REPORT: Wanderers v Leeds Utd U21s

Wanderers got back on the goal trail as they booked their place in the last 32 of the Papa Johns Trophy as Group B winners.

After a three-game barren run, the Whites found the target again in eye-catching style through Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and substitutes Amadou Bakayoko and Kieran Sadlier to guarantee a home draw in the first knock-out round.

Boss Ian Evatt wanted his frontmen to find the feeling of hitting the net again and while there were chances to make the scoreline even more emphatic, it was job done for Wanderers before their return to League One duty at Accrington Stanley on Saturday.

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Bodvarsson set the Whites on their way with a typically assured finish to claim his third goal of the season early on.

And while Wanderers had to wait for the final quarter of an hour to really make their dominance pay, the goals from Bakayoko and Sadlier came as a further confidence boost from a slick performance that keeps Wanderers hopes of a run deep into the competition firmly intact.

As expected, Wanderers made plenty of changes as only Bodvarsson, Jack Iredale and Gethin Jones – who took over the skipper’s armband – repeated their starts from the weekend’s draw with Barnsley.

It was still a powerful-looking line-up, though, against a Leeds side shorn of a couple of the players who had helped secure a win at Tranmere in their opening game due to United’s up-coming Premier League fixture at Leicester on Thursday night.

But what Leeds lacked in experience they made up for with youthful pace, vim and vigour as they carried a threat on the break.

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Joel Dixon had to make a fine early save with his legs to keep out the lively Sean McGurk, who later prodded an effort wide after again sprinting in behind the Whites’ defence.

But the majority of the first-half openings came Wanderers’ way after they ended their wait for a goal a quarter of an hour into an entertaining encounter.

Lloyd Isgrove was a welcome starter for the first time in close to 11 months after injury and a measured comeback.

And it was his early cross which picked out Bodvarsson to break the barren spell with a tidy first-time finish, striking on the turn to send the ball in off the inside of a post.

Isgrove got through some excellent work in the right wing-back role and when he picked out Josh Sheehan, the midfielder tested former Everton keeper Joel Robles low down to his left.

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The tidy Sheehan had also endured a lengthy injury absence but looks to be getting back to full speed and went close again with half an hour gone when his first-time effort from distance was blocked in front of goal by Kris Moore after Robles had come out top to clear.

The Real Betis number-one was a busy man and after saving well from Kyle Dempsey was grateful to see Bodvarsson’s follow-up hit the bar as the Icelander almost headed a second to double the Whites’ lead at the break.

Bodvarsson was proving a real menace and five minutes into the second half he was given another sight of goal following more slick build-up play from the Whites.

But this time from a Gethin Jones’ cross he lacked the accuracy to trouble Robles with a diving header which flew over the top from almost his last touch before making way for Bakayoko after picking up a knock.

A second goal would have been welcome as another opening for McGurk, whose effort from a tight angle was beaten out by Dixon, showed Leeds - previously unbeaten this season and top of Premier League 2's second division - were still in the contest.

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Will Aimson also had to make a timely block, while the ball just wouldn’t go in at the other end for the Whites as Sadlier and Bakayoko were both thwarted – for now – in front of goal as the final 15 minutes approached.

Bakayoko then saw another effort saved by Robles from Conor Bradley’s low cross but when the pair combined again the pressure finally told as Wanderers doubled their lead to make the points and top spot safe.

This time Bradley was thwarted by the Spanish keeper but when the ball dropped for Bakayoko, he made no mistake to drive home his second goal in the competition this season with the possibility of more to come when the knock-out rounds begin.

And there was still time for one more to reflect Wanderers’ superiority a minute from time when Bakayoko slipped in Sadlier to run through and coolly rounded Robles and roll home his fourth goal of the campaign.

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Wanderers: Dixon; Jones, Aimson, Iredale; Isgrove (Bradley 59), Morley, Dempsey, John (Beck 59); Sheehan (Lee HT); Bodvarsson (Bakayoko 53), Kachunga (Sadlier 61). Substitutes: Johnston, Charles.

Booked: Jones

Leeds United U21s: Robles; Drameh, Spencer (Coleman 84), Debayo, Moore; McCalmont (Snowdon 77), Gyabi, Allen; Perkins (Miller 84), Joseph, McGurk (Dean 61). Substitutes: Christy, Thomas, Buchan.

Booked: Perkins

Referee: Peter Wright

Attendance: 2,936 (622 Leeds)

Read Time: 5 mins