On the back of an impressive start to the season, Leeds’s Under-21 side slipped to a valiant 2-1 defeat at the hands of an experienced Colchester United at Elland Road. After going 2-0 in the second half, Luke Parkin’s late goal proved to be nothing more than a consolation as the visitors played out the closing stages to clinch three points against a United side that had gone into the match as league leaders. While United’s senior side have struggled in recent weeks and fallen out of the promotion race with a lot of blue square visitors, the youngsters have started the season with four wins from five games, including a fabulous 6-1 thumping of Doncaster earlier in the month in the cup.

Without the presence of Brazilian playmaker/saviour Adryan, who had bolstered Neil Redfearn’s development squad in recent games, a young United side dominated large spells of the first half in a goalless opening 45 minutes. After a couple of half chances for the lively Kalvin Phillips at the start of the second half, Colchester took the lead shortly after the hour mark somewhat against the run of play when Dominic Smith slotted the ball past Eric Grimes in the United goal to make it 1-0. Phillips again went close before Colchester doubled their advantage with Smith again the man in the right place as he latched onto a Byron Lawrence cross.

While United halved the deficit through a deflected shot from substitute Luke Parkin, the hosts couldn’t find an equaliser in the final 10 minutes despite Brian Montenegro coming close in the dying minutes. The Paraguayan striker again pushed his claim for some first team involvement with a solid performance, with Chris Dawson further strengthening his case for a chance in the senior side with another eye-catching performance that Leeds fans will hope won’t have gone unnoticed by Darko Milanic.

Despite the defeat, there were once again plenty of positives for Leeds fans to take from the Under-21’s. It might not have been their best performance of the campaign but the likes of Dawson and Montenegro can only have benefitted from another run-out as they look to establish themselves in the senior squad.