Leeds United’s under-23s tasted defeat for the first time this season after falling 4-2 to Spurs at Thorp Arch.
The Whites lined up with a familiar side despite the chance of senior appearances for these players against Crewe in the cup - Klaesson, Drameh, Cresswell, Kenneh and McCarron in defence - Jenkins just ahead of them with Bate, Greenwood, Miller and McGurk making the midfield. Gelhardt started upfront with Summerville, Allen, Dean, Moore, and Van den Heuvel on the bench.
Leeds should’ve taken the lead in the ninth minute when McGurk knicked possession back in midfield. He found Bate on the inside who drove forward before slipping an excellent ball between the centre-backs for Joe Gelhardt who only had the keeper to beat. Greenwood was an option, but Gelhardt went alone and his shot was subdued by the oncoming keeper.
Despite Leeds’ bright start, Spurs took the lead on 18 minutes from a corner-kick. The ball came in and was well controlled by Markanday on the penalty spot before turning on the spot and firing the ball into the bottom left corner.
Before they knew it, Spurs doubled their lead on the 23-minute mark as Markanday jived his way past Jenkins and Cresswell on the edge of the box before lashing the ball into Klaesson’s near post with incredible power, giving the keeper no chance.
Liam McCarron kept Leeds in the game when Markanday was put through on goal for the hat-trick. McCarron was the last man as the rest of the back-four were caught in the Spurs half, and the Scotsman flew into the challenge across the Spurs number nine, putting the ball out for a corner at the last second to keep the score at 2-0.
And how crucial that would be as Joe Gelhardt grabbed one back for The Whites just a few minutes later as Greenwood was slipped in on the right channel of the box. He chipped the cross high for Gelhardt toward the back post, at full stretch he managed to deflect the ball into the net off the defender to get Leeds back in the game.
Game on at Thorp Arch! Gelhardt brings it back to 2-1 pic.twitter.com/1mX9bGhz7m— Leeds United (@LUFC) August 23, 2021
Leeds were then awarded a penalty on 40 minutes as Amari Miller nipped in between three Spurs defender around a loose ball on the edge of the box. He drove in and was nudged off-balance and the referee had no choice but to point to the spot.
After Gelhardt’s penalty miss last week, Greenwood took the spot-kick and fired the ball into the left corner as he beat the keeper who dived the right way but couldn’t prevent the equaliser.
But Spurs re-took the lead in first-half stoppage time as a poor Greenwood pass opened up a Spurs attack. Markanday peeled around the side of the defenders, Klaesson raced out to meet him and made the initial save, but the Spurs striker’s hat-trick couldn’t be prevented on the rebound.
Leeds pushed and pushed throughout the second half, but Spurs were just so much more clinical from a single chance. The away side’s John cut inside from the left on the edge of the box and whipped a brilliant low strike in off the far post - making it 4-2.
This is a steep learning curve for the young Whites, especially defensively as Spurs took almost all of their chances and won the game despite being dominated for the full 90’.