Match Report - 15 Aug 2020, Leeds Modernians Football Club Reserves drew with Leeds City
Saturday 15th August 2020 – Leeds Modernians 2nds vs Leeds City
Another Saturday, another step closer to the new season and with it a great tie against Leeds City, a local rival that are always well drilled and consistent with their footballing philosophy, however this time they turn up with an eighteen-man squad. When this fixture rolls round you know you have a game on your hands, even a friendly is only in name. But with a new clear style that emphasised high intensity pressing and the commitment from all the players to implement that from minute one to minute ninety left the Reserves confident they could come out on top.
The atmosphere was surprisingly high for a behind closed doors match, but when the Mods are playing its impossible to stay away.
GK: Matt Gibbons
RB: James Flint CB: Nick Stubley CB: David Cowie © LB: Scott Morrison
CDM: Du Ndlovu
RM: James France LM: Adam Gillott
CAM: Jack Sewell
CF: Josh Naylor CF: Sam Norris
Bench: Manager: Josh Smith
A few changes to the squad this week, Kluska and Skelly not available and Nathan moving up to the First team after a great performance last week. This allowed for Du to have his opportunity in CDM, Adam Gillott playing slightly further forward on the left side of midfield, with Sam and Josh both getting a position in the starting eleven tasked to lead the press from the front and hopefully bring a couple of goals.
Straight away the Mods started implementing their new style of aggressive pressing, from front to back every position causing the opposition to immediately work the ball all the way back to their keeper giving them the hard task of trying to get out. However, Leeds City stuck to their game plan as much as they could and continued to play short passing football.
Throughout the half Leeds City first tried to force their way through the middle with intricate passes but the 3 pressing midfielders along with the forwards proved hard to bypass with great pressing especially from Sam, Josh and Francey, accompanied by strong challenges from Jack and Adam. On the few occasions they manage to get deeper into our half DU, Nick and Cowie created a strong triangle that cleaned up almost everything thrown at them. This forced Leeds City to overload the wings and double up with over lapping runs. However, Scott and James Flint, helped by Adam and Francey managed to smother most of their attempts at breaking through. This left Gibbo with little to do in the first half, however when he was called upon, he displayed his ability to take control and make smart decisions, displaying a couple of nice saves throughout the half.
When in position the Mods looked comfortable, they knew how to get the ball forward by using the space out wide to move the ball forward and attack the by-line. Josh Naylor played the target man role brilliantly by winning almost every ball knocked up to him and laying it off to jack or finding the wide players when favourable. Adam and Francey constantly looked dangerous out wide supplying dangerous balls into the box time after time, unfortunately no glory would come from these crosses in this half. However, on another day it could have easily been a different story and the Mods would have had a comfortable lead. Best chance of the half goes to Sam Norris who looked to capitalise on a loose ball moving across the Leeds City box, but it wasn’t to be from 8 yards out Sam missed the ball unchallenged and with it a golden chance to take the lead.
Half time: 0-0 The Mods where happy with the standard they had set and ready to go again, only negative was they hadn’t taken the lead yet.
The Reserves started the second half with the same line-up, still looking sharp and ready to continue the great work produced in the first half. For the first ten minutes of the second half the reserves continued to press causing a more disjointed Leeds City, due to their many changes and inferior fitness levels to play a more direct style of football which started to appear towards the end of the first half as their short passing was starting to create problem for them. By the 55th minute Adam Gillott started to show some signs of tiring after a great shift in his first game back, Adam was replaced by Tom Stacey who went into RM and Francey moved over to LM. Tom got straight into the game doing his usual role of breaking up play, winning aerial duels and putting in some strong challenges from the word go. Basically, continuing the great work produced by Adam.
Around the hour mark Sam Norris was replaced by kyle Mangan after his relentless chasing of the ball, making important challenges and constantly trying to create chances for the team. Kyle joined the game with the same attitude as Tom getting stuck into challenges and chasing down the opposition every time.
Despite the Reserves best efforts to take the lead it was Leeds City that somehow struck the first blow. Eyewitnesses say Leeds City put a lovely move together to find the striker, who turned Cowie just inside the box on the left side and shoot across Gibbo who unfortunately couldn’t get a strong enough hand on the ball to prevent the goal, leaving it to finish in the top right corner. A very well taken goal that really was against the run of play.
This left a sour taste in the mouth of the Reserves who couldn’t believe they were 1-0 down after putting in such a strong performance. The 70th minute was accompanied by a water break and a final roll of the dice for the Manager. Bringing on Pierre Domel for Scott Morrison. Moving to a 3 - 4 - 3 formation, with Pierre to the right side of a front three with Josh Naylor holding the middle and Kyle on the left.
The Reserves adapted to this change instantly causing Leeds City to struggle with the interplay and movement the front three along with the midfielders. However, Leeds City still managed to create one or two chances as this formation left a lot of space out wide for the visitors to attack in. But again, the defence along with Gibbo stopped anything getting past them as they had done for nearly the whole match. But chances also came for the Reserves, Kyle got on the end of a James France throwing but couldn’t keep it down repeating his efforts of the previous week and firing it over the cross bar from inside the box. With little time left Tom Stacey picked up a loose ball in the middle and turned his man, threading a lovely ball out to Francey who was making a dangerous down the wing. Francey proceeded to beat his man on the outside and with his left foot played a stunning ball across the face of goal for Pierre to slide in putting it under the diving keeper and evening up the match.
Full Time 1-1
The Reserves where happy with their performance and hungry for the next match after narrowly missing out on a victory. Great performance from all involved, showing great team spirit and fight.
Goes to DU for his incredible performance at CDM, sweeping up everything and always looked to create a positive movement when in possession. Hopefully there is more of that to come.
James Flint who was solid and “didn’t put a foot wrong” at RB.
James France who “played out of his skin again on both flanks”.
Leeds Modernians Football Club Reserves 1 - 1 Leeds City ()