Leeds progressed to the fifth round of the FA Cup thanks to goals from Jack Harrison, Junior Firpo and Luis Sinistera in a 3-1 win over Accrington of the Premier League.
The score doesn’t tell the whole story after the hosts enjoyed the best of the first half, but fell behind when Harrison fired home from the edge of the box.
Accrington’s momentum came back after the break but it began to fade when Premier League quality Leeds were knocked out by two goals in the space of two minutes. Patrick Bamford set up Firpo with a great pass to allow the left-back to fire, then Harrison pulled the ball back for Sinisterra to apply a simple close-range finish.
Stanley finally found the net late on for the goal their performance deserved when 18-year-old substitute Leslie Adekoya scored with his first touch off a Sebastian Quirk drop.
After the match, Leeds manager Jesse Marsh insisted he wanted to keep Harrison at the club Interesting from Leicester.
When asked about Harrison’s future at Elland Road, Marsh, who embraced his player after the final whistle, said: “Listen, all I’ll say is I like Jack first as a person. He’s one of the most incredible people I’ve ever coached.”
“We love him here. We want to keep him. He’s doing really well. I think getting him fit and healthy was a big key. He’s flexible with the way he plays.”
Harrison’s contract at Leeds expires at the end of next season, according to a source Sky Sports News The club will be reluctant to let him go to relegation rivals before Tuesday’s deadline.
“You know, when things start to spill over, it’s never easy to stay focused on your job, but I’ve tried to have an open dialogue with him and be very honest with him and we have that kind of relationship,” Marsh said.
“And then, you know, he likes it here. You know, that’s all I can say. It’s not like he’s dying to leave.”
How did Leeds avoid collapse in the FA Cup?
The opening exchanges were fast and furious. Accrington captain Sean McConville palmed Leeds goalkeeper Ian Mesler with a 25-yard shot, and Max Wooper’s tackle was denied by Sean Whalley.
Leeds’ record signing Georginho Rutter almost made his dream start on his debut for the club, hauling a low left-footed shot inches wide with his first real touch.
Accrington made it uncomfortable for visitors. McConville fired another missile and threatened Wally at a nearby outpost, with Mesler making both attempts.
But Leeds took the lead in the 23rd minute with the first moment of real quality of the game when Harrison fired home powerfully into the bottom corner after some great build-up.
Stanley responded well. Angler Brentford loanee Aaron Pressley’s shot was saved by Mesler, who fouled Whalley’s dangerous ball into the penalty area shortly after.
Leeds almost doubled their lead through Sinistera, whose long-range shot crashed against the post – replays showed Toby Safin had his fingers caught – but Marsh’s side were thankful to Mesler for keeping him up when he deflected Ethan Hamilton’s shot.
Accrington refused a golden chance to equalize moments after the restart when Harvey Rodgers – a lifelong Leeds fan – failed to strike his shot at the far post after McConville’s free-kick. Rodgers stabbed another chance wide after Meslier spilled the Doug Tarm’s long throw.
Leeds missed two chances of their own in quick succession just after the hour mark as Bamford and Sinistra slotted home.
But Leeds then put the equalizer two goals in as many minutes. Bamford played brilliantly to Firpo to score his first goal for the club, and another free-flowing move ended with Sinistera’s smashing shot from Harrison’s pass.
Safin denied Leeds a fourth goal when he turned away substitute Rodrigo’s shot, as Leeds threatened to bypass its host.
But coach John Coleman’s side fell into the fight and deservedly pulled one back in the 81st minute when Adekoya swept away a six-yard Quirk pass.
Accrington The next match in League One, with Lincoln Visit WAM Stadium on Saturday. Match kick off 3 p.m.
John Coleman’s side then travel to Vale Park to take over Port Vale on Tuesday, February 7; Kick off 7.45pm.
Leeds They are next in action in the Premier League, with a trip to Nottingham Forest On Sunday, February 5, live Sky Sports; Kick-off is at 2 p.m.
Sunday, February 5th at 1:00 p.m
It starts at 2:00 in the afternoon
Then they face Jesse Marsh’s side with a double header in the Premier League Manchester Unitedwith a trip to Old Trafford on Wednesday 8th February – kick off at 8pm – before they host rivals at Elland Road on Sunday 12th February, live Sky Sports; Kick-off is at 2 p.m.