfreton Town, he made seventeen appearances and established himself as a regular in their first team during his four months there.
Leeds Development vs. Nottingham Forest
Eric Grimes, Lewie Coyle, Ross Killock, Adam Drury, Jordan Snodin, Simon Lenighan, Alex Mowatt, Alex Purver, Ryan Hall, Patrick Antelmi, Lewis Walters. SUBS. Luke Parkin, Kalvin Phillips.
Leeds parted company with Neil Warnock early in the month and regular Development Squad manager, Neil Redfearn, took over first team responsibilities so u18 manager Richard Naylor stepped up and recorded a goalless draw in his first match against Nottingham Forest. Lewis Walters and Ryan Hall came closest to breaking the deadlock and Eric Grimes had to make a couple of good saves at the other end.
After making seven appearances for promotion chasing Sheffield United, Dominic Poleon was recalled by caretaker manager, Neil Redfearn.
Leeds Development vs. Sheffield United
Eric Grimes, Lewie Coyle, Ross Killock, Rodolph Austin, Jordan Snodin, Alex Purver, Simon Lenighan, Ryan Hall, Habib Habibou, Dominic Poleon, Lewis Walters. SUBS. Dan Atkinson, Patrick Antelmi, Afalobi Coker, Smith Tiesse, Luke Parkin.
Ten man Leeds were shot down by an injury time Sheffield United winner in the Development Squads next game. Jordan Snodin was taken off injured with twenty minutes still remaining, after Habib Habibou and Rodolph Austin had already been substituted on the hour mark. Alex Purver had already been taken to hospital with a shin injury as well.
Leeds Development vs. Birmingham City
Eric Grimes, Lewie Coyle, Ross Killock, Afalobi Coker, Lewis Turner, Simon Lenighan, Alex Mowatt, Kalvin Phillips, Luke Booker, Lewis Walters, Luke Parkin.
Another late goal handed Leeds another defeat, this time against Birmingham City Luke Parkin had cancelled out Birmingham’s opener but the blues hit again in the ninety-third minute.
Leeds Development vs Sheffield Wednesday
Eric Grimes, Ross Killock, Lewis Turner, Aidan White, Simon Lenighan, Lewis Cook, Ryan Hall, Patrick Antelmi, Habib Habibou, Dominic Poleon. SUBS. Lewis Walters, Tyler Denton.
New Leeds manager, Brian McDermott, was in the stands for the Development Squad’s next game against Sheffield Wednesday. The game ended 2-2, Lewis Turner and Dominic Poleon scoring our goals, twice coming from behind. Leeds dominated the second half but couldn’t quite steal the win.
Leeds Development vs. Huddersfield Town
Alex Cairns, Hendrie, Ross Killock, Lewis Turner, Aidan White, Simon Lenighan, Zac Thompson, Ryan Hall, Luke Parkin, Lewis Walters, Dominic Poleon. SUBS. Lewie Coyle, Kalvin Phillips, Tyler Denton.
Zac Thompson returned from his loan spell at League One strugglers Bury and was described as Leeds best player in the Development Squad’s final fixture of the season against Huddersfield Town, the game ended in defeat but Leeds had dominated the game with the visitors barely threatening the goal. However a lucky break settled the game.
Leeds finished in sixth position in the U21 Professional Development League 2, they had played twenty-two games, won eight, drawn six and lost eight. Scored thirty-nine goals and conceded thirty-five and accumulated thirty points.
Ryan Hall 8
Dominic Poleon 8
Patrick Antelmi 7
Chris Dawson 6
Lewis Walters 4
Lewis Turner 3
Ramon Nunez 1
Peter Poloskei 1
Zac Thompson 1
Patrick Kisnorbo 1
Luke Varney 1
Charlie Taylor 1
Danny Pugh 1
Paul Connolly 1
Sanchez Payne 1
Alex Mowatt 1
Habib Habibou 1
Luke Parkin 1
The Future’s Bright, The Future’s White,