Leeds United U23s faced West Ham United’s reserve side at Thorp Arch in a behind-closed-doors Premier League 2 fixture this Saturday.
The Whites opened the scoring through 17-year-old striker Max Dean after some great work on both flanks, before heading into the break a goal up.
Half-time saw the withdrawal of Charlie Cresswell, which facilitated the shuffling across of debutant Leo Hjelde.
The Norwegian had struggled in the opening few minutes but once he moved to central defence, looked much more at home.
West Ham hit back with a quickfire double shortly after the restart, before Joe Gelhardt was taken down inside the penalty area 20 minutes from time.
Sam Greenwood stepped up to take the spot-kick and converted confidently high into the net.
Here are the Leeds United under-23 player ratings:
Kristoffer Klaesson – 7
More proactive than we’ve seen of him previously. Not a great deal he could have done for the goals. Commanded his area well and seemed more vocal too.
Cody Drameh – 7
Solid and spider-legged as per usual.
In stoppage time at the end of the second half under heavy West Ham pressure, Drameh Cruyff-turned out of trouble. One word: composure.
Charlie Cresswell – 8
Dominant in the air and didn’t shut up during the first half.
Substituted at the break, as was originally planned, giving Hjelde the chance to slot in at left centre-back.
Strong in duels, but that’s par for the course for the England U-21 man.
Nohan Kenneh – 7
Stepped out of defence a little more than he tends to do usually. No errors to speak of in possession and positioning seemed sharp.
Marking at set-pieces could have improved but for the most part a strong display.
Leo Hjelde – 7
Shaky opening 20 minutes on his debut but grew into the contest when switching to central defence.
Made a decisive, goal-saving tackle shortly after the break and seemed to grow in confidence from there. Took the ball out of defence at times and performed especially well in aerial duels.
Lewis Bate – 6
Struggled physically against an imposing West Ham team but is very much up to speed fitness-wise. Some nice switches of play. Involved in the build-up to Max Dean’s goal.
Sam Greenwood – 9
Huge midfield performance; his pressing was superb in all thirds of the pitch.
Rifled in his spot-kick with venom and never stopped charging after the ball, and holding off challenges when it was in his care.
Stuart McKinstry – 7
Impressed on that right-hand side in the first half, before being less influential on the left in the second 45.
Combined well with Max Dean in particular, who he provided a crossed assist for on the half-hour mark.
Amari Miller – 5
Disappointing afternoon for Miller who was booked on the stroke of half-time. He struggled to beat his man on too many occasions and was subsequently substituted on the hour mark for Crysencio Summerville.
Still adapting to life at Leeds which is understandable. Room for improvement but by no means a bad display.
Max Dean – 8
Dean has been described as a terrier on many previous occasions and today proved exactly why that has tended to be the case.
A neat diving header capped off a well-worked move which saw the teenage striker latch onto a long ball over the top down the left, before beating his man at the byline.
A goal was no less than he deserved – he’s growing into under-23 football with every game.
Joe Gelhardt – 6
A quieter 90 minutes in front of goal for the Leeds United striker. On a few occasions going one-on-one with a central defender, Gelhardt could have released the ball to a teammate quicker or tried to shoot on his weaker right foot.
Some sharp dribbling and good tackling in what was a fractious game at times.
Liam McCarron – 7
Provided the galloping, forward-thinking impetus which Hjelde lacked at left-back in the first half.
McCarron was a half-time introduction for Cresswell and immediately added some spark on that flank. More of Leeds’ moves were funnelled down that side with the Scot willing to overlap.
Crysencio Summerville – 6
Flashes of brilliance but we’ve perhaps come to expect something magical every time Summerville takes to the field at Thorp Arch.
His half-hour run-out was encouraging enough to suggest he has maintained that confidence and high level of performance on display in recent weeks – just no end product to savour this time around, which the stop-start nature of the game didn’t allow.