Leeds United U23s put in a solid performance but came away from Fleetwood Town empty handed after losing 2-1 at Highbury Stadium.
The visitors dominated the first half despite looking shaky defensively, and were rewarded when Charlie Cresswell nodded in Stuart McKinstry’s corner.
Fleetwood regained control in the second half when the influential Adam Forshaw was substituted during the interval, and the hosts equalised when Dani Van Den Heuvel was closed down and dispossessed at the edge of the area, allowing Shayden Morris to score into an empty net.
Things got from bad to worse for Mark Jackson’s side when Cresswell was forced to depart following an earlier foot to the face while defending a set piece. Moments later, debutant Lewis Bate conceded a soft penalty, which was duly tucked away by Ged Garner.
The Whites responded relatively well, with Max Dean forcing a good save from ex-Leeds keeper Alex Cairns, but they could not find an equaliser of their own.
Here are the player ratings:
Dani Van Den Heuvel - 5.5
Had very little to do in the first half. Conceded an absolute howler early in the second when he was closed down and dispossessed at the edge of his area. Dove the right way for the penalty but was unlucky to see the ball driven underneath him. Made a good save at his near post to deny an overhead kick.
Liam McCarron - 7
Provided a good presence for Leeds down the left-wing. His run and blocked cross resulted in Cresswell’s opener from a corner.
Charlie Cresswell (off 59’) - 8 (MOTM)
Defended well at set pieces and in open play, distributed the ball effectively and rose to score a bullet header from a first half corner. Commanding display from the captain. Took a foot in the face early in the second half which led to his substitution; Leeds missed his presence.
Nohan Kenneh - 6
Made a couple of errors in the first half. Decent in possession but not as authoritative as his central defensive partner. Mixed timing on his challenges for the ball.
Cody Drameh - 6.5
Not his best match in a Leeds shirt. Made some good runs but his delivery was lacking at times. Was caught out defensively on a couple of occasions.
Amari Miller (off 46’) - 6.5
Played some good balls forward but was poor in distribution on one or two occasions. Perhaps not quite as involved as he would have liked and replaced at half-time by Poveda.
Jack Jenkins - 7
Took him a while to get involved but made some good driving runs forward and executed a couple of decent ranged passes in the first half. Missed the presence of midfield partner Forshaw in the second half.
Adam Forshaw (off 46’) - 8
Looked like he had a great time on the pitch. Dictated the play well, launched some excellent balls forward and retained possession under pressure. Constantly made himself available to his teammates and did well to win fouls. Promising display from Forshaw, and Leeds struggled to play through the thirds without him. Replaced by debutant Lewis Bate during the interval.
Stuart McKinstry - 7.5
Made a lot of good runs in the first half that made the most of some well hit ranged passes. Good delivery for Cresswell’s goal and came close to scoring himself in the second with a low effort driven just wide from outside the area.
Max Dean - 6.5
Overhit the ball in his one-two involvements. Had one good chance in the first half but he drove the ball past the far post after finding space from a tight angle in the penalty area. Became isolated in the second period, but forced a good save after timing his run well to get onto the end of a Bate cross.
Crysencio Summerville - 7.5
A good follow-up to his man-of-the-match performance against Guiseley. Made plenty of tricky runs and forced a good save from ex-Leeds keeper Alex Cairns after cutting inside in the first half among other efforts on goal. Helder Costa will be looking over his shoulder.
Lewis Bate (on 46’) - 6.5
Gave away the penalty on the hour mark. Soft challenge but he wasn’t close to the ball when he tripped the Fleetwood player. Got into the game more in the latter stages, and was unlucky not to provide an assist for Dean after offering himself on the overlap and driving a ball into the area. Played a good through-ball for Summerville moments later. Will be content with his debut but will strive for better against U23 opposition.
Ian Poveda (on 46’) - 6.5
Looked lively and got stuck in. Didn’t always execute his passes well and sometimes held onto the ball for a bit too long but helped Leeds respond after they lost their lead.
Kris Moore (on 59’) - 6
Struggled to fill Cresswell’s boots as he couldn’t replicate his aerial presence and leadership. Was decent in defensive situations, though.
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