Forest Green 1 Leeds United 2: Whites claim victory in Bielsa's first game
Leeds United claimed victory in Marcelo Bielsa's first game as head coach with a 2-1 win at Forest Green Rovers.
Kemar Roofe and Luke Ayling struck in the space of nine first-half minutes as Bielsa’s players outworked their League Two opponents at the New Lawn.
United were making their first appearance since Bielsa agreed a two-year contract at Elland Road last month and his tactical ideas were on show in a controlled performance.
The Argentinian travelled with just 15 players, leaving out his two new signings Lewis Baker and Jamal Blackman, but his entire starting line-up were put through 90 minutes and their fitness held on a warm evening in Gloucestershire.
Pontus Jansson was absent having taken a break after his appearance at the World Cup with Sweden and the rest of United’s squad will play at York City on Thursday, the second of three games scheduled in the space of six days.
Bielsa’s team included many of the faces who fought their way through the club’s last Championship campaign and it took just 16 minutes for Leeds to open the scoring through Roofe.
The striker was on hand to dispatch a loose ball after Ayling rose to nod a corner from Pablo Hernandez into his path, making the most of early dominance from Bielsa’s players.
Ayling then added a second on 25 minutes after a flowing move saw Adam Forshaw pick out Roofe on the penalty spot. The forward returned the favour for Ayling who drilled his pass into the far corner.
United keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell was untroubled throughout the first half as Forest Green struggled to piece attacks together but the hosts pulled a goal back from nothing in injury-time when Dayle Grubb drove a 20-yard shot beyond Peacock-Farrell.
Stuart Dallas was denied by a fingertip save from James Montgomery shortly after the interval and Gjanni Alioski drove a shot against Montgomery’s legs but it took a good save from Peacock-Farrell to prevent Christian Doidge from volleying in an equaliser on 66 mins, securing United’s win.
Forest Green Rovers: Montgomery, Shephard, James (Trialist 73), Rawson (Hollis 68), Winchester (Simpson 76), Grubb, Doidge, Williams (Archibald 46), Gunning, Mills (Laird 68), Reid (Brown 46). Sub (not used): Thomas.
Leeds United: Peacock-Farrell, Ayling, Forshaw, Cooper, Berardi, Alioski, Dallas, Hernandez, Saiz, Phillips, Roofe. Subs (not used): Miazek, Dalby, Diaz, Rey.
Referee: Sam Allison