By Steve Barras
This is the first instalment of a long-promised feature on the bright young talent coming off the press at Thorp Arch. Like I said, I have been promising this feature to ‘Andy the Editor’ for some months now but had not quite decided how to go about it.
I, at first, was going to do a classic ‘Leeds Leeds Leeds’ match report but thought I would look like a hypocrite, giving my judgement on games that I had not actually seen and considering that LUTV are, for some reason, no longer showing the full 90 minutes of any game, whether it’s u18’s, development or seniors, it wasn’t viable. I was going to start this when I first conceived the idea in the middle of last season after woeful coverage of the youth from our beloved club but y’know, New Season, New Start.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Leeds held a reserve game, behind closed doors during the off season to take a look at five unnamed trialists. The game was against Newcastle and it finished 1-1 with Dominic Poleon scoring for Leeds.
Leeds Reserves vs Newcastle.
Alex Cairns, Lewis Turner, Trialist, Paul Connolly, Charlie Taylor, Zac Thompson, Danny Pugh, Trialist, Trialist, Robbie Rogers, Trialist. SUBS. Paul Rachubka, Simon Lenighan, Trialist, Ross Killock, Nathan Turner, Ramon Nunez.
Former Leeds captain Richard Naylor was appointed by the club during the summer after he retired from the playing side of football. He is now running the rule over our under 18’s. Naylor’s first game in charge was against Shrewsbury Town, a game Leeds won 3-0, all the goals coming in the second half courtesy of Luke Booker, Eoghan Stokes and Lewis Cook. An experienced looking York City beat the youngsters 1-0 before the much anticipated trip out to Scandinavia to face Norwegian side Sanderfjord. That game ended in a 4-4 draw, Luke Booker, Tom Lyman and a brace from Sanchez Payne secured the draw. Returning to England the second year scholars were called up into the Development squad to face TNS so Richard took a young team to face Liverpool. The Premier League side won 2-0.
The following weekend the youngsters were back in action again against Rochdale and duly recorded a 4-1 win, goals from Lewis Walters, Chris Dawson, Luke Parkin and Kevin Gomez. The final pre-season game was against divisional rivals Huddersfield Town and the young whites ran riot and scored four goals in the process. Chris Dawson, Lewis Walters, Eoghan Stokes and a trialist getting on the scoresheet. A total of five unnamed trialists were used in the six games. (Some players I have researched and can’t seem to find their Christian names. I am assuming named trialists.)
Leeds u18’s vs Shrewsbury.
Eric Grimes, Corey Roper, Scott Harrison, Jake Skelton, Smith Tiesse, Chris Dawson, Alex Mowatt, Lewie Coyle, Luke Parkin, Lewis Walters, Luke Booker. SUBS. Dan Atkinson, Alex Purver, Beaman, Affi, Lewis Cook, Kalvin Philips, Ali Amiri, Eoghan Stokes.
Leeds u18’s vs York.
Eric Grimes, Alex Purver, Beaman, Jake Skelton, Smith Tiesse, Kalvin Philips, Corey Roper, Lewie Coyle, Luke Booker, Ali Amiri, Eoghan Stokes. SUBS. Dan Atkinson, Trialist, Trialist, Bennett, Trialist, Tom Lyman, Lewis Cook.
Leeds u18’s vs Sanderfjord.
Dan Atkinson, Corey Roper, Marshall, Monty Gimpel, Alex Mowatt, Sanchez Payne, Dobbs, Jordan Snodin, Tom Lyman, Trialist, Luke Booker. SUBS. Chris Dawson, Luke Parkin, Ali Amiri, Lewis Walters.
Leeds u18’s vs Liverpool.
Eric Grimes, Alex Purver, Beaman, Marshall, Smith Tiesse, Ali Amiri, Kalvin Phillips, Lewie Coyle, Tom Lyman, Eoghan Stokes, Luke Booker. SUBS. Dan Atkinson, Corey Roper, Devonte Morton, Piteu Chydrick, Emilio Oliver.
Leeds u18’s vs Rochdale.
Dan Atkinson, Alex Purver, Afalobi Coker, Jake Skelton, Corey Roper, Luke Booker, Kalvin Philips, Lewie Coyle, Chris Dawson, Lewis Walters, Luke Parkin. SUBS. Brad Dixon, Eoghan Stokes, Kevin Gomez, Ali Amiri, Piteu Chydrick, Emilio Oliver.
Leeds u18’s vs Huddersfield.
Dan Atkinson, Lewie Coyle, Afalobi Coker, Jake Skelton, Smith Tiesse, Chris Dawson, Alex Purver, Alex Mowatt, Trialist, Lewis Walters, Luke Parkin. SUBS. Eric Grimes, Luke Booker, Kalvin Philips, Ali Amiri, Eoghan Stokes, Marshall.
Many of the youth players featured in the senior pre-season fixtures as well. In the 5-2 victory over Farsley, the second half we fielded a Development Squad. Alex Cairns, Lewis Turner, Ross Killock, Monty Gimpel, Charlie Taylor, Sam Byram, Zac Thompson, Simon Lenighan, Dominic Poleon and Sanchez Payne all featured with Sanchez Payne scoring the fifth goal.
Sam Byram, Nathan Turner, Lewis Turner, Zac Thompson and Dominic Poleon made appearances in Leeds second and third pre-season fixtures, the 6-0 victory over Tavistock with Dominic Poleon and Zac Thompson getting amongst the goals and the 4-0 win against Bodmin Town.
Against Torquay, in a 2-1 victory, Sam Byram, Zac Thompson and Dominic Poleon came off the bench whilst Nathan Turner joined the three youngsters in Norway. All four came off the bench in Leeds 1-1 draw with Sanderfjord.
On the return to England, the four players came off the bench again against Preston. Lewis Turner was on the bench in the 3-1 victory and saw Sam Byram score his first goal for the club.
In Leeds final fixture before the competitive action began, we played Burton Albion and Sam Byram came off the bench in the 1-0 success.
At the start of the 2012/2013 season Zac Thompson (23), Sam Byram (25), and Dominic Poleon (26) were all given squad numbers. Sam Byram made his first competitive start for Leeds against Shrewsbury Town in the Capital One Cup and his first League start the following weekend against Wolves. He held down his starting eleven spot against Blackpool but subsequently lost it for the Peterborough match, however he did replace El-Hadji Diouf on the wing during the second half. He started the following match against Oxford United in the second round of the Capital One Cup in the same position and scored a sublime goal in the 3-0 win.
Dominic Poleon also made his first competitive start foe Leeds against Shrewsbury in the cup but as a second half substitute, replacing Paul Green. He was left out of the squads for the games against Wolves and Blackpool but made his league debut against Peterborough replacing Ross McCormack in the second half. He again made an appearance against Oxford United in the cup, again as a second half substitute, replacing El-Hadji Diouf.
Zac Thompson’s only appearance in August was as a second half substitute, replacing Rodolph Austin against Oxford United.
Neil Redfearn’s new development squad played in the new league twice in August, against Derby County and Nottingham Forest. The whites came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Derby, goals coming from Dominic Poleon and Ramon Nunez. 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 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.
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.
Leeds under 18’s also had two fixtures during August and also against the same teams, Derby and Forest. A 3-1 victory over Derby was a good way to start the campaign, Lewis Walters, Luke Parkin and Lewis Cook all on the scoresheet.
Lewis Walters was at it again as he scored a goal in the 2-2 draw with Forest the following weekend, Chris Dawson was the other scorer.
Leeds u18’s vs Derby.
Eric Grimes, Lewie Coyle, Afalobi Coker, Jake Skelton, Smith Tiesse, Lewis Cook, Alex Mowatt, Alex Purver, Chris Dawson, Luke Parkin, Lewis Walters. SUBS. Corey Roper, Kalvin Philips, Eoghan Stokes.
Leeds u18’s vs Nottingham Forest.
Eric Grimes, Lewie Coyle, Smith Tiesse, Afalobi Coker, Jake Skelton, Alex Purver, Alex Mowatt, Tyler Denton, Chris Dawson, Luke Parkin, Lewis Walters. SUBS. Lewis Cook, Kalvin Philips, Eoghan Stokes.
All in all it has been a fantastic pre-season and start to the season for the two young teams. My five players to watch for if you enjoy watching the youth play are Nathan and Lewis Turner, Charlie Taylor, Simon Lenighan and Zac Thompson. All five have had great starts to their seasons with the latter earning a squad number with the seniors.
I will finish this piece with an age old Leeds saying,
The Future’s bright; the future’s white.