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Recap and Ratings: Leeds u23 1 - 2 Crewe u23

All the possession, not enough clear cut chances, a narrow defeat. I am sure there is a French expression for this....

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Leeds United’s u23 side showed they are ready to take over from the first team - by dominating a match and losing. This time 2-1 to Crewe Alexandra.

Leeds had most of the ball but didn’t do anything with it in the first half and found themselves 2-0 down at half-time through two goals (one a penalty) from Oliver Finney. Leeds second half performance was much better and forced Crewe into defending for almost the whole half, but could only get one goal - a good finish from Robbie Gotts.

Leeds started with all the possession and played the ball out from the back well but in terms of chances it was a tame start to the game from both sides. The first effort of note coming in the 9th minute when Ryan Edmondson put a header wide from a Luke Ayling cross.

The second effort came from a Crewe break on 16 minutes. Conor Heath getting in behind down the right channel but he hit a weak effort straight at Ilhan Meslier.

Crewe took the lead in the 21st minute. Leeds went to sleep at the back and left Oliver Finney in all kinds of space in the box, he took a touch - turned inside a despairing slide tackle from Leif Davis and smashed the ball into the top right corner with his left-foot.

We saw a rare sight in football in the 25th minute as Crewe were penalised for a backpass, giving Leeds an indirect free-kick from 6 yards out, level with Crewe’s left-hand post. Barry Douglas laid it off for Jack Clarke to strike - but the lay off was too strong and allowed Crewe keeper David Richards to get off his line and block the strike.

Meslier made a fantastic save to deny former Republic of Ireland international Paul Green (once of this Parish). However, shortly after Leeds gave away a penalty - it looked like a soft foul from behind from Alfie McCalmont in a crowded area, and Meslier could produce no such heroics as he was sent the wrong way by Oliver Finney’s penalty.

Leeds came close for the first time in a while just before half time. Poland u21 international Mateusz Bogusz firing just wide with a free-kick from the edge of the box. They could have had another chance on the stroke of half-time when Liam McCarron had the chance to put Edmondson through on goal but he overhit the pass.

The first chance of the second half came after 50 minutes. Leeds pressed well and won possession, Edmondson drove Leeds forward and played the ball through for Gaetano Berardi who had made a lungbusting run, but his shot was saved low by Richards.

Edmondson himself had a chance a few minutes later. Richards saving his header low to his left following a good cross from Leif Davis.

Richards made another really good save after 58 minutes. Berardi with an excellent cross and Liam McCarron with a powerful backpost header but the Crewe keeper and Captain made an excellent one-handed save.

Leeds got one back with some nice football. Robbie Gotts played the ball to Kun Temenzuhkov and he played the ball into the feet of Ryan Edmonson. Edmondson flicked the ball in behind for the run of Gotts who set off from the original pass. He got in behind and slid in to flick the ball past Richards in the Crewe goal.

Leeds had been firmly on top the entire second half and were now pushing for the equaliser. Richards made another good save to deny a Bogusz drive from 25 yards which was very well struck. Gotts went close to his 2nd with another effort from the edge of the box.

Oliver Casey had a header from a cross go just wide having beaten the keeper with 7 minutes to go. Followed by Berardi slicing a left-footed effort wide from distance when he had much better options available.

Crewe nearly got a third in stoppage time when Oliver Finney got through on goal with Leeds pushing forward, but his low drive was tipped wide well by Meslier.

Time now to look at each player and how they performed. As always you can tell me how wrong I am @mightywhitespod or @ThruItAllLUFC on twitter.

STARTING LINE-UP

Ilhan Meslier - No chance with the opening goal. Made a fantastic save to deny a Paul Green volley. No blame for conceding from the penalty spot. Looked comfortable on the ball with his feet. Claimed a couple of crosses well. Not much to do second half barring a good save to deny Finney in second half stoppage time. 6/10

Luke Ayling - Got forward well and had a decent effort blocked. Wasn’t at fault for wither of the first two goals. Removed early which will have always been the plan. 6/10

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Oliver Casey - Read the game well in the first on most occasions, stepped in well for interceptions and looked good on the ball. Looked like he should have been better positioned for the opening goal. Went close to making it 2-2 with a header with 7 minutes left. 6.5/10

Leif Davis - Spread the play from CB well early on, always willing to try the cross-field ball when it was available. Moved to left-back following the early substitutions. Put in an excellent cross for a Ryan Edmondson chance which forced a save and he got forward well from the left-back position consistently and his crosses looked consistently dangerous (which is something you can’t often say about a Leeds player). 7/10

Barry Douglas - Didn’t do enough with the set-pieces he took. Rest of his play was ok. Removed early along with Ayling. 5.5/10

Alfie McCalmont - Ticked over in possession in the deep midfield role but didn’t offer enough control in the first half. Looked like his foul for the penalty for Crewe’s 2nd goal. 5.5/10

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Robbie Gotts - Received the ball well under pressure and was able to get away and find a pass well. Along with Bogusz, was able to beat a player and bring Leeds forward with the ball. Got Leeds back in the game at 1-2 with a really good goal where he was involved in the set-up play as well as being the finisher. He went close again from the edge of the box with 10 minutes left. 7.5/10

Jack Clarke - Couldn’t beat his man in the first half when he got on the ball. Passing was solid enough. Subbed at Half-Time. 5.5/10

Mateusz Bogusz - Looked Leeds most lively player in the first half along with Gotts. Went close with a free kick on stroke of half-time. Very involved in the second half, stung the palms of Richards with a really well struck effort from 25 yards. 7/10

Liam McCarron - Looked lively early on but faded away. Had a great chance to put Edmondson through on goal at the end of the first half but misplaced the pass. Unlucky not to score a header from a Berardi cross, really good one-handed save from the keeper Richards. Put in some good corners in the second half. 6/10

Ryan Edmondson - Put an early header wide, and pressed well but not involved in the attack enough despite Leeds having plenty of possession in the first half. Laid on a good chance for Berardi early in the second half. Forced a good save from Richards with a header from a “very good Davis” cross. Good flicked pass in behind to get the assist on Gotts’ goal which made it 1-2. Much better second half than first. 7/10

SUBSTITUTES

Gaetano Berardi (for Ayling, 37mins) - Had a good chance early in the second half but his shot lacked power. Good cross to find McCarron who had his header saved. Passing inside from full-back wasn’t incisive enough. 6/10

Charlie Cresswell (for Douglas, 37mins) - Stepped in and won the ball well a lot. Good in possession as well. 6.5/10

Kun Temenuzhkov (for Clarke, HT) - Had a chance to volley from the edge of the box but dragged the shot wide. Involved in the build up to Gotts’ goal which made it 1-2. A bit wasteful with the ball in the last 10 minutes. 6/10