Leeds United’s Premier League Cup campaign opened up with a 0-0 draw against Birmingham City at Tadcaster Albion’s i2i Stadium.
Leeds United had most of the play but Birmingham had at least an equal number of chances despite being down to 10 men for an hour following Jonathan Grounds red card for a cynical foul on Mateusz Bogusz.
The first half an hour wasn’t much of a spectacle. Leeds had a decent amount of the ball but it was Birmingham who had the better chances - missing one great chance through Adan George and forcing Ilhan Meslier into a couple of saves from distance.
There was a huge moment after 35 minutes. Ryan Edmondson knocked a ball down to Mateusz Bogusz who beat his man with some lovely skill. Bogusz got away with his pace and was heading into the box with a chance to score before the experienced Jonathan Grounds took him out and received a red card for his trouble.
Bogusz had another chance in the 43rd minute where he was one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but he took too long and a Birmingham defender was able to get back and get a foot in to prevent Bogusz getting a shot away.
At the start of the second half, Meslier was forced into another save after a deflected effort by Ryan Stirk from the edge of the box which he saw late.
The game was low on chances and the next good effort came from a free-kick. Bogusz going close from 25 yards. Soon after, Birmingham had a good chance of their own. Theo Hudson missed an interception allowing Agustin Medina to get in down the Leeds left, his shot was powerful and Meslier saved with his face, keeping him on the deck for several minutes.
Leeds were having all the play now but Birmingham nearly were gifted a goal. A poor backpass from Dane Burlace played Meslier into trouble, but Meslier tried to dribble out and lost the ball. Only good covering from the Leeds defence spared his blushes.
Leeds went very close in the 83rd minute, substitute Liam McCarron drove into the box down the left and shot across goal but dragged the shot just wide.
Leeds pressed for a winner, but didn’t create anything clear-cut. Kun Temenuzhkov did have the ball in the net in stoppage time, but he was given offside, it looked the correct decision but there was no replay. Leeds also had a decent penalty shout in the final minute but it would have been a soft one to be fair to the referee.
Ilhan Meslier - Came off his line well early to play a good pass into midfield and made a decent early save from distance. Made a few more good saves including one with his face on the hour mark that left him laying on the floor for several minutes. Nearly got caught out after he tried to overplay from a poor Burlace backpass, lost the ball and could easily have cost a goal. 7/10
Josh Galloway - Was advertised as a central midfielder when we signed him from Carlisle but played right-back on his u23 debut. Got in good positions down the right but couldn’t get the final ball quite right. 6/10
Oliver Casey - Really solid. Won his tackles well and did well in the air. Comfortable on the ball. Mentioned as a potential first team option by Marcelo Bielsa in his press conference this week and will have done that no harm tonight. Booked late on for pulling the shirt after Leeds gave a sloppy ball away. 7/10
Charlie Cresswell - Looked comfortable on the ball and brought it out from the back well following the red card for Grounds. Showed his confidence with a couple of Cruyff turns to get away from Birmingham’s forward players. Booked in the second half but it wasn’t a foul nevermind a yellow. Man of the Match. 7.5/10
Theo Hudson - A deeper role for Hudson, looked comfortable in the first half. Missed an interception on the hour mark which lead to an excellent chance for Agustin Medina for Birmingham. 6/10
Alfie McCalmont - Dropped in between the centre-backs and was solid in possession barring a couple of poor passes. Made an excellent sliding block to stop a great opportunity for Birmingham, he could easily have put it in his own net but got the ball up and away. Calm presence in the middle but his passing could perhaps have been more incisive. 6.5/10
Jack Jenkins - Full of energy in the middle of midfield. Some similarities in style to Jamie Shackleton today with his willingness to run with the ball at his feet. Solid outing. 6.5/10
Niall Huggins - Had the first real chance after a cross fell to him on the edge of the box, but his finish was poor. Was always willing to run at players but not enough came off for him. 6/10
Mateusz Bogusz - Great piece of skill and good pace to get away leading to the red card for Jonathan Grounds. Went very close with a 25-yard free kick that went just wide. Then close again with a dipping effort from a similar distance in open play. Always looked Leeds biggest threat when he was on the ball, but wasn’t on the ball as much as he’d like. 6.5/10
Stuart McKinstry - Made an excellent slide tackle in the box early on. Put in an excellent cross for Edmondson soon after. Put in a few other crosses but not as dangerous as in previous matches. 6/10
Ryan Edmondson - Not his best first half, won a few flick-ons but not involved enough to be a threat. Very isolated in the second half as well. Not his best day but probably not his fault. 6/10
Dane Burlace (for Galloway, 75mins) - A more recognised right back than Galloway. First touch a blocked crossfield ball, second one a poor backpass to Meslier. Calmed down after that and was solid. 5.5/10
Liam McCarron (for McKinstry, 81mins) - Went close with a good effort from the left side of the box, but his shot across goal went just wide. N/A
Kun Temenuzhkov (for Jenkins, 83mins) - Had a goal disallowed for offside (could also have been a foul on the goalkeeper). Busy performance, decent shout for a penalty at the end. N/A