Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Ryan Brookes
Sports Writer
11:23 AM 8th July 2022

Leeds United 4-0 Blackpool: Whites Demolish Tangerines In Pre-season Friendly

Leeds' Robin Koch celebrates his opening goal with teammates (Photo: Matthew Appleby)
Leeds' Robin Koch celebrates his opening goal with teammates (Photo: Matthew Appleby)
Total domination from Leeds United led them to a 4-0 thrashing of Blackpool in their first public pre-season friendly in York.

Leeds gained the advantage after nine minutes played as a quick free kick tactic found an unmarked Robin Koch who slotted home with ease.

The 'hosts' kept pushing for their second and it came on 23 minutes, from Junior Firpo, heading home from a corner.

Not even 30 minutes had passed by the time the leaders claimed their third - a beautiful overhead pass from Archie Gray led to Rodrigo smashing home for three.

The game was well and truly sealed going into the closing five minutes, when Spanish youngster Mateo Joseph converted from a perfectly placed pass.

After a slightly delayed kickoff, the first match of Leeds' public pre-season campaign got underway, with the regarded 'home' side making the better start.

With just four minutes on the clock, Junior Firpo's sprint down the left wing resulted in his cross into the danger area finding Joe Geldhardt, who looped it over the 'keeper from point-blanc range, however his early goal was rightly chalked off for an offside call.

Five minutes later, Leeds had their opener, through unlikely goalscorer Robin Koch, and it stood this time around. Firpo was at it again on the left hand side, and rolled it in towards the defender who made no mistake in tapping home, with Blackpool 'keeper Chris Maxwell left stranded on the opposite side of his goal.

Blackpool burst forward for the first time soon after, with an opportunity almost a replica of the Whites' goal - Rob Apter's ball into the box missed everyone and fell to Brad Holmes, but his effort couldn't find the target, and cruised well wide.

With just over 20 minutes played, the leaders came close to doubling their advantage as it fell to Rodrigo on the edge of the area, and he drilled a shot goal bound which Maxwell got down well to save.

The resulting corner couldn't be kept out by The Tangerines however, as top performer Firpo latched onto the inswinger and headed home to confirm Leeds' second of the evening.

An unstoppable first half performance from United meant they made it 3-0 after just 30 minutes. 16-year-old prospect Archie Gray provided a perfect exquisite pass over the top, leaving Geldhardt to square to Rodrigo who smashed home into an empty net.

After being dominated for the majority of the first half, the 'visitors' tried to make the most of an attacking move, but in the end it was only a half-chance, with Luke Garbutt driving it into Meslier's arms from an angle.

The pre-season antics kicked in at half-time as Blackpool coach Michael Appleton made 10 changes to his Tangerines side, with just left-back Rob Apter remaining.

Despite the fresh legs, Leeds were the side that made the first impact in the second 45 - Sam Greenwood's curling free-kick had just too much height on it, drifting barely over the bar; his second attempt at it shortly after went miles over.

Half-time Seasiders substitute Callum Connolly maybe thought he was in with a shout of reducing the deficit, but his driven set-piece fired through a crowd of players couldn't find the target, narrowly missing the far post, with under a quarter of an hour to go.

After a majority change of team for Leeds, Blackpool fought harder in the closing stages and forced a save out of Kristoffer Klaesson, through Shayne Lavery, who, clean through on goal, failed to score.

Going into the final five minutes, the Yorkshire outfit sealed their well-deserved conquering of the opponents, Spanish youngster Mateo Joseph perfectly converting Jamie Shackleton's accurately placed pass, with a first time finish from just inside the box, taking quite a deflection on the way in.

Mateo Joseph celebrates after scoring the fourth of the evening (Photo: Matthew Appleby)
Mateo Joseph celebrates after scoring the fourth of the evening (Photo: Matthew Appleby)
Leeds United (Second Half): Meslier (Klaesson), Firpo (Miller), Koch (Davis), Struijk (Shackleton 60'), Drameh (Forshaw 60'), Roca (Bate 60'), Gray, Greenwood (McGurk 60'), Harrison (Joseph 60'), Rodrigo (Mullen), Geldhardt (Fernandez 60')

Blackpool (Second Half): Maxwell (Grimshaw), Apter, Keogh (Ekpiteta), Thorniley (Tharme), Garbutt (Moore), Dougall (Connolly), Carey (Dale), Virtue (Anderson), Bowler (Lubala), Holmes (Hamilton), Madine (Lavery)

Post-match thoughts

Even though the nature of this game - a pre-season friendly, Jesse Marsche's decision to start a number of experienced first-teamers really impacted the scoreline, and Leeds' Premier League status can't be ignored.

It was always going to be a 'home' outcome in York and the 4-0 victory really didn't flatter Leeds - the dominant displays in either half were easily enough to impress their near sell-out home crowd and although the second half had just one goal, the quality was still on show from promising youngsters, such as 16-year-old Archie Gray, who especially impressed me.