Leeds United’s Under-23 side moved to within just one win of clinching promotion to the top tier of Premier League 2 football with a sensational 5-0 win over West Brom’s reserves on Monday afternoon – matching the result the first-team produced away from home. Joe Gelhardt netted a wonderful hat-trick, while Sam Greenwood and Crysencio Summerville also scored.
Gelhardt stole the plaudits with two penalties – one of which he won – and a lovely finish from the left, but the goal of the day came from a free-kick in which Greenwood bent into the top corner from 25 yards. Dutch sensation Summerville also netted, getting on the end of a delightful pass from Ian Poveda. Here are three talking points from the massive win:
Joffy can save the club a lot of money
Nicknamed Joffy, Gelhardt was sensational. The 18-year-old took his tally to 11 goals in 15 PL2 appearances with his hat-trick, but his link-up play, strength and tenacity saw him produce the perfect all-round performance. Yet to make his senior debut, Gelhardt is training with the first-team and in the matchday squads. But could he save the club some cash?
With Rodrigo and Tyler Roberts both being used in midfield and Patrick Bamford shining up front- taking his tally to 20 goal involvements for the season on Friday – Leeds lack a back-up striker. But Gelhardt is the ideal candidate given his ability and form, and Monday’s showing is another example to the club that he can save them buying another forward.
More game time for Koch and Berardi
Since his ACL injury, Berardi has managed three Under-23 appearances – but only played 45 in each. However, on Monday, he was given the full 90 and it hardly bothered the Switzerland international – even having a shot in the second half before pelting it back into position. His long injury lay-off has clearly not affected his fitness or work rate – but that’s not a surprise.
Koch, meanwhile, continued his comeback after a brief cameo role on Friday night – lasting an hour against West Brom before coming off for Cody Drameh. In the holding-midfield role, it was another decent shift from the big German – who will be looking to break into the Leeds side after the international break. He has not been called-up by Germany.
It has been a somewhat frustrating season for the ex-Manchester City winger. Signed in January 2020, football itself has been a bit stop start – hampering somewhat Poveda’s progress. A few substitute appearances in the top tier, Poveda has been unable to develop any momentum.
An ankle injury this season scuppered him more so, but 90 minutes on Monday will do his confidence the world of good. Especially, a the winger was superb throughout – driving at the Baggies defence. He also laid on a delightful assist for Summerville, who flicked the ball home. A reminder from the pocket-sized ace, to Marcelo Bielsa.