What promised to be a close encounter as first-placed Leeds took on second-placed Reading at Thorp Arch, ended up being a one-sided affair as Mark Jackson’s side continued to look good money for title winners in Premier League 2 Division 2 with a 3-0 win in Yorkshire on Monday afternoon. A Liam McCarron volley and a brace from Stuart McKinstry saw Leeds pick up all three points – and go 13 points clear at the top.
The Whites score two quick-fire goals before half-time. A lovely team goal that saw Crysencio Summerville provide a beautiful cross for McCarron was then followed by a pile driver from McKinstry with his left foot. The Scottish teenager scored Leeds third in the second half, when Joe Gelhardt tackled the goalkeeper – and here are three talking points:
Kiko still has it
Casilla might be routinely reminded that he should be sold, and that his time is up at Elland Road – but he continues to do a job for the Under-23 side. With Illan Meslier at fault for two goals on Sunday against Arsenal, the Spain international produced an excellent performance to help Leeds keep a clean sheet against the Royals. Calm in possession, dominant from set-pieces and crosses and tipping a one-on-one shot onto the post, it was a good display from the Spain international.
Jackson grittyness on show
The game got quite feisty towards the end, summed up when Charlie Cresswell was booked for a scuffle with a Reading attacker. But Mark Jackson is clearly teaching this young Under-23 side how to cope when it comes to game management, and being solid defensively. They nullifed Reading, albeit from a moment of magic from Casilla, to keep a clean sheet. Cresswell, Olly Casey, Nohan Kenneh and Cody Drameh were all crucial.
Gelhardt has Bielsa quality
The likes of Max Dean, Summerville and others showed frustration when they got into the final third, but failed to be given a pass to score – or missed an opportunity themselves. But not Joe Gelhardt. Instrumental in both of McKinstry’s goals, the £1million signing from Wigan was excellent as ever. He occupied both centre-backs, allowing Leeds to target a gap elsewhere. Many times he got in behind but did not try to score himself, instead setting up teammates. He showed, today, that he is a team player – a quality Bielsa loves.