Peterborough Utd 0
Leeds United 3 (Ampadu 34, 90, Bamford 47)
7th January, 2024, FA Cup 3rd Round..
Well! Not too much needs saying about that performance – it was probably the most comfortable third round victory we’ve had so far this this century; at least I can’t think of another one where we got ahead early and never looked in trouble! Yes, Peterborough kept us out for half an hour and had a couple of near misses themselves – one shot that flew wide and a header that similarly missed the target – but, similar to the recent Birmingham game, once we went ahead we never looked likely to face another third round upset.
We should remember that Peterborough are no mugs, they score goals and are enjoying a good season that could well end with a promotion to the Championship. They pass the ball around neatly and use their wings well but we dealt with them very efficiently.
We scored three excellent goals too, and all without the magic and guile of Cree Summerville and Georginio who were both rested. I had wondered if we’d have enough invention without the pair of them but I shouldn’t have worried. The goals, when they came were not born of magic but were all clinical finishes from accurate deliveries.
The first saw Patrick Bamford, the reborn Patrick Bamford, chest the ball down from a Jaidon Anthony dinked free kick on the right. The ball fell into the path of Ethan Ampadu and he swept home his first goal for the club. That was just after the half hour, a half hour that saw Leeds largely in charge but also showed that quality Posh have as they passed the ball well and created a couple of sights of goal.
The second goal came at the perfect time, just after the break, and effectively killed the game. This time it was another flashback to a time long ago when Patrick Bamford could do no wrong – think that incredible hat-trick he scored at Villa Park for example. Ethan Ampadu sent a long diagonal ball from our half towards the edge of the area and there was Paddy in space enough to take the ball on his chest while facing away from goal. He turned, and walloped the ball on the full volley over the Posh keeper who was a few yards off his line. The ball arched perfectly over him and into the corner of the net. If Paddy can continue to perform like that then he may yet be a valuable contributor of goals in the second half of the season; his confidence is coming back and he has a smile on his face.
We had to wait until the final moments for a third but it was another clinical delivery from a left-wing corner, this time from substitute Dan James, and there was Ethan Ampadu who jumped unchallenged and headed firmly across goal inside the back post. Ethan thus proved that old saying about the London busses true; we’ve waited half a season for one and then two come along together!
This is a strange Leeds United, a Leeds United doing things simply and without drama, a Leeds United calmly going into the 4th Round of the FA Cup. We can now only hope for a home draw to end that record-breaking string of away ties we’ve been saddled with for years. But, before we play again in the Cup, we have far more pressing business, first at Cardiff next weekend and then in the rematch with Preston. Let’s be just as efficient in those two eh Leeds?
Possession 49% 51%
Shots 11 15
On Target 3 7
Corners 4 7
Fouls 9 13