By Steve Barras
This seventh instalment of our Youth and Development feature centres around the goings on at Thorp Arch during February.
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.
A young Leeds XI made the trip over the Irish Sea to entertain Cork City, in one of the Irish Premier League side’s pre-season friendlies. The game itself finished 1-1 with Cork City edging in front early in the second half but Sanchez Payne levelled matters at the death. Leeds could have won the game with very late chances falling to Luke Parkin and Afalobi Coker who were unable to convert. This game featured an un-named trialist.
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 Barnsley side. All four goals came in the first half, Alex Mowatt put Leeds ahead 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.
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 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.
Leeds XI vs Cork City:
Eric Grimes, Lewis Turner, Ross Killock, Monty Gimpel, Jordan Snodin, Alex Purver, Nathan Turner, Alex Mowatt, Patrick Antelmi, Lewis Walters, Trialist. SUBS. Lewie Coyle, Kalvin Phillips, Jake Skelton, Luke Parkin, Eoghan Stokes, Afalobi Coker.
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.
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.
Dominic Poleon 7
Ryan Hall 6
Patrick Antelmi 5
Chris Dawson 5
Lewis Turner 2
Lewis Walters 2
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
Leeds u18’s made it eleven wins in a row against Barnsley at Thorp Arch. The game finished 3-0 to the whites with Eoghan Stokes getting a hat-trick; a delighted Richard Naylor said “I was very pleased with the result in the end. We had a young team out and a lot of the lads involved had only returned from Cork late on the Friday night.”
Then Leeds u18’s made twelve wins in a row by beating Huddersfield Town 2-0. Goals from Corey Roper and Alex Mowatt decided the game and the defence enjoyed a third clean sheet in a row.
The youngsters bowed out of the F.A. Youth Cup after a respectable showing at Anfield. Liverpool won
the game 3-1 but Leeds were the dominant side for much of the game. Leeds started brightly but were dealt two blows in quick succession. Lewis Walters was on the end of a bad challenge from Liverpool’s Yalany Baio and had to be replaced by Eoghan Stokes. Stokes had the ball in the back of the net with his first touch but the header was ruled out for a challenge on the goalkeeper. Liverpool scored two goals in eight minutes shortly afterwards and went in at half time 2-0 up. Leeds came out for the second half and started on the front foot again, Chris Dawson twice going close before Lewis Cook halved the deficit on 72 minutes. Leeds pushed for an equaliser, Alex Mowatt and Luke Parkin coming very close to getting it but as the game ticked into injury time, Leeds pushed everyone forward and inevitably Liverpool hit on the break to make it 3-1.
Leeds u18’s vs Barnsley:
Eric Grimes, Lewie Coyle, Afalobi Coker, Luke Booker, Corey Roper, Liam Bennett, Kalvin Phillips, Lewis Cook, Alex Mowatt, Luke Parkin, Eoghan Stokes.
Leeds u18’s vs Huddersfield Town:
Dan Atkinson, Corey Roper, Afalobi Coker, Jake Skelton, Smith Tiesse, Kalvin Phillips, Lewis Cook, Alex Mowatt, Tom Lyman, Luke Parkin, Eoghan Stokes. SUBS. Alex Purver, Luke Booker, Lewis
Leeds u18’s vs Liverpool (F.A. Youth Cup)
Eric Grimes, Corey Roper, Smith Tiesse, Alex Purver, Afalobi Coker, Jake Skelton, Kalvin Phillips, Alex Mowatt, Luke Parkin, Lewis Walters, Chris Dawson. SUBS. Lewis Cook, Luke Booker, Eoghan Stokes.
Lewis Walters 11
Luke Parkin 10
Alex Mowatt 8
Chris Dawson 7
Eoghan Stokes 6
Kalvin Phillips 4
Lewis Cook 3
Afalobi Coker 1
Corey Roper 1
The Future’s Bright, The Future’s White