U23 Report | Watford 2-0 Leeds
The Hornets' Under-23 side made a winning start to their 2017/18 Premier League PDL South campaign this afternoon (Aug 14) with a battling 2-0 defeat of Leeds United at UCL.
Michael Folivi broke the deadlock after half-time, before a late Dion Pereira lob confirmed all three points for the young Golden Boys.
The home side, keen to make amends for a disappointing campaign in 2016/17, started the brighter, organised and intense off the ball, purposeful with it.
They could have been ahead twice inside the first two minutes - Carl Stewart found Folivi with a firm through ball from midfield but Leeds goalkeeper Will Huffer stood tall to prevent the early goal.
Moments later Huffer was called upon again, this time scrambling to flick Ashley Charles' dipping free-kick over the crossbar.
The visitors settled after the fast start and forced good openings of their own, Mallik Wilks firing a foot wide before Watford defender Charlie Rowan recovered well to block Jack McKay's goal-bound shot.
David Sesay's curler crashed off the bar just before the half-time whistle, 0-0 probably a fair reflection of the first-half's events.
Huffer denied Folivi's back-post header on 62 minutes but it wasn't long, just five minutes, before the striker, on loan at Coventry City for the second half of last season, got his goal.
Picking up the ball 30 yards out, Folivi wriggled into the yard of space he needed to have a crack at goal and powered the ball in off the post, Huffer this time rooted to his line.
The prospect of an opening day win firmly on their minds, the Hornets dropped deeper as the half wore on, inviting pressure from the Yorkshiremen.
Leeds should have levelled on 75 minutes, Watford clearing the ball off the line no fewer than three times in the same minute, the visitors unable to force the ball home from a succession of set-pieces.
And as they committed resources forward in search of a point, Watford were able to take advantage on the break, Pereira producing a delicate lob to confirm the three points.
HORNETS | Gartside (GK), Eleftheriou (C), Sesay, Ryan, Rowan, Mukena, Pereira, Charles, Folivi, Jakubiak (Bradbury, 82), Stewart (Gordon, 70).
Subs not used | Lacy (GK), Rogers, Huja.
LEEDS | Huffer (GK), Hosannah (Vieira, 75), Pearce, Rey, Kitching, O'Connor, Wilks, Shackleton, McKay, Machuca (Gotts, 65), Stokes.
Subs not used | Mace (GK), Gomes, Haidara.