Jack Harrison netted a stunning 25-yard drive as Leeds United advanced into the FA Cup fifth round for the first time since 2016 at the expense of League One Accrington Stanley.
Harrison, who has been linked to a £20million move to Leicester Cityfired a left-footed shot into the bottom right corner after Patrick Bamford was laid off to break the deadlock midway through the first half.
Leeds continued to press in a spirited first half that saw 18 shots, with Luis Sinisterra having a curling effort tipped over the post.
They got the second goal their excellent forward play deserved when Junior Firpo linked up brilliantly at Bamford, the striker’s dragging reverse pass allowing the left-back to head home for his first Leeds goal .
Sinistera then sealed Leeds’ comfortable pass when he opened up his body and guided home Harrison’s reduction from the penalty spot.
Accrington started brilliantly and finally got his reward when 18-year-old substitute Leslie Adekoya scored his first senior goal with a clever dink on Illan Meslier, 38 seconds after coming off the bench.
Jesse Marsch’s Leeds side have gone six Premier League games without a win, but the FA Cup brings solace and could add confidence that bolsters their fight for survival.
Bamford and Harrison prove their worth
The first half was full of chances at both ends with only a brilliant block from Maximilian Wober denying Accrington’s Shaun Whalley, before January signing Georginio Rutter dragged away from the edge of the area for Leeds.
The quality moment came courtesy of Harrison, whose effort was simply unstoppable.
Accrington had chances to equalise, with childhood Leeds fan Harvey Rodgers trailing wide when unmarked at the back post in the early stages of the second period.
Leeds pressed and Bamford’s quality was finally revealed when he superbly managed to hold off Firpo’s pass and then spin and release the left-back.
The 29-year-old striker, who has England cap, has managed just 581 minutes this season so far but a return to form and form will add some unmistakable quality to Leeds’ relegation battle.
Harrison, who also struggled to make an impact this season with performances from Wilfried Gnonto seeing him start on the left wing, then showed more quality when his cut-back was weighted perfectly into Sinistera’s path.
Accrington, who only booked his place in the fourth round with a replay win over non-league Boreham Wood on Tuesday, deserved his consolation goal and it was a moment Adekoya will never forget, having previously only done seven appearances off the bench for the club.
Aged 18 years and 285 days, he became the youngest player to score in the FA Cup this season.