Middlesbrough 0 Leeds United 1: YEP Jury give their verdicts

Alex Mowatt and Sam Bryam celebrate victory over Middlesbrough.
Alex Mowatt and Sam Bryam celebrate victory over Middlesbrough.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s dramatic victory over Middlesbrough.

STEPHEN CLARK

They say it is the sign of a good team that they can dig out results when they are not playing well. If that is the case then, if Leeds United continue in the manner of the victory on Saturday against Middlesbrough, the good times cannot be too far away.

In the 25 years I have been watching the club, I can barely remember a game where we have been battered for 85 minutes in such a manner and come away with all three points. But crucially on Saturday, Leeds took their chance in the first three minutes of the game and hung on to that lead for dear life.

And it is that fighting spirit and desire which has set this Leeds team apart from those who have worn the shirt over the last three incredibly disappointing seasons. Facing a side at the top of the table, with just one defeat in their last 12 matches, and that to Premier League opposition, the United sides of Warnock, McDermott, Hockaday and Milanic would all have crumbled and succumbed to heavy defeats.

Not this team though. The heart of the side is the young Academy talent, summed up by Lewis Cook’s brightness to collect a poor throw by the Boro keeper and set up his fellow Thorp Arch graduate, Alex Mowatt, to show bravery and technique to drill home the decisive goal via a deflection.

At the back, Neil Redfearn’s side was held up by two rocks. Sol Bamba has been a revelation since coming into the side and his attitude of “Thou Shall Not Pass” saw him produce block after block as Boro poured on the pressure. When the home side did get through the back four, Marco Silvestri was there to prevent any breach. The Italian keeper may well be a nervous wreck under a crossed ball, but there can surely be no better shot stopper in the Championship. Time and again he beat away Middlesbrough efforts, ensuring that Leeds would keep a third consecutive clean sheet.

The win sees Leeds 10 points and 10 places clear of the drop zone. The play-offs may be too far a stretch this season, but the momentum that is being built can provide a platform for a real push next season. The foundations are locally produced. They must not be allowed to slip away, instead they need to secured for the long-term good of the club.

Man of the match: Marco Silvestri.

KEITH INGHAM

Leeds recorded three wins on the ‘bounce’ and a third clean sheet to record a ‘double’ over the Teesside club. The result saw Leeds rise to 11th position in the Championship.

A truly fantastic result and a team effort. Marco Silvestri had an unbelievable game with 10 saves and others who deserve mentions are Sol Bamba, Rudy Austin and Steve Morison. The front man may not have scored but he had an impressive game.

Neil Redfearn kept the same 11 as started the previous game; Liam Cooper made the bench after injury at the expense of Adyran.

Morison again led the line still hoping for his first goal since March 2013.

Leeds were on the front foot from the first whistle and went ahead after three minutes, Lewis Cook seizing on a Mejias mistake before making a pass inside and finding Alex Mowatt, who despatched the ball past Mejias.

Middlesbrough were starting to win the key midfield battles in the run up to half-time, after which both sides created chances.

Ten minutes of injury time were played at the end of the game but Leeds hung on for a brilliant win.

The first time we have kept three clean sheets consecutively since November 2009. I’m so proud of the team. MOT.

Man of the match: Marco Silvestri.

MATTHEW EVANS

You got the sense that scoring in the third minute was a touch early when away from home against the team top of the table, but United rode their luck through the inevitable onslaught and stood firm in what will be remembered as a famous win.

It must have been an absorbing game for the neutral but, for Boro fans, it will have been hugely frustrating while, in the Leeds end, nerves were shredded. The spine of the team: Silvestri, Bamba, Austin and Morison led the rest to victory and though Sol Bamba looked a cut above the rest you can’t see past Marco Silvestri for man of the match as he pulled off a string of effortless saves to make it more than 270 minutes since conceding.

Man of the match: Marco Silvestri.

GARY NEWBOULD

An early Alex Mowatt strike, followed by some outstanding defending condemned Middlesbrough to their first home defeat since August whilst also registering the Whites’ third successive clean sheet in a hard-fought display.

Man of the match: Sol Bamba.

JAMES HARRISON

What a win! The three points must certainly guarantee our safety and we are edging closer to the top six!

I don’t think we will reach the play-offs but you never know what can happen in this league when you go on a good run.

Middlesbrough had so many chances, they could have played all day and not scored.

We have had a lot of days like that this season and it is about time our luck changed. Sol Bamba was a brick wall at the back and we looked really threatening up front.

Marco Silvestri showed us what a top keeper he can be, making some outstanding saves.

It’s onwards and upwards now!

Man of the match: Marco Silvestri.

JONATHAN FORD

What a defensive display by Leeds. We defended for 96 minutes plus and still didn’t concede! It’s wins like that which are so special – under the cosh but coming out fighting. Sol Bamba, Marco Silvestri, Rudy Austin, amongst the other 11, heroic!

Man of the match: Rudy Austin.

Leeds United goalkeeper, Felix Wiedwald.

Phil Hay – Inside Elland Road: Getting the basics right still vital for Leeds United’s Felix Wiedwald