Leeds United U23s visited Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park this evening to kick off their Premier League 2 Division 1 campaign.
Led by under-23s boss Mark Jackson, the young Whites fought tooth and nail for three points in front of a smattering of spectators, many of whom supporting the away side.
Joe Gelhardt made a welcome return to the fold after picking up a knock in Leeds’ first pre-season friendly of the summer, but struggled to impact the game himself.
Meanwhile senior players Adam Forshaw and Kristoffer Klaesson earned yet more time on the pitch, in order to prove their first-team candidacy to Marcelo Bielsa.
In an entertaining affair, Leeds emerged 3-1 winners which on balance was a fair result.
Sean McGurk, Liam McCarron and Crysencio Summerville were among the goals, while Kristoffer Klaesson made a smart stop from the penalty spot.
Here are LeedsLive’s player ratings from Selhurst.
Kristoffer Klaesson – 6
Shaky start from the Norwegian whose distribution was a tad questionable.
Some understandable nerves on his competitive debut but eventually grew into the contest. A late penalty save will have restored his damaged confidence, as well as some important, late reflex saves.
Illan Meslier’s shirt remains safe for the time being.
Cody Drameh – 8
The right-back plays under-23 fixtures at a canter. He carries the ball with such ease.
Weaved past multiple players into the area before laying on Lewis Bate immediately preceding the handball which saw David Boateng sent off for the hosts, which in turn gifted Leeds a penalty.
Then he did it again, almost carving out another golden opportunity for his teammates.
Drameh’s whipped crossing almost brought a freak own goal in Leeds’ favour.
Conceded a late penalty after getting his legs tangled, but every day’s a school day.
Charlie Cresswell (C) – 6
Guilty of overplaying it at times and became caught up in a battle with Palace striker Rob Street.
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Cresswell was booked for some pushing and shoving during the first half, which will have only made his task harder for the remaining hour of the game. Instead though, he was substituted at half-time.
Physically dominant in duels, there was never any question of his defensive capabilities, but a cool head would’ve made the Palace striker look quite foolish – and perhaps extended Cresswell’s run-out.
Kris Moore – 7
Strong centre-back play from the 17-year-old. His passing could have been crisper but a more assured outing than some of his pre-season displays.
Liam McCarron – 8
Slid in with Leeds’ second goal at the back post, McCarron has really grown into his new role at left-back.
Appears more reliable with each passing game. Made those Leif Davis-type runs down the left flank.
Adam Forshaw – 7
Ferried the ball through midfield and stayed away from the stop-start melodrama in the first half.
A calm, cool-headed display and another incident-free 60 minutes in the tank. Pleasing.
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Jack Jenkins – 8
Some beautiful distribution from the base of midfield. His assist for Summerville’s opener was perfectly weighted.
Pivotal in the first two goals, having played the ball into Cody Drameh for the second. Tempo dictator.
Lewis Bate – 6
Tidied up in behind during the shaky early stages. Pressed well in the final third in an unfamiliar No. 10 role.
Worked back plenty but was deprived the opportunity to work his magic from deep.
Crysencio Summerville – 8
A typically electric 45 minute stint from Summerville which saw him score the opening goal. Blitzed past Palace players rendered helpless by the Dutchman’s speed.
Beginning to string together reliably threatening performances on a consistent basis. Making all the right noises.
Amari Miller – 7
Went down a little too easily in the opening 45, but developed into a threat particularly in the second half.
His cross for Sean McGurk’s goal was very ‘Jack Harrison vs Newcastle, December 2020’.
Joe Gelhardt – 6
Tough evening for Joffy whose tame penalty summed up his return to the starting XI.
Missed spot-kick aside, Gelhardt put in an endeavouring display, hard-working throughout, but had little to show for it. One of those days, he’ll be back amongst the goals soon.
Nohan Kenneh – 6
Not overly involved in the second half, but managed to keep Palace quiet with some tight defending.
Sean McGurk – 7
A good, strong finish when the chance fell his way, McGurk finishes his first Leeds appearance with a goal.
Sam Greenwood – 6
Mark Jackson’s 60-minute introduction, Greenwood was secure and well-organised in the middle.