Leeds United: Youngster Wilks makes lasting impression as Under-23s are held

Leeds United's Mallik Wilks. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Leeds United's Mallik Wilks. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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TEENAGE striker Mallik Wilks took his chance to impress by netting the opening goal as Leeds United’s Under-23s drew 1-1 with Crewe Alexandra at Elland Road.

New signing Romario Vieira was an absentee, with new recruit from Roma, Dario Meadows, also not involved.

Another new arrival, Conor Shaughnessy, had to make do with coming on as a second-half substitute, while goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell was the only member of the starting line up to have played a game for United’s first team – though Eoghan Stokes, who started as an attacking midfielder, trained with the first team in pre-season.

Jack Vann and Mike Taylor started at centre-back, where Leeds are very light after the departure of former club captain Sol Bamba, while Wilks, Jack McKay and Frank Mulhern looked to give Whites head coach Garry Monk another option upront.

Mulhern went close to opening the scoring after just five minutes when his free-kick was tipped over the bar by David Richards.

But Crewe then squandered an even better chance when Daniel Udoh raced away from the United defence and forced an excellent save from Peacock-Farrell.

Leeds, though, continued to threaten and 17-year-old Wilks went close on several occasions, while Stokes forced an excellent save from Richards to tip the ball wide.

Crewe improved after the break and Owen Dale narrowly failed to connect with a diving header. But Leeds made the breakthrough with 20 minutes remaining when a flowing counter ended with Wilks tapping in from Jamie Shackleton’s cross.

United were heading for victory but, with just five minutes left, Dale headed home from close range, and the same player then squandered a fine chance to snatch all three points when blazing wide in the 89th-minute, before Taylor made a crucial block in injury time to keep the scores level.

Leeds United: Peacock-Farrell, Whitehouse, M Taylor, Vann, Pearce, Oduor, Shackleton, Stokes, Mulhern, J McKay (Shaughnessy 59), Wilks (Wollerton 89). Subs not used: Richardson, Kitching, Nicell, Shaughnessy.

Crewe: Richards, Bullock, Yates, Finney, Ng, Poscha, Dale, Wintle, Udoh, Lowery, Pickering. Subs not used: Lundstrom, Wardley, Reilly, Wilkinson.

Referee: G Hart.

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