Leeds United's U23s provide 'no positives' in disappointing Blackburn Rovers PL2 defeat

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Leeds United's Under-23s fell to a disappointing 4-0 defeat at Blackburn Rovers in Premier League 2 action on Monday night.

The Whites travelled over to the Lancashire FA with a strong squad that featured the likes of Leo Hjelde, Stuart McKinstry, Lewis Bate and Liam McCarron.

Mateo Joseph was also named in the squad for the first time since making the move from La Liga side Espanyol earlier this month.

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Blackburn, meanwhile, were able to call upon the returning Bradley Dack and Harry Chapman alongside James Brown - a trio with plenty of senior experience among them.

Leeds United Under-23s head coach Mark Jackson. Pic: GettyLeeds United Under-23s head coach Mark Jackson. Pic: Getty
Leeds United Under-23s head coach Mark Jackson. Pic: Getty

Rovers raced into a three goal lead at the interval as United failed to muster a shot on goal in the opening 45 minutes.

Two goals from Jack Vale with a Jared Harlock effort sandwiched in between gave the hosts complete control on the night by the time the game reached the interval.

Vale twice finished calmly past Kristoffer Klaesson from inside the area while Harlock's run wasn't tracked after a clever one-two just outside the box.

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Archie Gray was introduced from the bench and the 15-year-old injected a little bit of bite to the visitors midfield.

Rovers, though, added to the scoreline five minutes into the second half through Connor McBride as he went unchallenged.

The Scot headed home a Chapman cross to the back post to give Blackburn a commanding lead and put the hosts in cruise control.

Leeds did go close in the latter stages as Bate opened up the opposition defence with a low through ball.

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Amari Miller's resulting shot deflected towards the top corner but Atonis Stergiakis reacted brilliantly to tip the effort onto the bar.

It was as close as the Whites would go to finding the back of the net on a disappointing evening over the Pennines.

Joseph's late cameo from the bench provided a highlight to the evening, replacing Max Dean 10 minutes from time to lead the attack.

The defeat sees Leeds remain outside the bottom two relegation places by a single point ahead of Blackburn in the PL2.

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Derby County are now sat at the foot of the table two points back from Mark Jackson's men in 14th position.

"Nothing positive to take out of tonight," the U23s boss told the YEP post-match.

"Sometimes you can come away from games and defeats with positives but I am struggling to think of any which is surprising because leading into the game on the back of two wins we felt like we were in good spirits.

"We had good momentum. We had more experienced players coming back into the team and everything was pointing towards us being really competitive tonight in a really important game.

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"We got off to a bad start, which happens, but you can't let one goal ruin the rest of the game but we just didn't get a foothold.

"They were on the front foot and more aggressive. We didn't handle that."

Blackburn Rovers U23s: Stergiakis, Brown, Gent, Wharton (Leonard 66), Phillips, Pratt, McBride (Brennan 73), Harlock, Vale, Dack (Durrant 46), Chapman. Subs not used: Dowling, Batty.

Leeds United U23s: Klaesson, McKinstry, Hjelde, Kenneh, Mullen (Gray 46), Moore, Miller (McGurk 71), Jenkins, Dean (Joseph 80), Bate, McCarron. Subs not used: Van Den Heuvel.